By on December 17, 2018

Image: Lincoln

It’s true. You’ll soon be able to slap down a pile of hard-earned cash for a 2019 Lincoln Continental with suicide coach-style doors. Well, 80 of you will.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Continental nameplate, Lincoln Motor Company went the extra mile for heritage devotees, revealing a limited-edition model that dispenses with front-hinged rear doors and adds half a foot of wheelbase to pull it off. You’ve never had a better look at the Continental’s B-pillar.

Image: Continental

Arriving next summer, the Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition will be one of the rarest sights on American roads. That’s because Lincoln’s limiting production to just 80 examples.

Crafting a suicide-door variant out of the stock Continental was a non-starter, given the model’s rear door cut. Length was needed. Still, even with an additional six inches of stretch, it’s hard not to notice how the rear doors swing away at a different angle than the fronts. It’s also hard to figure exactly how much of a financial dent Ford took in creating this low-production version.

Image: Lincoln

“This Lincoln Continental echoes a design that captured the hearts of car enthusiasts around the world,” said Lincoln President Joy Falotico, referring to the iconic 1961-1969 Contis. “It’s something bespoke only Lincoln can offer in a thoroughly modern way.”

Heritage and glamour, all at once. However, the Conti’s door handle placement isn’t immediately prominent, given their placement in the chunky beltline tim. It’s too bad Lincoln couldn’t reinforce the car enough to slim down that B-pillar — it’s quite prominent, but style often takes a backseat to safety considerations.

Image: Lincoln

Rear-seat legroom, as one might imagine, is best in class. For these high-zoot Black Label units, Lincoln turned the console into a full-length affair, with a stowable tray table providing all the surface needed for fancy snacks or for signing tremendous deals with your client. Beneath the hood resides the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 found in other top-end Continentals, and Perfect Position 30-way seats come standard. They ought to, as these trick-doored Contis boast an MSRP in excess of $100,000, Car and Driver reports.

In discussing the coach-door Continental, Lincoln describes the brand as riding a “new wave of product momentum,” which is certainly true. That last word, however,  does not apply to the Continental’s sales. As we’ve discussed before, Continental sales have trended downward almost since the beginning; its best sales month to date was December 2016 — the model’s fourth month on the market.

While adding a stretched, limited-run version with fancy doors should generate appealing press and lend a thrill to heritage buffs, it’s doubtful we’ll see renewed interest in this endangered model. Not the regular model, anyways. Americans have already spoken. In the U.S., Continental sales through the end of November fell 29.7 percent from the same period last year.

Buried in the model’s write-up is a mention that a “limited number of additional Continental Coach Door Edition sedans will be available as well for the 2020 model year.” Perhaps those special door sill plates bearing the 2019 car’s production number won’t prove quite so special?

[Images: Lincoln Motor Company]

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106 Comments on “King of Egress: Lincoln Stretches 2019 Continental, Swaps Rear Doors for a Limited Few...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    Had Lincoln possessed the testicular fortitude to offer such a version from the get-go I’d be impressed. A limited run of 80 cars at the end of production is just pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Well said

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Lincoln isn’t doing this. They are shipping 80 regular cars to some pole barn in Massachusetts where the conversion will be done:

      “The suicide-door Continentals will roll off Ford’s assembly line in Flat Rock as Black Label Continentals. Ford will then ship the cars to Massachusetts-based Cabot Coach Builders, an aftermarket modification company.

      Cabot will cut the vehicles in half, stretch them 6 inches, fit the suicide doors, and build out a custom second row with extra leg room, larger seats and a center console with controls, tray tables, wireless charging and other perks.”

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        If it’s sold by Lincoln then yes, they are very much “doing this.” using an up-fitter or custom shop to do the work doesn’t change that fact.

        I’m not knocking the car, it looks awesome. It’s just the vehicular equivalent of skipping out before dawn while leaving an Andes chocolate and cab fare on the hotel pillow in the morning after an adequate but ultimately unfulfilling romantic encounter.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        @EBFlex

        The limousine versions of the ’60s suicide door Continentals were coach built by Lehman-Peterson, so in a sense they are being exceptionally accurate.

        (Far from the largest build Ford has outsourced, too — Mustang convertibles were outsourced to Cars and Concepts from ’83 to I think the introduction of the SN95.)

        • 0 avatar
          NoID

          The use of up-fitters for low-run models is nothing exceptional. Sometimes it’s hard to squeeze unique content and processes onto a production line designed to spit a finished car out once per minute.

          I think the most recent and memorable example would be the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, which could not fit down the assembly line at Brampton with the wide flares flares and wheels. I don’t know if that’s still the case with the Widebody Hellcats and Scat Packs, but I know they mentioned it in some of the Demon PR.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Sooooo…all of those Ferraris that Pinanfarina had a hand in building, many of which are among the most desirable cars ever built and fetch 7 figures when they come up for sale, aren’t real Ferraris? Sotherbys and the other auction houses are about to get hammered.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        This helps explain the very small run; I would imagine it’s a compromise between how much capacity Cabot has available and how many orders Lincoln would need to make the whole thing viable.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      It’s impressive for Lincoln to offer this with just an 80 car production.
      Nice work!

  • avatar
    jatz

    Roof’s still low.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Livery service special. Also, given that massive center console, hard to get some nooky in the backseat.

  • avatar

    Leave it to the remaining lowest denominator ‘commentariat’ left on this blog wasteland to bash what may be the last great American luxury sedan made. Ever.

    It’s no wonder this place is dying.

    • 0 avatar

      You are defending Fusion XXL ASC Limited Edition? C’mon.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        You are bashing a car because if you cut it up onto hundreds of little pieces, some of them might match a cheaper car?

        No, the Continental isnt all it could be, but it’s more than you’re giving it credit for. Given the decline of large sedans, can you blame them for not pouring twice as much money into a dedicated platform? Cadillac did with the CT6, it crashed and burned just as spectacularly. It had everything internet wannabe automotive executives said would work, did it matter?

        • 0 avatar

          I’m not especially bashing the Continental by itself (though in the segment I think there are better options).

          I’m bashing doing this LWB and suicide doors here and now, at the end of its life.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Ahh, so the name was a compliment, and the omission of any reference to it being late to the game was because that point was already there, somewhere.

            My mistake.

          • 0 avatar

            You really gotta chill about this car.

            Late to the game = limited edition.
            Hackjob by coachbuilder = ASC.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You’re probably right, John, but you should stop taking bashing of Ford products so personally. Just sayin’.

          • 0 avatar

            So let me get this straight Corey, you’re a proponent of not doing anything cool or coach like? You’re not a fan of building a few one-off’s like they did off the factory floor in the 1960’s?

            What are you a proponent of? Or is this just you being ‘smart?’

            I don’t get it. This kind of craziness should be celebrated by an enthusiast.

            Don’t let your cynicism get the best of you.

          • 0 avatar

            FreedMike:
            It isn’t so much the bashing, it’s the incessant thumbing of the nose this site has turned into. Sure, go for that snark. But back it up with some solid insider reporting, intelligent analytics or generally anything besides copypasta press salad.

          • 0 avatar

            What I like:

            Making the decision *up front* to do the doors this way, not later as a marketing effort.

            Come with the LWB option and suicide doors from launch. Make the suicide doors an LWB-only option, a special proposition to make that $100k ask seem worthwhile.

            Coachbuilding that looks high-end.

            Coachbuilding at the factory level.

            What I don’t like:

            Throwing some special limited edition stuff on 80 units after you’ve cancelled all your passenger cars, and the model is dead.

            Executions which look sloppy.

            This isn’t craziness, it’s just some publicity. An afterthought for a failed model. Some edits by an aftermarket company.

            I reserve “craziness” labeling for taking chances and stepping out of the norm with your product. Murano CrossCabriolet, Evoque cabriolet, Renault Twingo III, Hellcat.

          • 0 avatar

            In a perfect world, the mod center on site of the assy plant would work. Economic factors likely nullify that.

            It exists delivery to the dealer. Backed by the OEM through design releases and service support.

            I hear you and I got roasted similarly with my opinion of the new GT being outsourced.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Well I think this program was authorized and well under way before the replacement got the ax. It was likely done to generate some buzz for the Conti while they waited to get the 21 to be ready for market. From what I’ve read elsewhere the RWD Conti project was canceled quite recently, well after they announced that the Ford branded sedans would die.

            So it is most likely that this project was too far along to cancel when they finally decided that the Conti was getting the ax. Meanwhile the car, and thus Lincoln is getting a lot of free press.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “It had everything internet wannabe automotive executives said would work”

          The car with standard 4-cylinder, mandatory AWD above base, Chinese-built hybrid, and no V8 until after its death was announced? No way.

          I’m not going to claim an “internet special” sedan would have done any better in sales, but the CT6 was not that car.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            The closest thing to the “internet special” I think is the G90. V8 and RWD available, and undeniably luxurious interior. Honestly, it’s a better American luxury sedan than either the Continental or the CT6.

            Also not selling, which is a shame. As much as I’d like to see a RWD Continental, I just can’t see it happening.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The “internet special” Cadillac would be to take the G90, equip an LT1, give it Escala sheetmetal, call it the “Fleetwood” and price it at about $60k.

          • 0 avatar

            The G90 is sweet. However, it’s interior appointments look like hot garbage compared to a Continental.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “The G90 is sweet. However, it’s interior appointments look like hot garbage compared to a Continental.”

            The same Continental with those cheap plastic drive selector buttons and hazard a switch lazily placed at the top of the air vents?

            It’s a nice place to be and impresses at first but the luster wears off. The only ones I’ve seen on the road have plates that say “Livery” or they’re Ford staff cars.

      • 0 avatar

        says the internet poster with zero insider knowledge of what it took to get this program authorized.

        uninformed inflammatory meme reporting by people like you results in garbage milquetoast product.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          ‘The “internet special” Cadillac would be to take the G90, equip an LT1, give it Escala sheetmetal, call it the “Fleetwood” and price it at about $60k.’

          As I have said multiple times on this site, I would trade the SS in tomorrow if this vehicle was made available. I don’t have any illusions about that happening though.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I gotta get me a Pinanfarina butFerrari. Should be cheap since it isn’t a real Ferrari!

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “the last great American luxury sedan made. Ever.”

      Piffle. Our luxury rides just come with a bed or 5th door now.

      • 0 avatar

        jatz,
        Coming from a truck owner (me), trucks have zero soul. Zero.

        I’m gonna be buying a Flex before a proper passenger car that isn’t on stilts becomes extinct. If I were 20 years older and better positioned, I’d be rolling in a Continental.

        When I’m retirement age, we will all have the choice of 3 vehicles per manufacturer and we will long for the days of consumer choice and petrol based powertrains.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Why is the Continental any better then a Cadillac XTS? Both are big front-drive, V6 sedans nobody wants

      • 0 avatar

        It’s more of what could have been rather than what is now. This was a stepping stone into a proper platform / powertrain config as reported by various outlets.

        This got rid of the damned bangle butt rake that every POS car had in the line up. It brought the modern, sleek face of Lincoln and brought back an important marque from the grave. If any of these plebes actually drove one, they wouldn’t be raking it over the coals like I’m reading.

        Better late than never. Like it matters. 99% of the active commentators here couldn’t afford one or are the target demographic anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          It should have been all that you imply, but at the last minute they “toned down” the curves and creases that had the potential to make the Continental something really special like the ’61. What is their thinking in farming out 80 pieces to an aftermarket hack to make what maybe Ford should have in the first place?

          I’ve seen a few Continentals in the wild and they should be grabbing our attention and making us do a double-take, unfortunately it just doesn’t, well except for the distinctive door handles, but those just aren’t enough to carry the whole brand

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          “This got rid of the damned bangle butt rake that every POS car had in the line up.”

          What am I missing? This Continental has a textbook Bangle coffin lid trunk. It might be the most pronounced Bangle butt currently on offer.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      If it had an L on the grill they’d love it and be bashing Lincoln for not building it. If it isn’t a midsized truck or wagon (or import) it is met with scorn here. Great looking car, positive press for Lincoln (in addition to their new product launches). Hope they complete the turn around.

      • 0 avatar

        Art, you are right.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Lexus already builds the ES350. The only praise they get is from people who’ve actually driven or owned them. If they priced the nice versions of the ES350 as high as they price the LS500, there would be as many customers as there are Continental Black Label customers. And if you really think there would be anyone on here praising them for failing to understand elasticity of demand, you’re leaving reality far behind.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          My understanding is that all 80 are sold. Furthermore, here everyone is talking about a Lincoln car rather than a laid back Lincoln spokesperson for a change. All this just in time for the Lincoln models that are actually supposed to show Lincoln’s new direction hit the street. I think they know exactly what they are doing and they deserve the praise of the car community for putting forth a car as a marketing tool vs. a brand for a change.

          Honestly my kids are past “need a crossover” age. We have been looking at cars like the Acura TL and Lexus ES, but I’m going to put the standard Continental on my list. I had forgotten how nice they were. No it isn’t a 3 series, but I have other options in the garage for spirited driving

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It would have been great if Ford knew how to use a parts bin to build new models the way the AMC engineers and designers could.

      They would have started with a F150 chassis, lowered it, put a Mustang 5.0 in it, made it fulltime AWD, tuned the suspension, and put a classic body on it with coach doors and formal roofline.

      The short box, regular cab F150 would have given them a 123″ wheelbase, 79″ width, and 209″ overall length to work with. Then it would have been a formal, full-size luxury car.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    80 should be just the right number for Ford Board meetings and Lincoln sponsored events. Can’t see anyone actually ordering one of these.

  • avatar

    Looking at the details around the door, the seals, and all those adjusted panels everywhere, you can tell this was an afterthought. It’s something people asked for at the *return* of the Continental, not now when it’s pretty much dead in the water.

    Puts me in mind of when Cadillac continued the Fleetwood name in 1998 and 1999, with the LWB Fleetwood Limited. Who’s it for?
    https://storage.bhs1.cloud.ovh.net/v1/AUTH_e70735f8b712454ba568a52e9776e481/autozin/images/sub1/5751ee0352739.jpg

  • avatar
    JREwing

    It’s a nice marketing gimmick, and a huge proportion of the 80 will sit and await collectible status and a big payday at auction in 30 years.

    There should be a 2021 Continental on the upcoming rear-drive Explorer chassis, priced at $100,000 or better, with suicide doors standard. Well, except for Ford no longer investing in cars in the American market.

    The continued under-investment in both Cadillac and Lincoln continue to resign them to also-ran status. When they start swinging for the fences, people will start caring about them.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yes, they should use a RWD platform for their large sedan. That will solve everything. That must be why the Cadillac CT6 is selling so well that they’re discontinuing it after a remarkably short life because they just can’t keep up with demand.

      I would like to see a RWD Continental as well, but it wouldn’t matter one bit. Everyone on here clamoring for one would find fault with some tiny detail, say they’ll buy it used, and make fun of it when its sales spit and sputter and crash.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The 21 Conti on the RWD Explorer Chassis was in the works, however word is that project was recently stopped mid stream. No word on whether it would have conventional or traditional doors.

      Maybe just maybe this thing will be such a huge hit and bring in so much traffic to the showroom they will re-start the program before the drawings and clays gather too much dust.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “It’s also hard to figure exactly how much of a financial dent Ford took in creating this low-production version.”

    So true. Just because you *can*, doesn’t mean you *should*. Exhibit A: Model X falcon wing doors. They sell fairly well, but they’d sell 3 times as many if it had standard doors.

    • 0 avatar
      RSF

      I can’t believe they went to all the work and spent all the money to do these doors for only 80 units. Especially on a sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “They” didn’t.

        A 3rd party limo conversion company is doing the work.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Hmm, then I wonder why it’s limited to 80. 3rd party should want to sell all they can

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            Well Ford is still involved as Lincoln is selling it. So that’s why it makes no sense.

            But Lincoln isn’t doing the work which is important to note as people think this is a sign that Ford is investing in the fancy Fusion when they are not.

          • 0 avatar
            mjg82

            They probably don’t want more than 80 chopped up cars running around with a full factory warranty.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            It is Ford doing this and that is why they are limiting the number. Yes a 3rd party is doing the construction but under contract to Ford and the only way to order one is at your Lincoln dealer.

            If it was a limo company building them then yes they would not limit them to a specific number, they would build all that are ordered.

            Of course it is possible that they won’t find 80 takers and they will produce less than 80 2019s.

            I don’t think anybody thinks this means Ford is investing in this platform as it is common knowledge that the sedan versions of it will die after the 20 model year. It is also not a secret that Ford had been working on a new Conti based on the new unibody RWD platform.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Like Ferrari and Pinanfarina? Nothing good ever came of that lol

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      The design and development is overhead, unless they had to spend outside money on “Engineering Design and Development” with outside suppliers or engineering firms to get the whole shebang designed and sourced. After that, I’m sure they wouldn’t have green-lit “production” (if it can even be called that) unless the full vehicle run made financial sense.

      I’m guessing it was just a matter of opportunity cost for design, and production was kicked off by raising MSRP to the break-even point.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    It should be noted that Lincoln is not doing this to the tarted up Fusion. The 80 cars will be shipped to a third party to do the conversion:

    “The suicide-door Continentals will roll off Ford’s assembly line in Flat Rock as Black Label Continentals. Ford will then ship the cars to Massachusetts-based Cabot Coach Builders, an aftermarket modification company.

    Cabot will cut the vehicles in half, stretch them 6 inches, fit the suicide doors, and build out a custom second row with extra leg room, larger seats and a center console with controls, tray tables, wireless charging and other perks. “

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The irony of adding suicide doors to a dead model walking should not be lost on us.

  • avatar

    This car will be a great trivia question in a decade or two….

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    Maybe I’m just a dumb millennial, but I just find this kind of meh. A coach built weird limo looking version of a decent but not great car just screams “Future Collector item” to me.

    Good on Lincoln for doing it, but it would’ve been much cooler if it was originally like this. I also can’t be the only that thinks it doesn’t look that amazing. Sure, you can’t make it like the classic Continental, but this just looks like a bloated and stretched awkwardly propositioned FWD sedan. Kinda like an odd half sized limo.

  • avatar

    Why even post news for a car headed for the chopping block.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    These people who say they want a Continental with a wheelbase near 130″, etc.: Why not just find a nice 1972 Continental and modernize it to the extent possible (ABS, etc.)? You’d spend tens of thousands of dollars less than you would for the 2020 Continental of your dreams, and you’d have the grand proportions you desire. There are still some sound examples available.

  • avatar
    bobtheowl

    While I generally think this is pretty cool, the fake side windows behind the rear doors bother me.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Hmm. I hadn’t really noticed them before, and I guess they are related to strengthening the C-pillar for the reverse hinge doors. But they might be a bit of an issue from the perspective of the rear passengers. Will it feel cave-like back there, with your line of sight truncated like that?

      On the bright side, this is one of the few sedans that can actually fit infant car seats in the back without cramping the driver and front passenger. Too bad only 80 will be built, and chances are that 0 of those will be sold to young parents.

      The demand for cars with space will remain untapped … for now.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        They must be, since they’re real windows in the doors on normal Continentals. Looks like they spent about zero effort on blending the add-on panels with the trim, too.

  • avatar
    FWD Donuts

    Cool car. The factory wheels continue to be atrocious, though.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Continental > XTS in the looks and engines (IMHO)

    On the used market $ wise Continental = XTS.

    I think I’m going to be able to find something very nice this summer for a very small monthly payment when I’m looking to replace the Highlander.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Couldn’t care less about this thing one way or the other. For a measly 80 cars, Lincoln has had more free jawing/speculation than this thing deserves. No doubt the program is paid for out of the advertising budget.

    What I do care about is the method of manufacture. Take a perfectly good unibody with good torsional rigidity and beam strength, saw it in half, add in six inches of somebody’s idea of a structure, then butt-weld it twice, once at each end of the insert, with, if we’re lucky, a bit of steel bar here and there stretching over the joins.

    There are of course more sophisticated ways to do it than that, but who knows if Ford specifies how it must be done? They haven’t exactly fallen over themselves informing anyone about it in the gushing superlatives about suicide doors.

    The Rolls Royce Phantom has suicide doors standard, but I don’t suppose BMW makes the chassis this way.

    There’s probably about three different specifications of high-strength steel in the Continental around the B-pillar and sills as originally manufactured that someone’s welding over with gay abandon and likely zero insight.

    After the welding cools, with the surrounding steel specification now all over the place and unknown, stand back and declare it all good. Cover that mess with bespoke trim. Structural engineering, wherefor art thou? Don’t get T-boned is all I can recommend to happy oblivious owners. Better still, avoid.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      They are not doing these modifications w/o any knowledge of the exact materials involved.

      3rd parties stretching cars, including uni-bodies is nothing new. Ford has a long standing Qualified Vehicle Modifier which has many requirements and gives the builder access to all the engineering details as well as specific recommendations and requirements on how to do it.

      This is a project that Ford started and most likely did all of the structural engineering design.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      I love the idea of this, but I’d also want more elegant engineering than mismatched door openings and giant black plastic “windows” for my $100K. For all the hype and history, this strikes me more in the vein of sticking Lambo-style scissor door hinges on a 10-year-old V6 Charger.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Love big, fat door seals! Been a seal devotee since SAAB 900 windshields.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Perhaps the 80 are just a way of marketing the car to China before its released there…a way to wet the whistle?


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