By on August 16, 2013

whiteblacklabel

Say it with me in the Don LaFontaine voice:

IN A WORLD…

WHERE EVERY SOURCE OF “PREMIUM” HAS BEEN EXHAUSTED…

AND MASS-PRODUCED GARBAGE IS REBRANDED AS LUXURY GOODS FOR AN INCREASINGLY FECKLESS, IGNORANT, AND NAIVE UPPER MIDDLE CLASS…

A BRAND SHALL RISE…

Seriously. I’m sick unto death of “premium”. Luckily, there’s almost none left to be had. Even now, the signs of desperation among the tastemakers cannot be ignored. The most recondite and worthless watch brands from 1820 have all been resurrected to sell ETAs in gold cases to the BRICs. Every clothing designer in history has signed on to do a TV show or a line at Target or a Chrysler 300. There’s actually a company that makes John Wayne signature whiskey and guarantees that it’s just like the whiskey he used to drink, except said whiskey was probably just Jack Daniels or something even cheaper.

The past and present have been mercilessly and methodically mined and drilled for all applicable stories and sources of prestige and premium and upscale. It’s like oil, which makes what’s currently going on at Pebble Beach the equivalent of fracking shale.

Pebble Beach was once a place where people got together to show off their cars. It’s now a place where automakers have placed the dirty boots of the PR departments all over the grass and the cars have been subordinated to the marketing message and journalists buy red pants and $199 “blazers” so they can cosplay being the people who used to tell their grandparents to scrub the underside of the toilet rims in the guest house better next time.

The new BMW M4 “concept” is there, of course. This is the only time such a vehicle will ever appear at Pebble Beach; none of them will ever survive or have parts availability long enough to make it there on their own merits as vintage restorations. There are various Jags and Phaetons Bentleys and whatnot. Last but not least, and just to show that all the cool has been forcibly sucked out of the zipcode, Lincoln’s arrived with their so-called “Black Label” line of interior decorations.

Lincoln-Black-Label-Main-Art

Our sister publication AutoGuide notes that

The Black Label collection features three separate themes that clients can choose from. Indulgence was inspired by rich chocolate and its associated sensory experiences. Truffle-colored leather and exotic zirciote wood trim are the highlights of this selection.

Next is the Modern Heritage theme, which centers on a classic-looking black-and-white interior. But that’s not all. Things have been spiced up with subtle red accents and special engineered wood trim with a unique metal flake between its layers, something that creates an eye-catching sparkle.

Lastly there’s Center Stage, which is the most striking of the three options. Supposedly fashion and theater were its inspiration. The cabin is Jet Black in color but the headliner, roof pillars and package shelf are trimmed in “Foxfire” red Alcantera suede.

I mean come on, guys, this is just “Audi Atmospheres” with more colors. Or fewer, I’m not sure. You remember the Atmopsheres, right? It was all the rage in 1997 when the “Bauhaus” A6 came out. Three different interior trim combinations. Audi didn’t bother to debut it at Pebble or anything, but it was cool, and it flopped, and it was discontinued.

The use of Ziricote is interesting. Paul Reed Smith uses Ziricote for overseas markets where he can’t legally export Brazilian Rosewood. Since I live in the United States and have been able to get PRSi (which is how douchebag collectors such as myself refer to multiple PRS guitars) with Brazilian rosewood necks and fretboards, I’ve never bothered to try the Z-wood but I’ve heard it’s cool. Of course, the veneer thickness used in automotive interiors means that Lincoln can probably make a hundred MKZ Ziricote interiors with the amount of wood needed to carve one decent neck for a guitar.

blacklabel1

A lot of automotive journalists seem to be confused about “Black Label” as a name, thinking it has something to do with whiskey. It doesn’t. It’s from the world of fashion, where certain designers like Armani use a black label for their couture/handmade lines. Armani Black Label costs more than white-label Armani or Collezioni or, G-d help us, MANI. Ralph Lauren, on the other hand, uses it for mid-level stuff; Purple Label is the baller RL stuff and it’s usually made by his betters, such as the RLPL shoes which are secret Edward Greens. If you ever see a set of RLPL shoes in an outlet for under $500, buy them regardless of whether they fit. You see? All sorts of stuff you can learn on TTAC. RL Black Label shoes used to be Crockett and Jones, but I don’t think they are any longer.

There’s something intellectually dishonest and just plain pathetic about calling some interior upgrades “Black Label”. When the peso-paid crew at Hermosillo’s bangin’ out a couple extra Center Stage MKZs at the end of the day under the influence of mescaline and scorpion-frying heat, there won’t be anything upscale or exclusive about it. The rarefied and artificial environment of Pebble Beach is very far away from the actual origins or likely destinations of these vehicles. It’s fakey-doo and not cool.

And yet… There’s something interesting and fun and brave about the colors and design choices. If you can put aside the 10k-gold-plated-plastic nature of the marketing hype surrounding Black Label, it’s a real and valuable contribution to the luxury market. Lincoln used to do this stuff brilliantly with the Designer Mark Vs and whatnot and when the cold, grey, characterless era of the German austerity-mobiles arrived it was deeply missed. (Full disclosure: Benz used some neat zebrawood back in the day and the W140 could be had with some baller-class burl walnut.) I’m glad to see them back in the business of creating interesting and involving design themes again.

Tell you what, Lincoln. If you agree to drop these stupid names and just call it the MKZ Givenchy or Bill Blass, I’ll put in an order. I don’t even care if the gas flap falls off. Call it the Givenchy. Out of respect to your heritage, your customers, and DJ Quik. It’s the right thing to do. And then we can get into my MKZ Givenchy and drive the hell away from the lamers at Pebble Beach, back into the American heartland, okay?

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121 Comments on “Lincoln “Black Label” A Stupid, Yet Somehow Brilliant, Way To Resurrect The Audi “Atmospheres” Concept...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I would think a “Gucci” edition with matching luggage would have more perceived value… at least you’d have the luggage

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      The Varvatos Edition Chrysler 300 kills this thing and yes, the Varvatos has a HEMI. The rear wheel drive 300 is what a Lincoln should be. Hell Hyundai makes better Lincolns than Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Much sport was had last week ridiculing the Dodge Avenger. Over at Allpar they have the first rendering of the next Dodge Avenger on it’s rear wheel drive Alfa Romeo platform. Slowly but surely Marchionne is lining up his ducks to beat Ford. This Lincoln MK-whatever is a bad joke showing Ford is clueless about anything besides commodity cars, light trucks and the Mustang heritage franchise. Lincoln can’t beat the new Impala let alone Cadillac.

        Ford couldn’t make Jaguar work, they couldn’t make Land Rover work, they couldn’t make Volvo work, they had to sell Aston Martin, they couldn’t figure out how to make Mazda work, they couldn’t figure out how to make Mercury work, these guys are clueless about high end cars. The best they can do is to ape Honda and make Lincoln the Mexican American Acura. Sad in so many ways.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Mercury wasn’t high end. Jaguar/LR and Aston Martin are in the spots they are today because of the investments from Ford. Don’t be short sighted in not remembering what Jag and even LR was when Ford made that purchase. Volvo still doesn’t know what it wants to be. Mazda may be better off, but Ford may be better off without Mazda.

          Time will only tell what happens with Lincoln. They certainly haven’t done a great job recently, but changes are coming. The MKS not being on the D3 platform anymore will be good news, and Lincoln’s based on the Mustang platfrom aren’t out of the question. The next MKX will be a very good product and the Navigator is finally new in 2016, with the all aluminium body.

          Bashing the MKZ for being made in Mexico is getting old. Ram makes trucks in Mexico and plenty of luxury brands will be setting up shop in Mexico soon (Audi, Infiniti, Mercedes, and possibly BMW). Hermosillo is a good factory.

          I’ll believe a RWD Avenger when I see it in the sheet metal.

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            Alfa Romeo will be back before Lincoln. The new $75K Maserati Ghibli is getting good reviews in all the car magazines and that’s the platform the next Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and the new Alfa Romeo e-class are getting. Alfa Guilia and Dodge Avenger will share the rear wheel drive d-class platform. Ford has no answer to any of this.

            Nothing against building cars in Hermosillo since we have fair trade with Mexico unlike our Japanese frenemies but it’s not Modena or Stuttgart either.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Rumor has it that Lincoln is doing a ‘Jimmy Choo Red Edition’ MKC soon, and also a ‘Tommy Vu Fast Flip’ MKS (geared towards realtors).

            There’s been talk of a Lincoln ‘Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Edition’ MKB (subcompact CUV based on the Fiesta), too.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            Have any of you actually owned an Alfa? Not the ones from back in the golden days, but one of the Fiat with a fancy grill Alfas they have been pumping out for the last couple decades. I imagine you haven’t or there would be FAR less carping about Lincoln quality.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Right, and then they’d only have to compete with Fiat 500s.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Meh, I think you’re reading into this too much. This has been going on for some time. For possibly, ever.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      I agree. I’m old enough to remember the Bill Blass and Cartier Lincolns. Been going on since forever.

    • 0 avatar
      IndianaDriver

      It doesn’t just go on with cars. Ask somebody in the meat business about why Certified Angus Beef is so special. It’s not – it just comes from cattle with a high percentage of black or dark brown coloring on their hides. The taste is identical to other meat from the same breed that do not have the dark hide coloring.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Don’t start with meat labeling and grading. I think there should be at least a week of high school consumer econ class spent on how to buy meat. Slect, choice, prime, different names mean the same cut, and meat that used to be cheap like hanger, flank, flatiron, and skirt is now expensive. Do they even have consumer econ is schools anymore?

        • 0 avatar
          IndianaDriver

          It’s simple – buy a cut of beef that has the Select, Choice or Prime label – you are getting meat from good cattle butchered in their prime. When it doesn’t have one of these grading labels it is usually from an old dairy cow that doesn’t give milk anymore or an old bull that’s not breeding. Your $6.99 value meal with steak at certain buffet restaurants usually comes from one of these old animals.

  • avatar
    Manic

    Uh, ain’t this basically the same thing as Modern, Sport and Luxury Line interior design packages BMW has been offering for some time now?
    Even black&red, ivory&dark combos look quite similar.
    Never heard about Audi’s 1997 flop before, though, interesting.

    • 0 avatar

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      Hoped that “Atmospheres” was some Audi’s batsht crazy design theme experiment I haven’t heard of that went wrong, but it seems it means just normal Attraction, Ambition, Ambiente versions. Every smaller Audi here is one of these I guess. Like some Honda Civic can be EX or LX etc. in US, but Audi is much more flexible when ordering, a lot of things can be changed. Disappointment, I was hoping to find some real German madness.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I was actually thinking it was the same as what Ford did with the Arctic & Tuscany interiors in the Focus.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I like those interiors, I wish they offered something similar in other vehicles. Instead, we get teutonic sandness in the Fusion. If I drove a Fusion in the midwest or northeast, I’d slit my wrists in February just to see some color.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Who the heck wants an MKZ with an Alcantera headliner? Why can’t “Black Label” mean, “We are stuffing the Coyote V8 into everything!” Have some balls Lincoln. Go down swinging based on the the principles you once had. In order to get away with the stupid add ons the Germans get away with, matte paint, Alcantera, S/M tirm without having an M or S vehicle, sport suspension that just makes the vehicle more uncomfortable, you have to have brand equity. Lincoln has as much as Mercury or Oldsmobile.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      If they stuff a coyote in a MkZ, I’m selling my F150 to buy one WITH the stupid velvet trim. I wouldn’t give a damn if it was wrong wheel drive or made chicks loathe me anymore than they already do.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        It hurts my brain as to why Lincoln can’t do this. Coyote available in everything! Leave the models as is and spend your $1 billion figuring that out. Sales of all the MKsomethings can’t be much worse.

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          A billion isn’t what it used to be. Chrysler division CEO Saad Chehab said at the Woodward Dream Cruise that Chrysler is spending 2 billion on the new Chrysler 200 and that’s with platform sharing. Ford’s billion dollar investment in Lincoln is pitiful.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Yeah you wouldn’t get tired of looking at bright red. And it definitely won’t fade to orange around the edges where the sun hits it, either. Ha.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I can tell you from experience that the workers inside of HSAP are clean cut, wearing a hot as f*ck cotton uniform long sleeved shirt (that they paid $29 USD for), tucked into bright blue denim jeans with no holes (that look brand new) and follow stringent safety rules that make the safest plant in the United States look ridiculous.

    The workers all look like this. And they all give a solid damn about their job. Way more than any American reading this comment will about their job.

    It was in contrast to me who would show up with mirrored safety glasses, short sleeved American Apparel deep V neck (because it’s hot as hell and I’m a douche bag), unshaven for months and stupid designer jeans and cowboy boots.

    NOW after that car is gate released is when the third party logistics company personnel pack cocaine in the body panels and ship that to the Sinaloa’s on the ‘other side.’ Who knows, maybe the Zeta’s control DHL? Now THOSE guys are on mescaline.

    Edit: The women in city Hermosillo are all 9 or 10′s. All of them. If you buy a vehicle assembled in HSAP it probably had at least a dozen women more attractive than your best kill assemble your car. Hermosillo is a breeding ground for models.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Lol, I just love these Crabspirit-like stories… Oh, wait

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      *checks TTAC travel budget*

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Jack, just drive a rental car out to Southern Arizona. I’m sure I could find someone to take you the rest of the way, and show you many of Mexico’s prized assets. Tresmonos probably knows plenty of people too.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          I know more in the DF. Still have a hot little spinner stalker that texts me from there. She’d make a hell of a tour guide. I wouldn’t have quit my job had I been based out of HSAP, that is certain. But I do know a few Americans that asked to stay put and are still there.

          My liver is still scarred and I still need to see the dentist from the effects of the copious amounts of chewing tobacco I consumed while stressing the f*ck out down there. I really need to write all this crap down before I forget it all. That and see a shrink.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Go further down south, cross the Panama Channel

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      When I worked in Tucson, I had plenty of fellow managers or employees that were from Hermosillo or Culiacan Rosales. Tresmonos does not lie about the level of female attractiveness coming from that area. It is ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “The women in city Hermosillo are all 9 or 10′s. All of them. If you buy a vehicle assembled in HSAP it probably had at least a dozen women more attractive than your best kill assemble your car. Hermosillo is a breeding ground for models.”

      Do you actually work for the Mexican Tourism Bureau? Stop tempting me to visit…

  • avatar
    dtremit

    Hey TTAC. You asked for Bordello Red, you got it. Line on up.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’m all for interior colors and if the resale values fall like a rock (as generally happens with this class of cars) I’ll be hunting a MKS with the “Modern Heritage” theme. (But then I’ve NEVER bought a new car.)

  • avatar

    “Say it with me in the Don LaFontaine voice:”

    I’ve always been more of a Ken Nordine guy.

    youtube.com/watch?v=_jCJURLuzdw

  • avatar
    crtfour

    With the “Indulgence” trim, what is meant by “assoicated sensory experiences?” They might have hopes of stealing S-class sales away if they include a scent diffuser with a chocolate fragrance.

  • avatar
    pb35

    What’s the price point on these? I need to know how hard to laugh. Men like me, mid-40′s with enough dough to buy a nice car are buying the SRT8 with Sepia Laguna leather, not this.

    I actually saw my first MKZ yesterday in Austin, town of all that’s young and hip. The driver was female with gray hair; that says all you need to hear.

    Next!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I have a neighbor with gray hair – actually white. She’s 28. She had the color stripped for a candy color, and decided she liked it without the color.

      There’s no logic to knocking an elderly looking clientele. They have the money to buy new, and when they die off, younger baby-boomers will take their place. Honestly, some of you must think when old people die off, there will be no more old people. To paraphrase Willie Sutton (google him), you market to older people because that’s where the money is.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Jumping out of the occasional airplane and walking around with a couple hundred pounds of crap on have all but assured that in a decade or so I will be searching for a new car that resembles a 90′s Town Car or Buick. Getting in and out of that “firmly sprung and sporty riding” car will be fun right up until the VA gives me a new knee and a spinal fusion surgery. Maybe I’ll just have a Mark V restored.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Maybe that’s it. Maybe the bashing has more to do with resisting the Lincoln until the time that due to age, physical condition, what have you we have no choice but to drive them. Until then we will mock that what is our destiny.

          ..man, too much coffee

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Yeah, fancy coffins. Those dealer displays are wisdom in disguise.

          • 0 avatar
            pb35

            Lorenzo, I really don’t see how my comment was knocking “elderly looking clientele.” I work with a lady in her 40s that has grey hair, so what? She is confident and looks great. She’d look better if she dyed her hair red, but I digress. I tried to choose my words carefully so as not to offend, I guess I can’t please everyone. Thing is, I don’t care. That comes with age.

            In any event, you missed my point. Lincoln is marketing these things hoping that middle aged (or younger) folks will be buying them, when in fact it’s the elderly looking clientele actually shelling out their money for them.

            I’m 46 and already have a hard time climbing out of my Charger with the faux suede/large bolstered seats. When the time comes, I’m sure there’ll be a nice, beige Lincoln/Caddy waiting for me. Until then, I’m going down swinging.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I don’t think anyone thought you were mocking the elderly. Some of us may have come to the stunning realization that part of the “charm” of Lincoln for older people might simply be ease of access. This becomes more important then we may like to admit as time marches on.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I saw the headline and thought, I wonder what Jack thinks? Then I saw the byline… NICE.

    At least Lincoln is going to build it. Hasn’t GM teased us with special Lacrosses that it never builds?

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/buick-goes-upscale-bumps-into-new-cadillac-xts-in-concept/ Oops but wait then you have to worry about cannibalizing XTS sales…

    My biggest laugh is that the picture at the top of this article includes a pop up add for the Chrysler 300.

  • avatar
    racerxlilbro

    I can remember as a kid thinking that Bill Blass was a guy who made snazzy Lincolns – and how weird it was that a car maker would also make perfume and fancy clothes…

    This all strikes me a bit like putting lipstick on a pig. A recent article on another car website projected a 2013 MKZ would retain a whopping 22% of its MSRP in just five years. It’s as if Lincoln is guaranteeing future hooptie status with these ‘premium’ interiors.’

    • 0 avatar
      Rick T.

      If you want to read something interesting, look up a little about his life. He was born in Indiana and did some interesting camouflage work during WWII.

      If you really want to blow your mind, read sometime about the life if Vidal Sassoon who was a real bad ass despite what he did and seemed to be on his TV commercials.

      Lessons I learned about how not to judge people.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Say this in your best George Carlin voice. Really get into it, get your eyes to bug out a little and cock one eyebrow. Ready?

    You know the seven words you can’t say, right? No wait. There’s nine. Here they are: $hi*, Phuc*, p*$$, kun*, co*ksucker, mutherph*cker, t*tz, and black label. Because it’s not. It’s just a lousy Ford filled with wood that should’a been used to build a guitar. Anybody who buys this thing is living proof that IQ and life expectancy just passed each other on the highway. With their blinkers on. While clogging up the passing lanes in each direction. You know what? This car needs a bumper sticker that says, “My child is being raised to place all personal value and achievement in the consumption of pretentious and vane material possessions.” Cuz you know what a real Lincoln interior should be? Two big pleather couches, one behind the other. Where you and your best friend can ph*ck the twin sisters from the school across town in your dad’s car at the drive in. But no, Lincoln builds a thing so bad it needs a warning label on the visor: You just paid an extra ten thousand bucks for an interior your neighbor will never see, so he’ll still say, “Hey buddy, nice car. New Ford?” Just more proof that some people at Lincoln don’t know what they’re doing, and a lot of them are really good at it.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    I for the life of me don’t know why these people keep taking pot shots at Lincoln. The MKZ is the first car introduced in the reinvention of their product line and from reports I’ve read it’s getting mostly positive reviews. However there seems to be that core of Lincoln opininated jerks that won’t even give the division a chance to get all their new product lines to market without ranting about the cars of yesteryear and the company is already on it’s deathbed. If you don’t want or care for a Lincoln go out and lease your BMW, Audi or whatever other make of car you so called experts deem hep.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I care about Lincoln and I own a Lincoln. I am unhappy with the direction they are taking because while the new MKZ is a good car, its not any better than a Fusion. It’s basically the next trim level up on a Fusion. The fact that it comes standard with MyLincoln Touch and you have to move up two packages to get Nav is insane when you can get nav on a Fusion SE or a sub $20K Focus.

      I own a Lincoln only because the MKT was cheaper in the used car market, with more options, than an Explorer.This is even when the MKT has the the 3.5EB and the Explorer has just the regular 3.5. We are talking under $24K for a three year old certified Lincoln that was $58K new.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Nice. If I could find a woman insane enough to reproduce with me, I would be carting kids around in a MkT. I never would have thought to check out the used market for that ride. I took a fleet MkT from MI to NE and back and loved it by the end of the trip. The EB and size were a great combination.

        Obscurity and luxury.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          2011 Explorer Limiteds are going for 31K with under 40K miles. Its ridiculous.

          The only other person I know bought it for the same reason, obscurity, luxury, and pricing being exactly the same or better than the Flex and Explorer.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    The very best part was reported at Autoblog, where they quote Jim Farley as saying,

    “At Lincoln, our flagship is, you get to choose. That’s our flagship.”

    Not sure that cuts the mustard, but they seem to be doing the best they can with what they’ve got. Doesn’t sound like he likes it either.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Guess its either my age and/or social aspirations, but say “Black Label” and the first thing I think of is Carling Black Label beer.

    Then again, this is a guy who’s showing up Saturday night for his high school’s 45th anniversary reunion (VERY high end high school, the venue is a rather ritzy country club, suits and ties, evening gowns, something German in the parking lot) on a 1988 Harley FXR in black jeans, black shirt (I’ll compromise by it having a collar and sleeves) and a road-worn denim cutoff with “support your local Outlaws” patch on the front. Since wives/significant others are invited, the pillion will be covered by a 5’8″ very leggy brunette born three years after the graduation ceremonies, in a tank top that barely holds her tits in, tight black jeans and 5″ heels.

    Class is what you decide it should be.

    And we’ll probably be outta there by 2100 and bellied up to the bar at the local Outlaws clubhouse. I get so bored listening to all those stories about kids and grandkids . . . . . . .

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      “the pillion will be covered by a 5’8″ very leggy brunette born three years after the graduation ceremonies, in a tank top that barely holds her tits in, tight black jeans and 5″ heels.”

      I much prefer your version of ‘class.’

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      I thought of the Carling Black Label beer too. Seemed an odd association to be pushing, but now I get the fashion thing. I doubt many of these level car are custom ordered though and can’t see any sane dealer ordering one for stock, so this could be DOA.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Amen brother to hot 40-ish MILFs!

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I want a Black Label Society MKT.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Hit the nail on the head Jack, if only they had Lincolns to offer with their new “Black Label” designer collection we might have something.

  • avatar
    redliner

    If only Lincoln would LISTEN!

    What we really want is rich Corinthian leather…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Lincoln has been going for the “boutique” theme at least since the first-gen Zephyr debuted. Now they’ve gone a bit further. However, I think this would have been more successful if Lincoln had come up with the idea earlier and made it clear from the beginning that this was going to be a car with several “customization” packages, a la Fiat 500. Oh well, better late than never. I think it’s a good idea, and I agree that the Black Label name should be dropped.

    On a side note, with Cadillac steady chasing after the Europeans, Lincoln has a real opportunity to be the “All-American Luxury Automaker”. There may not be a lot of glory or exoticism in that, but there sure is a lot of profit to be made…maybe even enough to justify a proper flagship.

  • avatar
    FordMan_48126

    Jack, my man…

    I agree the names can seem silly at times. But the color schemes are different and tasteful, so it should help in getting some additional pub for the brand…which is the name of the game today.

    Besides, as someone whom works at FoMoCo, I have it on good authority there is a compelling reason for doing this – it’s called China. Lincoln is just about to start up operations there…and they love them this kinda stuff, because it’s all about one upping your neighbor in the luxury department (though it will not be called ‘Black Label’ there, for cultural reasons).

  • avatar
    shelvis

    Pot to kettle. Come in kettle.

    In a world where premium products are democratized so that normal income level folks can participate in further conspicuous consumption, one man tries to rationalize his consumption by making it appear more authentic.

    An article complaining about the Nouveau riche and the author is a PRS collector? Really? A brand known throughout the industry for catering to rich poseur weekend “musicians” that fetishized the lawyer burst flame top is authentic?

    Brazilian rosewood or Corinthian leather? Wide fat or Quatro? Mann Made or AMG? Handcrafted hype or the ultimate driving machine?

    Do you like fine wine, cigars, watches, Porches, Audis, Joe Bonamassa, and Armani suit era coked up Clapton too? Aren’t these all the trappings of the consumption you’re railing against Lincoln for wanting to slide up to the trough for?

    Does a $500 Schecter or LTD with a pile of inlay and a flame top offend you? How about a $20K Hyundai with an interior that’s arguably better than a 5 year old $50K German car? Does it bother you when regular Joes get to act as gaudy as rich folks? Does it bother you when tarnished brands like Lincoln and Chrysler try to move up the food chain by offering actual content (like nicer interiors) rather than trying to build up snob appeal? Do you somehow think your consumption of “premium” products is more valid than another person’s? Do you think your consumption is somehow earned?

    I’m just not getting the contradictory points made in this article.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      I’m

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      I’m offended by Schecter’s poor build qaulity

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I think it’s kind of like a spending a lot of money to buy some new clothes and you come home with a very nice Members Only jacket and a pair of Sergio Valenti designer jeans. At one time you’d really be stylin’ but even though there’s nothing wrong with what you bought, the party you want to look good at was 20 years ago and Elvis has left the building

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        Sergio Valenti is spot on in regards to the era I think some of these attitudes belong in.

        Free market champions like this site should applaud the fact that the customer is getting more and more content for their bucks as this premium stuff slides downhill. The Brougham-ization and Landau-ing of every lowly Hyundai means that we get better materials, fit & finish, and all that other auto journo jive across the board. Why is that bad?

        To chastise Lincoln for piling on the hand carved burled walnut smoked artisan grade pretense while the writer himself engages in some high level cork sniffing comes across as a bit hypocritical and at the very least, snobbish.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Lincoln should be a Hickey Freeman suit or Allen edmonds shoes. It looks good in 1950 or in 2050. Classic American quality. Lincoln shouldn’t be a slave to trends and gimmicks. They should build high quality products people want to own.

        HF is having some of the same problems as Lincoln though.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      a) I specifically stated that collecting PRSi is the act of a douchebag in the text. I’m ready to own that.

      b) I’ve been owning, playing, and collecting disposable Japanese guitars since 1982. I met my first wife 25 years ago playing an Electra X-130 through a ’65 whiteface Gibson. Hope that’s authentically crappy enough for you.

      c) I have a Private Stock with my name on the back of the headstock. I just mention that to annoy you, and because it’s true.

      d) It’s not my practice to insult our readers, but Schechter hella sucks, dude. If I had a dime for every time I’d have to wait while another guitarist on a church stage struggles with tuning his A7X Signature Whatevs while my American-made Sperzel or Robson tuners stay rock solid after a dozen two-step bends, I’d have enough money to buy the Schechter XXX stripper-inlay model, YO.

      e) We’re all musicians here. Well, *you’re* probably a musician. I’m a collector. :)

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        While I’m glad to hear you’re owning up to being a PRS douche, and you have some Japanese guitars,(which are the forum guy’s equivalent to a Miata or Panther car. Not really leper material here.)these statements only add to the contradictions in your article.

        There’s nothing wrong with being a collector. In fact, most guitar collectors will tell you that they bought what they have because they loved the guitars. They aren’t trophy collectors. Premium doesn’t mean anything to them.

        If you think your Sperzels are what keep your guitar in tune, you need to talk to a good repairman and have him show you how to slot a nut and work on saddles. The guy in the Tapout shirt struggling to keep his Schecter in tune is not struggling with tuners. He’s struggling with a nut and string saddles that are binding. That is what comes with the territory on a $500 guitar. And it can also come on a $5K PRS. Tuning instability is generally a setup issue, not a gear problem. If someone is buying premium quality tuners to fix tuning problems that are caused by setup issues, that is a great illustration of an attitude where gear triumphs knowledge.

        I see your PRS Private stock and raise you my Gibson L-5 with name inlaid up the fingerboard, Bigsby, and 3 Alnico staple P-90s. I win at the gaudy consumer products Olympics.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      You nailed it. I really don’t see how much “better” almost any PRS is than my imported Parker Hornet which does just about everything I could want in a double-humbucker. Or my Mexican Strat which is one of my favorite guitars, it plays so nicely. Or any of the Mexican Teles I’ve played which are all impressive. And don’t get me started on “boutique” amps. As they say, tone is in the fingers…

  • avatar
    08Suzuki

    “It’s now a place where automakers have placed the dirty boots of the PR departments all over the grass and the cars have been subordinated to the marketing message and journalists buy red pants and $199 “blazers” so they can cosplay being the people who used to tell their grandparents to scrub the underside of the toilet rims in the guest house better next time.”

    Best thing I read on TTAC today.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    —so Lincoln trots out a funky’70s style color scheme, with pasted-on bits of headliner material while at the same time Cadillac does this:

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130816/CARNEWS/130819881

    Stick on 2 more doors on the Elmiraj and Lincoln might as well start making logs.

    Oh, wait, someone already does that.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      One could argue they’re laying down “logs” right now!

      “At Lincoln, our flagship is, you get to choose. That’s our flagship.”

      That quote sounds like something Don Draper thought up on a whiskey binge rather something a “true believer” car guy came up with.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s right, because as a consumer of product, YOU don’t get to choose what the flagship is – the producer of said product does.

        Audi would never tell you to pick your flagship, because some 24 year-old a*shole in his base A3 would go around claiming he had Audi’s flagship and it wouldn’t make sense. The A8L is flagship. End of story. (Albeit the A7 is now kind of superior looking.)

  • avatar
    mars3941

    Wait a minute, there must be some kind of Lincoln resurgence happening for I haven’t seen this many comments towards the product in 20 years. If no one liked or cared they would not waste their time reading or responding to this blog. So hang in there LIncoln, thing’s are looking up. My email response box is in flames.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    “A lot of automotive journalists seem to be confused about ‘Black Label’ as a name, thinking it has something to do with whiskey.”

    “There’s something intellectually dishonest and just plain pathetic about calling some interior upgrades ‘Black Label’.”

    “Tell you what, Lincoln. If you agree to drop these stupid names and just call it the MKZ Givenchy or Bill Blass, I’ll put in an order.”

    Stop complaining that these interiors don’t live up to what black label means in the “world of fashion” and just choose to believe that these cars are co-branded with Johnnie Walker.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Given my age and Gen X status, I might consider a Black Celebration Edition.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I wore “Nantucket Reds” to work today; that’s kinda germane to the article. Last time I went luxury car shopping I could basically get three exterior colors: White, black, silver and two interior colors: black or beige. Run amok with paint store name for those five colors, if you must. This might work because Lincoln will be selling “F-U red” and “ain’t that black real shiny and sparkly” interiors. It’s not like they have anything to lose. BTW, I do own a $200 blazer. With surgeons cuffs.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    I think that Lincoln is on to something with this Black Label interior.
    They just need to add a dark blue Stroh’s and a dark red Schlitz to complete the line-up. The faux PBR kids can go else where.

  • avatar
    nickhhh

    You are neglecting to mention that the folks in the Lincoln booth served a pretty tasty Makers Mark and Chocolate milk drink that made it all worthwhile.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Not oing to lie, I was disappointed at the lack of a whiskey connection. Perhaps the “Black Label” could have some sort of contraption in the console that mixes you up an Old Fashioned utilizing a bottle of Jim Beam Black Label. Add in that BMW self driving system and I’m in!

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      With all the parking assists, back-up cameras and lane-drift alerts perhaps Lincoln is subliminally marketing to the beer and whiskey crowd.

      “Wow, man, it practically drives itself…”

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Nitpicking. It’s Scotch Whisky and Bourbon Whiskey, respectively. Enjoy both. Carry on.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    In this same vein, I would’ve bought a Jospeh Abboud Regal GS out of a wholesale auction this past week out if only to humor myself, but it had 190k miles.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    First company to make a Taylor Swift Red edition gets my money.

  • avatar
    tklockau

    OK, this sounds hokey to me but I kind of agree with Jack–appealing to shallow, style-conscious bozos might just be the ticket for Lincoln. It has done wonders for Porsche (and I say that as a Porsche fan).

    But, I have another train of thought. Here’s an idea: Drop the pretentious names, and just offer nice leather in dark red, navy blue, white, green, black and saddle tan, just like the 1975 Continentals. No Rubbermaid colors allowed–”ecru,” “shadow” and other equally ridiculous names for shades of gray. Do this on all Lincoln models.

    The new MKZ has grown on me since seeing one in person, but a Lincoln should ALWAYS have vertical bars on the grille. The horizontal bars make it look like an Oldsmobile or something.

    Also, an MKT with “Town Car” badging is not a Town Car, no more than a 1982 Cimarron is a Cadillac. Please knock it off and give us a proper, RWD V8 Town Car sedan. You know, like the one you killed off in 2011?

    Oh, and bring back the Continental name!

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Mr Farley… Mr Farley, please wake-up sir, you fell asleep at your desk again and must have had that same horrible dream where you start yelling, V8! Continental! Suicide doors! over and over, like your trying to decipher some cryptic message in secret code that no one understands”

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    I realize this is an old post, but I just saw an ad for the new high-end cycling clothes from Voler.
    You guessed it they call it “Black Label”

    http://www.voler.com/browse/collections/details/li/BlackLabel/?utm_source=Voler+Cycling+Apparel+Newsletter&utm_campaign=81362d627d-EMW_13_08_4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_416f42a7a9-81362d627d-33946942


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