The Lincoln Continental has a legendary history; it could arguably be described as America’s Rolls-Royce. One of its most famous incarnations was the square-jawed ’60s Elwood Engel-designed version, and one of the innovations that made that car so distinctive was its ‘suicide’ doors (with a helpful ‘door ajar’ warning light, to avoid losing passengers unnecessarily).
But once the Continental entered the modern era, it became far more conventional and lost those doors, along with much of its personality. Now, however, they’re back, along with the upscale Ford brand’s mojo, thanks to its well-received Navigator and Aviator SUVs. We’ve reported on it previously, but at Detroit we got the chance to quiz the brand’s design chief, David Woodhouse.
“It was something I’d always wanted to do,” said . “but once we had the long-wheelbase version it became possible. And it was surprisingly straightforward to do. We won’t be making a lot of them – 80 this year, all for the US. But we’ll be taking it to China, and if it goes down well there, who knows?
“It certainly creates an impression; it’s a nice piece of drama, and it feels special. On all of our cars, we try to give an impression of luxury and give them some bespoke touches. There’s nothing quite like the Continental, and this makes it even more unique.”