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Replying to Lincoln: Where did the Elegance Go?


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Posted 17 January 2011 - 01:14 PM

'm wondering now if (per my timeline) that the first generation Panther styling 1980cy/81my killed Lincoln's mojo - because
they've just never figured out how to do Less-Than-Huge?


I disagree because the Mark VII and Mark VIII were both pretty sweet cars. I really prefer the VIII, but the VII got rave reviews for years in the '80s.

Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:24 PM

during the 70's, whatever problems existed under the skin
at least the cars looked good (imho) if I may be permitted to wax poetical, the designs had a 'Heart Of Darkness' that was powerful and seductive.


I should have said around the late 70's, some of the early 70's Lincoln were good looking

Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:19 PM

I wouldn't mind having a Lincoln...but it's got to be at least 4000lbs, V8 and RWD. I grew up w/ my folks driving Continentals and Town Cars (my Dad bought a new one every few years from the mid '70s to the mid '90s).

I just can't jibe 'Lincoln' with a small FWD car..

Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:11 PM

yes, great topic, mudmonster Posted Image
&
hopefully the suits at FoMoCo are aware of this
(I tend to believe ALL designers are but they're not allowed/approved to do something about it!)

altho (minor point)

...It started somewhere in the 1970's...

during the 70's, whatever problems existed under the skin
at least the cars looked good (imho) if I may be permitted to wax poetical, the designs had a 'Heart Of Darkness' that was powerful and seductive.
Posted Image
those were some 'sinister' rides!

This where I think Lincoln lost it - 1980cy/1981my
Posted Image
(&
I don't see what technical challenges have to do with cars LOOKING awkward
unless the suits were so uncomfortable with the changes that they subconsciously had to have the styling reflect that)

Agree they got some of their panache back in the 90's
Posted Image
maybe 50%?
but
then they went 'weird' again for '98
Posted Image

with only glimmers of recovery since (imho).

At a small local autoshow yesterday, it seemed most Mfgs are indulging in "flashy" - esp with 'graphics': headlights, odd shapes & swoops, etc.
I'm sure they're pandering to consumers' lack of taste/shiny object fixation
at least the percieved/focusgroup lack of taste...

...took me a LONG time to reach that conclusion - don't know of a solution.


I'm wondering now if (per my timeline) that the first generation Panther styling 1980cy/81my killed Lincoln's mojo - because
they've just never figured out how to do Less-Than-Huge?
Posted Image
Could the root cause be that simple?

I've collected some web expert statements about the nextgen MKZ - sounds Great - but
not quite like it's addressing my 2 Lincoln buzzwords:
'princely' & 'gravitas'

Posted 15 January 2011 - 11:21 PM

Lincoln really does need an identity of its own,the LS was a very nice ride but it was upstaged by the CTS-V. I think that if Lincoln is to survive, they should get RWD vehicles jsut as you were saying Mud And Be very distinctive from their Ford Stablemates.

Posted 15 January 2011 - 10:12 PM

They need something at least.. If the Mustang is left alone in this grand "one ford" plan, why can't Lincoln get something. RWD at least

Posted 15 January 2011 - 09:15 PM

Excellent writeup MudMonster. Now that Ford is down to just two brands, I think they can afford to give Lincoln an exclusive platform or two, and they need to hop on it!

Posted 15 January 2011 - 01:37 PM

Lincoln: Where did the Elegance go?


Wiliam Maley - Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
January 15th, 2011


Posted Image


"There's something about the look of the Continental II that invites hushed reverence when you are in its presence. Massive, austere, and sculptured, it seems hewn from the solid; a four-wheel piece of municipal architecture with that air of reserved – if slightly self-conscious – elegance that has defined all the best Lincolns." - Classic Cars – July 2004

Elegance would be the word I would use to describe Lincolns of the past; the Continental, Mark Series, Zephyr V12, and the Town Car to name a few. When a Lincoln pulled up to a restaurant, party, or a parking lot; people around would think the owner has made it. Even sitting presidents up to Regan rode in Lincolns. Now Lincoln has been relegated to the back of pack. The elegance it once had, now lost.

How did this car company lose its elegance? It started somewhere in the 1970's with a combination of new emission standards for the time and Arab fuel crisis. Automakers were rushing to have their vehicles meet the new emission standards. However to meet the new standards, performance and quality were sacrificed, causing damage that still lingers to this day. The 80's didn't help much at all with questionable design and build quality. However the downward trend stopped with Lincoln introducing the 1990 Town Car. The vehicle was heralded as a return of the American luxury car and won Motor Trend's Car of the Year. It appeared Lincoln was making a comeback, and the lineup was showing it with Mark VII, Continental, Navigator, and the LS. But then, it went belly up with once more with the Mark VII, Continental, and LS leaving the lineup and a decision to have vehicles either become a front or all wheel drive vehicle except for the Town Car or the Navigator SUV.

Looking at the current Lincoln lineup shows a group of vehicles that fall into two categories; vehicles that don't resemble Ford vehicles (Ex: Navigator, MKT) and the doppelgangers (Ex: MKX and MKZ). Also, the naming of vehicles for Lincoln; when did it become uncool to name a vehicle with an actual name? Instead we have to deal with MK plus a random letter from the alphabet.

Now, it looks like Ford is making a renewed effort to bring Lincoln back into the frame. They have announced eight new models are in the pipeline, introduced a new set of ads with Mad Men actor John Slattery, and infuse the brand with more money with the closing of Mercury. But is it really enough?

Not to Ford because at the North American International Auto Show this past week, Ford product boss Derrick Kuzak talked about Lincoln.

"The strategy isn't just new products, but full differentiation from the Ford brand in not only design, but in technology," said Kuzak.

Kuzak explained Lincoln would get different designs, engine choices, more technology, and dealers would be upgraded with new showrooms. However, a return to RWD vehicles is not on table for the time being.

Ford knows they have a limited a timeframe to get Lincoln into a position to get back some share in the luxury market. But adding technology and offering more diverse powertrains can only go so far. Lincoln seems to be playing follow the leader with every other luxury car maker when it really should be forging its own trail. What Lincoln really needs is an identity. It simply can't just copy one of its competitors nor have no identity. More importantly, it can't be a carbon copy of a Ford vehicle with a big grill and better interior. Lincoln needs to return to the 50's and 60's to draw some inspiration and get an idea of what identity they should choose; one of elegance.

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