Monday, March 12, 2018

1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

The original plan for the new post- World War 2 Lincoln is obscure to me.  What is known is that the proposed 1949 Ford was rejected by Ernest Breech, who Henry Ford II brought in to essentially run the Ford Motor Company.  The design was considered too large for its market segment, so the body tooling was used for the 1949 Mercury and an entry-level Lincoln.

The obscure part is what the original intention for Mercury was.  Apparently, it would share a body with Lincoln, rather than the case from the 1941 models onward where Mercury shared bodies with Ford.

Here is this photo of a model where the design is close to the eventual 1949 Mercury below the belt line, but with a heavy, fastback greenhouse.  Most likely, this dates after Breech ordered that Mercury get what had been the '49 Ford body.  So far, I've found no photos of full-scale clay models of earlier Mercury design proposals from around 1946 or '47.

In this book, Paul Woudenberg suggested that the original intent was for Mercury to have the bustleback version of the large Lincoln body, and Lincoln was to have a fastback version.   Somehow, this strikes me as being a questionable use of resources, given the postwar drift away from fastback acceptance in the marketplace.  Knowledgeable readers are urged to clarify all this.

In the end, only Lincoln got the large body -- in both fastback and notchback varieties.  This class of Lincolns was marketed as Lincoln Cosmopolitan.  And then there was a line of just plain Lincolns.  These were based on what was now the '49 Mercury body.  About 48 percent of '49 Lincolns were Cosmopolitans, but I haven't found what share of Cosmos were fastbacks.  Probably not a large percentage, because the fastback line was dropped for the 1950 model year.

Even though the numbers of '49 Lincolns and Cosmopolitans were almost the same, a glance at Google Images when searching on "1949 Lincoln" suggests that the majority of survivors in good condition are Cosmopolitans, including some fastbacks.  Something to do with prestige and rarity, I suspect: fancy rare cars eventually become more treasured.


Here is a 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Sport Sedan, the 4-door sedan with a bustle back.

A full-size Lincoln styling model when the basic body shape had been determined.  Trim details were still in flux, though the grille is close to the production version.

This fastback model is interesting.  Just possibly it was made shortly before the one in the previous image.  It has hidden headlights, a feature planned for '49 Lincolns but rejected late in the design process.  Hubcaps show different Lincoln brand identification proposals.  But the grille features thin, vertical bars and has no upper chromed frame: these are features found on 1949 Mercurys.

Side view of a basic, Mercury-body Lincoln that was for sale.  This 1950 model is nearly identical to the 1949s.

A 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan 6-Passenger Coupe.  Its profile is the same as the four-door Sport Sedan's, but its door is wider and window shapes differ accordingly.  Photo via Mecum.

Side view of a fastback 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Town Sedan.

Rounding out the Cosmo line was the 6-Passenger Convertible (Barrett-Jackson photo).

More views of the Cosmo Town Sedan.  Like many first-generation postwar designs it had a basic heavy appearance that the fastback styling exaggerated further.

Cosmopolitan Sport Sedan for auction by Barrett-Jackson.  The doors and side windows are same as on the fastback, but the bustle back style reduces visual bulk.  Backlight windows are three-piece affairs due to limitations in technology at the time.


emjayay said...

Although I'm a Cosmo fan I never knew about the 1949 fastback model. As you noted it was called the "town sedan" and the notchback was called the "sport sedan".

Greg Prosmushkin said...
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