Ford is marking eighty years of Lincoln Continental cars with a very special 80th-anniversary edition featuring luxury appointments galore. The special production models each include sets of unique coach doors just like those from which movie stars made their grand entrances in the 1960s. Company president Edsel Ford made his grand entrance from the original prototype in 1939. The first Continental was a special design based on the Zephyr, created for Mr. Ford to take on his Palm Beach, Florida vacation to stir up interest. The signature Euro-style rear-mounted spare tire gave it a more “continental” look. Thus a dynasty of American luxury cars and a name for them were born. Bearing the latest front-end styling as in the 2017 model, the Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition will arrive in 2019. It will also honor its heritage with a set of "coach doors," otherwise known as "suicide doors" by fans, reflecting a style common in the glamorous film-star models of the 1960s. The 80th Anniversary Edition will have access to Lincoln’s Black Label styling options and VIP dealer support.
How many of these special 80th Anniversary Edition Lincolns are being produced?
For 2019, eighty of these elegant carriages will be produced, labeled as 80th-anniversary editions. To ensure that there are enough for those who want to purchase this unique coach-door design, additional vehicles will be produced in 2020, without the special cachet of the 80th anniversary.
How does it compare to the Black Label Lincoln Continental of recent years?
The 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition will have access to the same set of interior stylings that Black Label customers expect. It will also have door sill markers indicating each vehicle's numbered sequence, as is done with works of art. The Coach Door Edition is six inches longer than the standard car, provides 90-degree coach door access, includes the optional 400-hp twin-turbo V-6 engine and costs over $20,000 more than the standard Black Label vehicle.
What are the details of the coach doors – how do they work, why are they featured?
The coach doors, typically a feature of higher-level vehicles such as the Rolls-Royce, are smoothly power-operated for a dramatic entrance from the car to special events and occasions. They were a key feature of the original 1939 model and appeared again to great acclaim in the early 1960s. They feature a "smooth close" for even greater elegance during special events. Although the doors don't have the dramatic appearance of the pillarless doors of the 1960s which provided a more unobstructed view of the interior, they do open a full 90 degrees for easy ingress and egress no matter how formal the passengers' attire is. Electronic door handles similar to those on standard Continentals sit back-to-back for a continuously flowing chrome line along the doors.
How much is the 80th Anniversary Edition selling for? What do you get for that?
The 80th Anniversary special edition Lincoln Continental is expected to sell for at least $100,000, considerably above the price of a standard model. For that, owners get a variety of special commemorative plaques and styling in the car along with Black Label interior choices and dealer care. The exclusivity of owning one of only 80 vehicles of this kind is an important feature as well.
Is this a limousine, a driver’s car, or both?
In addition to the coach-style doors, the 80th Anniversary Edition has a stretched wheelbase six inches longer than normal emphasizing the passenger space and interior luxury. The Black Label interior also provides a high-end experience aimed at those in the rear seats. One review notes that Lincoln speaks of clients, not drivers when it refers to those who might buy this model. It does seem to be aimed at a luxury rider experience, although there are engine choices and ride selector settings which assure those interested that it's still designed for an excellent driving experience.
What’s the interior like? Any special equipment or styling in there? How many does it seat?
The expanded interior in each of the 80 limited edition Continentals contains special 80th Anniversary numbered door sill plates and a customized rear console plaque. Six inches of additional wheelbase provide spacious legroom. Beyond that, the rear seats include a unique center console with a hideaway tray table and a tablet holder. Front seats feature 30-way power adjustability.
What are the console and controls like?
The driver has access to an 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay connected to a 19-speaker Revel Ultima sound system. A broad set of active safety and driver assistance features is provided including a head-up display, lane-keep assist, collision-mitigation braking, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert plus adaptive cruise control and automated parallel parking.
How is the ride and handling?
Reviewers of recent Continental Black Label models have been less than enthusiastic about the ride and found the handling a bit loose even for a limousine-style vehicle. Characteristics will likely change a bit based on the enhanced wheelbase.
What about the powertrain and options?
This model gets the top-level Continental powertrain options including a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, driving all four wheels via a six-speed automatic.
Has anyone famous ordered one already?
That's a big question. Earlier versions have drawn buyers like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dwight Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater, even the Shah of Iran. The coach doors have been popular for designers who wanted an unobstructed view of models in the interior for photo shoots. So far, though, no big names have been mentioned for the 2019 order list. Yet...
Is the run of 80 really it?
Ford is talking about a 2020 Coach Door Edition, not quite the same as the limited 80th Anniversary Edition but at least another chance to get in on this unique, classic American luxury car.
The radical 1961 Lincoln Continental design turned heads and defined the Continental as the luxury car to be seen in for a generation. Is this new edition intended to repeat that success?
Ford has, as analysts have indicated, squandered many opportunities for the Lincoln Continental in failing to create a strong definition of the car. At one point, a reviewer remarked that the Continental was not much different from a Ford Taurus in appearance. The current generation was seen, even before the 80th Anniversary model, to be an attempt to revive the Continental as a luxury showpiece. Excitement has built among the design-conscious as word of the Coach Door Edition spread, but this is a critical time for the Continental.