Henry Leland, a former manager of the Cadillac division of General Motors, and his son, Wilfred Leland, formed the Lincoln Motor Company in August, 1917. Leland named the new company after Abraham Lincoln, Leland’s longtime hero. Lincoln’s first source of revenue came from assembling Liberty aircraft engines, using cylinders supplied by Ford Motor Company, to fulfill World War I government contracts.
After the war, the Lincoln factories were retooled to manufacture luxury automobiles. Ford Motor Company purchased the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, but Lincoln continued to operate as a somewhat separate company from Ford through early 1940. On April 30, 1940 the Lincoln Motor Company became the Lincoln Division of Ford Motor Company.