Although much of this year’s North American International Auto Show is going to be focused on the new truck, the new SUV or the EV, at least one company – Lincoln – remembered to bring some glam to the show.
Ford’s luxury division is commemorating the 80th anniversary of its iconic Continental luxury sedan with a limited-run of Coach Door Edition models, harkening back to when men wore suits and cars were big and had suicide doors.
Lincoln plans to build 80 of the Continental Coach Door Edition, with center-opening doors – commonly known as suicide doors – Lincoln used back in the 1960s. The limited run specials also get six inches of additional leg room as well as a plush “Black Label” interior.
While luxury sedans with gobs of leg room seem to be on the way out of fashion, Lincoln officials expect the entire production run is expected to sell out — quickly.
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The Coach Door Edition originates at Ford’s assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, and then is shipped to an outfitter that modifies the vehicle for the doors, according to Ford’s precise specifications, noted Tim Sterling, chief program engineer.
The center-opening doors, due to their somewhat ominous nickname, might alarm some, but the automaker engineered the special edition Continental to meet all of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and the vehicle has also been crash tested, Sterling added.
Cabot Coach Builders, an outfitter based outside of Boston that has worked with Ford on a number of projects since the early 1990s, stretches the original Continental by six inches and fits the center-opening doors, Sterling said.
Sterling added the Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door also is equipped with the refinements and technology motorists have come to expect in a modern luxury vehicle, including connectivity, comfortable seats, a quiet interior and a smooth ride.
Pricing will for the special edition start “north” of $100,000, Sterling added. The rear-seat amenities include an elegantly crafted pass-through console that offers a storable tray table, similar to those found in the first-class cabin of a passenger aircraft.
The table also equipped with a tablet holder and wireless charging pad. The six inches added to the car’s wheelbase allow for the placement of the larger coach doors, while also delivering best-in-class second-row legroom, he said.
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The new Lincoln is carefully crafted inside and out, integrating technologies, such as three different drive modes, Sterling said. The car also senses a driver’s approach and lights up with the sequential welcome embrace that has become one of Lincoln’s hallmarks.
The head-up display also contributes to a custom driving experience by letting drivers choose what information is projected onto the windshield display.
In keeping with the spirit of arriving in style, the 2019 Lincoln Continental’s innovative electronic door system allows doors to be unlatched in a single motion, for ease of entry and exit.
David Woodhouse, global strategic and Lincoln Design director, said the 2019 Lincoln Continental Coach is based on the iconic 1961 Continental. The fourth generation Lincoln Continental from 1961 was influential because it represented a step away from the heavily chromed bodywork that characterized American cars of the late 1960s and toward a smoother, more functional design.
The 1961 Lincoln Continental, with its center-opening doors, was perfect for arriving at a fashionable event in a sleek pencil skirt, he noted.
“The center-opening doors became synonymous with the Lincoln Continental, even though they were only featured primarily in the ’60s,” said Woodhouse. “But they struck such a chord that they’re still remembered so fondly today.”
The center-opening door remains both dramatic and distinctive, Woodhouse said. “It was truly a watershed moment for us in terms of iconic design,” he said, and created enduring automotive design legend. “People are still looking for elegance and glamour and they also went an easy way to get in and out of a vehicle,” Woodhouse said. “These doors answer to both.”
Orders open up this week to dealers in markets such as New York. Los Angeles and Dallas, according to Trevor Scott, marketing manager for Lincoln sedans and crossovers.
However, a 2020 Lincoln Continental Coach Door that could be sold outside the U.S. in markets such as China, Scott said. No final decision has been made yet just yet.
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Woodhouse added back in 1939, the original Lincoln Continental was noted not only for its exceptional styling, but also for its performance and Lincoln has carried on the tradition by equipping its special edition with Lincoln’s exclusive 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that delivers 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.