QOTD: Coachbuilding for the Relatively Regular Customer?
Plenty of digital ink and hurt fingers and bums occurred over the past few days, after Lincoln announced its limited run of Coach Door Edition Continentals (don’t call the doors by their common lexicon name).
But I’m here today to ask you whether any of it matters.
I was there in the comments, calling out this 2019 and 2020 custom door exercise. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. No, the present question pertains to coachbuilding, and whether it has relevance in today’s broader automotive landscape. Allow me to explain.
Bespoke features and coachbuilding have long been a costly exercise, as Lincoln surely realized before creating this limited edition of the Continental. Customers will foot (at least some of) the bill, when they pay over $100,000 to alight from their Continental with grace and style like people in the Sixties. Maybe they’ll have a lit Lucky Strike in hand as well.
Whether or not you appreciate the particular long-wheelbase and door arrangement, or even the Continental more generally, Lincoln has done something different with this edition. They’ve offered a coachbuilt car at a much lower entry point than the norm. These limited edition cars are not altered by the factory. They’re shipped to the Washington D.C. suburb of Massachusetts, and modified by Cabot Coach Builders.
Modern manufacturers are willing to give you coachbuilt detailing like special doors, unique interior trim, or some crazy paint scheme. But the customer must be willing to pony up tens (or hundreds) of thousands atop the base price of an already expensive luxury vehicle. The Bentley or Rolls-Royce in question will cost $225,000 before any special accouterments are added. And to those very well-heeled customers, it’s worth it.
But is it worth it on the lower end? Aside from temporary Twitter titillation, do the Coach Door Editions have a purpose? As the well-educated B&B you all are, do you think there’s a demand for coachbuilt vehicles at a lower price point? Said customer might want something special, but is unable to spring for the ultra-luxury marques. Would other marques do well to emulate Lincoln’s example, and start offering modified versions of their standard vehicles? Or is this all just a waste of time? Off to you.
[Image: Lincoln Motor Company]
Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Writing things for TTAC since late 2016 from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find me on Twitter @CoreyLewis86, and I also contribute at Forbes Wheels.
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