Introduced on November 2, 1935, as a 1936 model, the Lincoln-Zephyr was extremely modern with a low raked windscreen, integrated fenders and streamlined aerodynamic design, which influenced the name "zephyr", derived from the Greek word Zephyrus, or the god of the west wind. It was one of the first successful streamlined cars after the Chrysler Airflow's market resistance. In fact, the Lincoln-Zephyr actually had a lower coefficient of drag than the Airflow, due in part to the prow-like front grille on the Zephyr. The Lincoln-Zephyr succeeded in reigniting sales at Lincoln dealerships in the late 1930s, and from the 1941 model year, all Lincolns were Zephyr-based and the Lincoln-Zephyr marque was phased out. Annual production for any year model was not large, but accounted for a large portion of the Lincoln brand's sales. In its first year, 15,000 were sold, accounting for 80% of Lincoln's total sales.
Production of all American cars halted in 1942 as the country entered World War II, with Lincoln producing the last Lincoln-Zephyr on February 10. After the war, most makers restarted production of their prewar lines, and Lincoln was no exception. The Zephyr name, however, was no longer used after 1942, with the cars simply called Lincolns.
These cars were based on the HV-12 chassis, which used a valve-in-block V-12 configured engine similar in cross section to the Ford V-8. The HV-12 chassis was produced from late 1935 through the end of the 1948 model year.
The Lincoln-Zephyr Owners Club (LZOC) was formed in the New England area in 1968 as a national car club. Within a few years, its membership had grown to some 900 members in the U.S., Canada, and several other countries. The reason the number remains fairly constant is that the LZOC has never expanded its field of interest as other clubs have done, and the number of these cars that survive is finite. Our single interest - cars based on the HV-12 engine - has helped us avoid the formation of "factions" within the club.
The LZOC conducts several meets per year, one conducted as a national meet, and others put on by our Central and Western Regional Chapters. These meets are great venues for showing our cars, but also serve as opportunities for camaraderie and meeting new friends. Historically, we've had meets in just about every state over our nearly fifty years as a club. Often, we combine meets with other Lincoln-related clubs, such as the Lincoln Owners Club (catering to the early classic Lincolns), the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club (catering to all Lincolns, including more recent models), and the Road Race Lincoln Register (for owners of the 1952-55 Pan-American Road Race styled Lincolns).