Lincoln Motor Co. etymology: Why is it named after Abraham Lincoln?

Lincoln is Ford’s last remaining luxury marque. Its etymology probably won’t be any surprise to anyone, but why does it have that name?


Yes, the Lincoln is named after none other than Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, leader of the country during the Civil War, and the man who put an end to slavery.

But, why was Lincoln the car company named after one of the most celebrated presidents ever?

Lincoln was founded in 1917 by Henry Leland and his son Wilfred. Henry was a former manager at Cadillac. Being in the middle of World War I, the company’s main business is producing aircraft engines for the war effort.

It wasn’t until 1920 that the father and son duo setup Lincoln Motor Company. The company was bought out by Ford in 1922.

In 2012, when Ford Motor Company decided rename division from simply Lincoln to Lincoln Motor Company, it explained: “[Leland] names the company after Abraham Lincoln, his hero and for whom he cast his first vote in 1864”.

Source: Lincoln Motor Company briefing book




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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Editor-at-large — Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]


Lincoln Motor Co. etymology: Why is it named after Abraham Lincoln?