Vellum Venom Vignette: Design and Marketing's One Night Stand, 2013 Lincoln MKZ Edition

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Do you have a thick skin? Nope! Someone can reduce you to buckets of tears. Welcome to the world of Automotive Design, where talented folks regularly market/defend themselves with beliefs under the scrutiny of (not so) constructive criticism. I was guilty of this ritual at CCS: when I was done, I felt dirty. “Why did I say that? Did it help me, or make me feel better?” It was sorta like the regret following a one night stand.**

The marketing/defense of a design includes flowery language, uplifting sales/marketing words commonplace in White Collar America, and bizarre correlations between their design and an outstanding design elsewhere. All are present, accounted for in these two mailings for the Lincoln MKZ.

Back to the photo: I don’t know the significance of a Calla Lilly, without resorting to Wikipedia. Perhaps a designer came up with the Lilly+MKZ design early in the car’s ideation stage, so let’s spare everyone cynicism there. And we have better reason to snark with the following photo:

The only biominicry going on here is the reproduction of RoboCop’s cyborg face. Oh dear. Let’s see what the other MKZ mailer says.

Wait a second! Is that one of the most iconic Chevrolet designs to date: a Stingray?

My bad, it’s a MANTA RAY adapted to a non-Corvette vehicle with ill-conceived, Camry-like proportions. Plus, now we know biomimicry is “the practice of examining nature to create something man-made, to breathe added layers into the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ.” Or…not.

I wonder if we’ll see this “biomimicry” in the MKZ’s sales brochure…or on TV. Does the One Night Stand flourish into a long term design direction? We’ve seen this go bad many times before (Lincoln and elsewhere) so don’t hold your breath. But maybe this will make you feel better:

BLAM! I got your biomimicry right here, son: the 2002 Continental Concept. As for the 2013 MKZ, I can’t wait to see one in the flesh.

**I apologize if you took offense to the sexual references, because I’m not entirely proud of them either. Plenty of designers live happy and healthy personal lives, some date/love/marry people while in design school. Most of my freshman year classmates did not, but that’s not the point.

The point? The dirty little secret behind Vellum Venom is these thoughts aren’t shared with people in my life. This series is an outlet for things I’d rather not discuss. Sometimes depressing in my real life, but rewarding here on TTAC.

And now you know why I regularly thank you, dear reader, for your time. I hope you continue to listen to my stories told via car design. Thank you again. – SM

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

More by Sajeev Mehta

Join the conversation
2 of 36 comments
  • Redliner Redliner on Oct 11, 2012

    Tisk, tisk, tisk, still waiting for the "full" design review. I would go to the dealer myself, but the only Lincoln dealer that was nearby closed. (Now they sell Kia) The nearest Lincoln dealer is now over 90 miles away. I'm not driving 90 miles to ogle a design I'm only mildly curious about.

  • Acuraandy Acuraandy on Oct 22, 2012

    If FoMoCo wouldve built that Continental, they wouldve found many buyers IMO. That and the same era 'Interceptor' concept....

  • ToolGuy I would answer, but the question might change again, and then where would we be? Also, bran... wheat bran? Bran Castle? The coliva served at Bran Castle is made with wheat, I checked. (Some places use rice, because collectivism does not work.)
  • ToolGuy Learn to drive, people.
  • Corey Lewis I saw a TVR Griffith 500 (mfd 1990-2002) back in June 2014 at the Ault Park Concours, in a side parking lot. It had plates on it, but was MUCH too new to be in the US, especially so as the 500 was a later model 1993+. Luckily I took pics as proof!
  • Bd2 This is when BMW started to go downhill design-wise...
  • Jalop1991 "...their resale value to be in par with a 80's GM diesel wearing a Yugo badge." Those words, sir, paint a picture.