By on December 13, 2018

Image: Lincoln

So many of us want this to be more than just a sick tease that results in nothing new on the showroom floor. Would we buy it even if it wasn’t? That’s debatable.

Regardless, all we have now is the tease, plus plenty of clues. Posted Thursday afternoon to Lincoln Motor Company’s social media accounts, an image of suicide doors — a feature that graced Lincoln Continental sedans from 1961 to 1969 — has appeared, along with a cryptic message.

 

The brand’s tweet can be seen above. Yes, the defining feature of that era of classic Lincolns (and several that came before) were its suicide doors, a feature now relegated to the ultra-luxury Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost.

The tweet implies we haven’t seen the last of ’em.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the prospect of suicide doors on a modern Lincoln has raised its head. Reports arose of Lincoln dealers being shown a new Continental with said doors at a convention in Las Vegas last March. Since then, Ford has seemingly declared war on passenger cars, handing out death sentences to all Ford-brand vehicles with a trunk, Mustang excluded. The future doesn’t look good for the Lincoln MKZ and Continental, both of which borrow the platform found beneath the Ford Fusion. The Fusion isn’t expected to survive beyond 2021.

Later in March, sources claiming knowledge of Ford’s product plans said a new Continental is off the table.

2017 Lincoln Continental

Just because the Fusion is going away, doesn’t mean the Continental has to. Unfortunately, the model’s customers, who initially responded favorably when Lincoln resurrected the nameplate as a 2017 model, have dwindled severely.

Lincoln sold 676 Continentals in the U.S. in November. That’s a 26.8 percent year-over-year drop from the previous November, and volume through the end of last month is down 29.7 percent. Out-ignored only by the soon-to-be-fleet-only MKT, the Continental is the brand’s second worst-selling model.

Will the brand create a new Continental, perhaps on the new CD6 modular platform (the basis for the rear-drive 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator), in the hopes of capturing remaining traditional domestic luxury buyers? Or, is this just a tease for a Detroit auto show concept vehicle that’ll never see the light of a dealer floor? The latter scenario seems unlikely, as Lincoln saw fit to add the Continental hashtag to its tweet. That doesn’t seem accidental.

Nor does the first scenario seem likely. It’s hard to imagine a cost-cutting Ford throwing much development money at such a low-volume car. No, it seems the answer to this puzzle is a refresh of the existing model that incorporates suicide doors (“coach doors,” in PC vernacular). As a photo from the dealer meeting published by Autoweek shows, Lincoln isn’t thinking of an all-new Continental with suicide doors, just a current-gen Continental with new doors. Possibly, optional ones.

The refreshed Continental, with or without those doors, is expected to bow next year as a 2020 model. It seems certain we’ll be seeing something in Detroit.

[Images: Lincoln Motor Company]

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44 Comments on “Lincoln Teases These, Wants Your Imagination to Run Wild...”


  • avatar
    Jordan Bell

    I suspect that a new Continental will happen, but for the Chinese market, where they sell reasonably well

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Ford is nothing but a big tease, so whatever it is, I can wait

  • avatar
    ajla

    Mustang-based Lincoln Continental Mark IX with suicide doors. Of course.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      The new Continental will be on the new RWD platform that the Aviator uses. Mustang switches to that next as well. So no sedan off the current Mustang platform.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Even better then.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @dwford, quite amazing if true. I laud you if you’re thee “Ford Approved Leaker”. Now a V-8 Aviator, a supercharged V-8 4wd Lincoln and a 4wd Shelby Mustang would be sweet.

        • 0 avatar
          dwford

          @ el scotto: I’m not the official leaker, I just read a lot on the internet. You’ve got the rumors of the 2021 Mustang switching to the Explorer/Aviator platform, complete with assurances from engineers that they won’t mess it up. You’ve got rumors of a 4 door “Mustang” coming. You’ve got the ending of the Fusion which is on the CD4 platform with the MKZ and Continental (so you can assume that they end production also). And you have Lincoln teasing a new Continental concept, which they wouldn’t bother doing if they are giving up on sedans totally. It all adds up to a new RWD/AWD Continental, and since the Aviator comes with the Raptor motor, you might as well assume the Continental will have it too.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        That is what I heard the next Conti was due as a 2021 on the new Aviator/Explorer platform, but I also heard that development was recently stopped even though they were already well into it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Amazing if accurate.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      It’s been done before. The Continental Mark VII was essentially a Fox Body Mustang. That would be cool.

      Unfortunately we’re dealing with Ford here. So if we see the doors at all they will probably be on some kind of an SUV or CUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        With the Mustang supposedly going to the platform that underpins the Aviator, I am wondering if this will become the new Fox Body where pretty much all of Ford’s RWD cars ride on it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Re-engineering doors on an existing model would be – in reality – like re-engineering the car. It would be a nightmare for everything from safety and crash testing to electrical systems.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Really? Why?

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The rear door line would require major re-engineering. It needs to be near vertical to allow the hinges to be inline so the door will swing properly. The current Conti has an angled rear door cut line and they would have to stretch the wheelbase several inches to make that work and not have to small of a door.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      No need to lose the B-pillar; both front and rear doors can latch on it. As such, the only re-engineering is finding a way to hang the rear doors onto the rear side of the opening.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo2

        Where are the wires for the speakers, power windows, rear power seat controls, etc going to go? That’s all going to need to be rewired.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Ok, so the wires are about four feet longer. How big a deal is that?I’ve strung wires for my own car and truck mods for years; there’s no real engineering in it outside of calculating the length needed and computers are far better at that then humans nowadays. I had a set of “engineered” wires on an ’85 Toronado that for all that it was engineered to be the perfect length, kept breaking the contact tab on the mass air sensor on top of the engine. Took the dealership four replacements of that sensor on their own dime before they finally took my advice to add four inches to the lead. Never broke another sensor after that.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo2

            What path are they going to take? Presumably the stampings are designed with the wiring in mind. If a wiring bundle now needs to go another 3’ back and out to the sides thats a new pathway. How does that pathway interact with the existing systems?

          • 0 avatar
            jmo2

            Also keep in mind the forces involved. The power seat control panel is a 5 or 10cm from the forward hinge. If the hinge moves to the back then the panel will be subjected to far higher forces when the door slams. That’s all going to have to be retested.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “What path are they going to take?”
            — Essentially the same path they would normally take, only extended to the rear of the door rather than the front. That’s hardly a big issue.

            “Presumably the stampings are designed with the wiring in mind.”
            — And to reduce weight they all have large perforations to minimize the amount of actual metal in them. Wiring doesn’t need a perfectly round hole to pass through the “space frame” or whatever they call their particular unibody construction. It only needs an opening large enough with the cable secured to minimize the risk of rubbing on the edge of the hole that would eventually result in a short. Most such cables are secured by clamps with the hole’s edges wrapped in a vinyl or plastic grommet to prevent wear.

            “Also keep in mind the forces involved. The power seat control panel is a 5 or 10cm from the forward hinge. If the hinge moves to the back then the panel will be subjected to far higher forces when the door slams.”
            — When did anybody make power rear seats in a car, outside of Tesla in the Model X?

          • 0 avatar
            jmo2

            “— When did anybody make power rear seats in a car, outside of Tesla in the Model X”

            Mercedes, BMW and Audi have had power rear seats for a while. The rear seats in a 600 Mercedes were hydraulically operated back in the 60s.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @jmo2: “Mercedes, BMW and Audi have had power rear seats for a while. The rear seats in a 600 Mercedes were hydrauliclay operated back in the 60s.”
            — That’s nice to know. Now, is that moving the seat cushion back and forth or just reclining the seat back? Exactly what kind of adjustments are we talking about?

            Personally, with the possible exception of 2+ row wagons and SUV-equivalents, WHY have these power options? I understand it for the driver and maybe even for the front seat passenger, but the rear seat? Especially with today’s cars and trucks, that second-row seating is already tighter than is really comfortable unless you go for the longest models available.

            And I do believe the 60s-vintage Lincoln Continental had no trouble with power windows on that reverse-hinged door.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Too Boomer. Who under 50 knows or cares?

  • avatar
    deanst

    Silly people – it’s just the new Lincoln minivan!

  • avatar
    scrubnick

    You’re all wrong. It’s the new Lincoln refrigerator.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    I was just at the Lincoln shop south of Portland. I asked about the Continental, and they weren’t sure they had any at all on the lot. I pointed out the white one I saw on the way in to the showroom, which obviously had no Continentals in it. MKZ yes, Continental, no. Clearly they need to do *something* with the car.

    My suggestion would be a MAJOR interior overhaul. The Continental got stuck in kind of an awkward spot, much better than the first of the “new Lincoln” products (MKZ, MKC, MKX) but not NEARLY as good as the Navigator or Aviator, which now have world class interiors and already make the Continental look ancient on the inside. That’s a problem when the car has only been around like a year.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    You got it all wrong. These are actually the new SmarTouch(tm) handles by Lincoln. The backside of the handle detects your hand and opens the door on contact. No more clunky mechanisms; it’s almost touchless.

    The small silver pad under the handle is an exciting part of the MyLincoln(tm) suite of use-focused features. A sensor detects the oil level in your thumb and automatically orders a bottle of the best hand lotion if the oil balance is off.

    This is progress folks.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    A suicide doored next gen MKT, a CUV well overdue replacement.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Whatever. Truth is, most people will think “minivan” when they see that image.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    So this picture obviously means Lincoln will get an upscale derivative of the Transit Connect, right?

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