The marque: Henry Ford's riposte to Cadillac, American cheese at its best.

The history: Henry M Leland, creator of Cadillac, had seen his company sucked into what would become General Motors. So in 1921 he devised a car of extravagance. He named it after one of America's favourite presidents. But it was far too expensive, and the company sailed into receivership.

Henry Ford bought Lincoln and they became all-Ford products, albeit grandiose ones such as the V12-engined Lincoln Zephyr. In 1939 came the Continental, longer, wider and lower than anything else. But Lincoln lost its way, the smaller Town Car destined for high-end minicabbing duties.

Two breaths of revival have occurred: the LS saloon shares some underpinnings with Jaguar's S-type, and British ex-Rover designer Gerry McGovern took brief control of design to get the average age of buyers below 65. Ford is wondering whether to kill Lincoln off altogether.

Defining model: Early 1960s Continental convertible, scene of JFK's last moments.

They say: We're a premier, all-American, luxury brand.

We say: Long after its best-before date.

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