By on September 26, 2014

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One of the recurring comments that enthusiasts make when the issue of making Lincoln into a success comes up  is why didn’t they ever put the trio of concept cars they introduced about ten years ago, the Mark 9 and Mark X coupes of 2001 and 2004 and the Continental flagship sedan concept of 2002 (see here and here). All three cars were meant to evoke styling cues from successful Lincolns of the past, particularly the 1961 Continental and the personal luxury Marks of the late 1960s and early 1970s. All three could have been made, but never made it to production, much to the chagrin of a lot of folks cheering for Lincoln to turn things around. Though they never made it to production you’ll now be able to buy a couple of them, including the stunning ’02 Continental concept.

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In 2010, Ford sold off a number of their concept cars and Texas businessman Sam Pack, whose holdings have included a number of Ford dealerships and a massive car collection, bought a few of them. Pack is a Thunderbird enthusiast, so in the package there were a couple of Thunderbird concepts from when that nameplate was revived with the Jaguar S Type platform a few years back. Pack also bought the MkX and Continental concepts.

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The Lincoln and Thunderbird concepts, along with 126 other desirable cars, are now being auctioned off as Pack wants to winnow down the large collection into something small enough to enjoy. RM Auctions will be handling the sale, which is scheduled for November 14-15 of this year, as a single-seller auction. The auction will take place on the grounds of the Pack Automotive Museum in Farmer’s Branch, Texas, near Dallas. All of the cars are being sold without reserve, which means they’ll be sold no matter what the final bids are.

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Though there was also a fiberglass “pushmobile” on the show circuit, the Continental concept now for sale appears to be a functioning automobile with a 6.0 liter V12 putting out 414 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. That’s likely derived from the Aston Martin V12 which itself is pretty much two Ford V6 Duratecs stuck together. It has four wheel disc brakes and a multilink independent rear suspension so it likely was based on the S Type platform, which was also used for the Lincoln LS, built alongside the Thunderbird. To allow for the center opening doors whatever structure they used has been reinforced at the A pillars, C pillars, the sills and the roof rails. All of the show car power gizmos including the trick parallelogram trunk lid work and it comes with fitted Zero Halliburton luggage and golf club cases.

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When Pack bought the Continental concept four years ago, he paid $56,100 including RM’s 10% fee. When you think about how that much money doesn’t buy you much exclusivity with today’s production luxury cars the price seems like a bargain for what is a handmade, coachbuilt one-off factory prototype. Unfortunately, though, should you buy it, even though it’s apparently a functioning automobile you won’t be able to drive it, at least not on public roads. It can’t be registered because as a prototype show  car, it’s being sold without a VIN, on a bill of sale.

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RM’s catalog description for the Mark X is here. They haven’t yet published the description of the Continental concept, but when they do, it will be here, though it will likely be a rehash of what they wrote when they auctioned off the car in 2010. Supercars.net has Ford’s original 2002 press release on the Continental Concept here.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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59 Comments on “Ford Won’t Make It But You Can Buy the 2002 Lincoln Continental Concept...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    These cars are street legal? EDIT: I skimmed it, my bad.

    I’d venture to guess with a dealer/transporter/repair plate you could drive this on public roads.

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      That MkX looks enough like a final Thunderbird that I’d nearly consider plucking a VIN plate off a junkyard example and registering it as a Thunderbird salvage.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Panther Town Car salvage might be even better. No one would question it.

        Edit:
        Just realized you meant the Mark X Concept:
        http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=1071442

        • 0 avatar
          CoastieLenn

          The Panther TC would be a good bet for the Continental but definitely not for the MarkX that they’re also auctioning off. That MkX is Tbird clone at the A-pillar.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sure that there are enough production parts in the thing that you could probably title it as an assembled Aston Martin or Lincoln. I don’t see why it would be different from any other assembled custom. Pick a major component and use that as the basic identifier. You might run into issues with DOT, EPA on a federal level and state agencies like CARB but I’m sure you could get away with driving it in many states.

  • avatar

    What a shame. Lincoln would be raking it in if they’d made this concept car instead of those ugly things they put our 16th President’s name on. And the roads would be much more beautiful. And every time I hear the phrase, “the Lincoln Motor Company,” the little voice wouldn’t be going, “oh, yeah, what a joke.”

    It’s too bad this concept car can’t be street legal, and a waste.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    God, has this aged well. Sure, it’s retro, but not as obnoxiously retro as the Thunderbird, PT Cruiser, or HHR of the same general era.

    This is, quite simply, an exquisitely-styled car from every angle; 100X more striking than anything in Lincoln’s present stable, and more to the point, unimpeachably (pun intended) LINCOLN in personality.

    FoMoCo is dumb.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If indeed it is a runner, what a great addition to any collection. My personal choice would be the MKR from a few years later. It’s not often a car can make me feel funny inside like that.

    http://www.netcarshow.com/lincoln/2007-mkr_concept/800×600/wallpaper_01.htm

    It must pain the great people inside Lincoln who came up with these great designs only to never see them come to fruition.

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    That concept looks like they didn’t quite finish styling it.
    Lincoln almost had people’s attention with the first MKX (that’s the Edge) and Zephyr (Fusion), that did take a few cues from a 60’s Continental. Then they promptly went another direction and nobody has heard from them since. They do make a hearse though.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I thought I was alone in my like of the electric-shaver grilles on the first MKX and the ’07 Navigator.

      • 0 avatar

        Most people like the pre-refresh MKX better, including me. My neighbor has had one since Christmas of ’08 (white with white interior and light wood grain), and it still looks as fresh as the day she and her husband bought it. It was a lot more cohesive in its first iteration. Now it just looks like an unholy mash-up of shapes and lines and poorly-applied styling cues.

    • 0 avatar

      >>>That concept looks like they didn’t quite finish styling it.

      Agree. The profile is absolutely terrific, and the front and rear ends were on their way, but not quite there. Still, even as is, it looks better than any modern car I can think of offhand.

    • 0 avatar
      Baldpeak

      I don’t like it either. It’s the epitome of early 00’s anti-styling. Bland geometric shapes. I think people just like it because it’s unusual. But if cars like this were everywhere, people would get tired of looking at it really quick. It would be as loathed as the PT Cruiser.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I haz a sad

  • avatar
    wolfinator

    It’s been a while since TTAC has posted something that inspired lust in my heart.

    These days, my interests trend towards the mundane. Partly because, as a young father, they have to. But also because pretty much every category of cars has started to bore me for some reason.

    CUVs…yawn. Sports cars are so over-the-top, it’s dis-interesting. Big luxury cars – oooo, they added new wood and some horses.

    But something about this Lincoln concept just stands out. It’s beautiful, it’s bold, it’s…different.

    And the styling somehow looks just as good a decade later. And it RUNS??

    What the HELL, Ford? Why was this never built? WHY??

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      Wolf, just be patient. The little ones will be gone before you know it and you and the better half will explore , uh, things, together again. Maybe even buy a one-off for fun. I know it sounds like a broken record coming from us overweening Boomer assholes, but it is the hard and fast truth. And, you’re right about them dropping the ball on this car. V-12 and futuristically retro. Too cool. I believe in the old saying about the future and being bold – or something like that. Let’s face it. Lincoln cannot sink any lower on the automotive dickometer.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Because boring people like you would never buy it, and cheap people like me would buy it in 10 years.

  • avatar

    I’m going to share this with my partner who is always at the ready to buy stupid crap.

    I’m keeping the Zero Halliburton cases. Just sayin’…

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    “That’s likely derived from the Aston Martin V12 which itself is pretty much two Ford V6 Duratecs stuck together.”

    Is that true?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Indeed it is.

      Ford should build that thing with a 7L double cyclone V12.

    • 0 avatar

      The AM V12 is undoubtedly based on the architecture of the Ford Duratec V6. The first appearance of the engine was in the Ford Indigo concept car that you can currently see in Jack Roush’s collection. No, the production AM V12 isn’t made by welding two Duratec V6s together, and I don’t know if they share any parts but the two engines are related.

      I wonder if that’s what inspired the LS based V16 in the Cadillac Sixteen show car.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    It is just stunning how the simplicity and clarity of this concept gets me every time. It is conservative in language, yet modern in its proportions. It revokes a grand past, but it also appears sporty, elegant and definitely standing on its own four feet. A great retro concept. The bland aero cars that actually are sold as Lincoln are so much more forgettable…

  • avatar
    jhefner

    Two questions/thoughts:

    1. Can the general public pay the $20 to come in and view/photograph them before the auction, or is it serious buyers only?

    2. I wonder if Sam Pack has the 1983 Ford Probe IV concept car now, or is it still with the Gullo family/dealership owner. It was on display at the Gullo Ford (then Gullo Ford/Lincoln/Mecury) in Conroe, Texas a few years ago, but is gone now. I tried reaching out to the dealership a couple of times, to no avail. I wish I could have seen it while it was still on display; I remember when it was written up in Popular Science and elsewhere when the “jellybean era” first began in the early 1980s.

    • 0 avatar

      RM Auctions have previews that are open to the public at no charge. In some ways it’s better than a car show. You can open up the Duesenbergs and check out the interiors. That’s how I found out how many turns it takes to crank up each one of the Cord’s retractable headlights.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Oh My Sweet Jeebus, I want one. Any color but white, black, or silver with the V-12. Now that the new Mustang is ready to go, I think Billy ford needs a new job. “Yeah bro, (Billy) divorced ex-sorority chicks who like to drink and get nekkid dig these! The Motor Company needs a new mission.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    This is absolutely brilliant!

    How on earth do they obviate suspension travel?!

    They must have a skunk works somewhere. Or tied in with Area 51?

  • avatar
    Ion

    You can see where it’s styling cues made it into the Zephyr. It’s the same way the interceptor influenced the Taurus. I’m willing to bet had the LS been successful there would’ve been a better business case for a RWD lincoln biased of a jag platform. People seem to forget Ford got burnt on 2 RWD jag biased cars already.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Woohoo…push dat bootay OUT!

    What kind of Rube Goldberg thing they got going on for the tail light harness?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Timeless design, could put this design in production today with minimal changes and it would do well.

    At one point 12 years ago, ford had some real visionaries, and some idiots red lighting every thing they created.

    They would rather tarnish the Lincoln name with badge jobs than put out an actual entry into the luxury segment. There’s no point in anything Lincoln sells it all could just as well pass as Ford products.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I propose this to FoMoCo. One platform, two models: the above Continental in RWD/AWD and a large three row CUV in a longitudinal FWD/AWD layout (similar to the Tornado of old). Price both at $100,000-125,000 and spare no expense on the quality of the vehicles. Sell them both alongside your other “Lincolns”.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Nobody is going to pay six figures for a Lincoln unless Matthew McConaughey comes with it. But you could build this car with exiting Ford drive train parts and sell it profitably for $45k+. Lots of buyers in that price range.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Cadillac gets 90K for Escalades, so I think its possible. I agree with your on more buyers at 50Kish but the question is how many more buyers? If you build a “super car”, price it high, and offer worldwide shipping, you could move at least a few thousand units. If you price it at 50K you’ll move more units but how many more? Double, triple, or ten fold?

  • avatar
    stuki

    That really is a shockingly beautiful car! Bold, confident and calm at the same time. Looks as good as Sinatra sounds….

    If Caddy/GM believes there are enough Chinese, Russians and Goldmanites out there to bet big on a large RWD halo car, why not Ford/Lincoln? What Chinese millionaire would NOT want a car looking like that?

  • avatar
    jonny b

    My cousin and I saw the Continental concept at the Chicago auto show back in 02 or 03. I remember saying to him “one day we will be old Jews, and this will be the car we will drive”. We were looking forward to it.

  • avatar
    Fred

    OK I’m going to be the contrairian here. Yes this is good looking, but I’m not a fan of Lincolns and this is just another big Lincoln that wouldn’t get me into the dealership. I’d suggest that many current luxury car buyers see the same and Ford decided not to produce them.

  • avatar

    I think it is much more simple than that. Ford decided that Lincoln did not worth the same attention as JLR and AM and was not a real luxury marque – “American luxury” like fake Rolex. Bill did not like Lincoln, it was relegated to Buick status or kind of American lower price version of Volvo. The reality is that nobody in US will accept American marque as luxury marque equal to European marques. Everyone expects European cars, even plebeian ones, to be expensive, stylish and desirable and American cars to be made to blue collar buyers standards. Idea of 100K Lincoln or Cadillac inconceivable in US but in China, Russia it is acceptable and even excepted because US is considered to a be Western country comparable to Europe. In Russia in 90s I remember Lincolns and Cadillacs were in high regard. And even cars like Eagle Vision were very desirable and cost money.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Another comment disappeared.

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