Lincoln has created a limited-run 80th Anniversary version of the Continental. However, while the first generation of this storied American nameplate arrived in 1939, Lincoln’s designers have added a more recent historical tie-in, with centre-split 'Coach Doors' in reference to its legendary pillarless ancestor of the early 1960s.
Whether the effect is quite the same in 2019 as it was in 1963 is perhaps up for debate, as the new car doesn’t have pillarless doors and the original structural B-post is apparently unchanged – something which rather negates any sense of visually suggesting a vast, open interior.
It is vast, though as part of the process involved in adding the rear-hinged rear doors has been to lengthen the wheelbase by six inches, all of which seems to have been added between the front and rear seats.
Aesthetically, with the doors closed (well, you can’t show them off all the time...), the extended body has been done very subtly, with the rear doors’ DLO being slightly flatter along the top edge, to carry it further back before it drops down into the same shape of C-pillar, which in turn lands at the same angle (and the same point above the rear wheel) as usual.
Another happy byproduct of this coach door conversion is that the Continental’s distinctive door handles, which sit in the chrome trim at the base of the DLO, are now positioned back-to-back, which makes for an even cleaner bodyside and makes the idea look more ‘right’ than when there are two protrusions in the chrome far apart from each other. It’s like it was meant to be this way...
Meanwhile, the doors themselves swing out by 90° to allow a 'sit and swivel' entry process instead of bending and clambering past a conventional door in your fancy clothes.
“People appreciate elegance and glamour, and they want the easiest way to get in and out of a vehicle,” says Lincoln design director David Woodhouse. “These doors are the answer to both.”
Once inside this ‘Black Label’ interior, passengers are treated to a special full-length console between the rear seats with their own HVAC and media controls – plus lots of 'personalised' bespokery like Eightieth Anniversary plaques on the door sills, top-quality leather and a programmable ‘Revel® Ultima Audio’ surround-sound stereo.
The driver will appreciate the 400-horsepower V6 turbo engine with three supporting driving modes, while all occupants will benefit from active sound deadening and 30-way adjustable seats.
Lincoln will build 80 Eightieth Anniversary Coach Door Editions, ready to arrive in style at Black Label dealers next summer. Prices haven’t been officially disclosed, but it’s expected to exceed $100,000.