Doors Make the Man: Lincoln's Suicide-doored Continental Proves Exceptionally Popular Among the Well-off Crowd

doors make the man lincolns suicide doored continental proves exceptionally popular

“Exceptionally popular” is a descriptor that does not jibe well with “Lincoln Continental,” as sales of the division’s flagship sedan haven’t exactly fallen into the category of scorching. Introduced late in 2016 as a 2017 model year vehicle, sales of the Continental fell 3.8 percent, year over year, in December, and 27.1 percent for the entirety of 2018.

While the Continental suffers from a crossover-inflicted illness impacting all cars, one Continental variant has no trouble generating demand: the lengthened, limited-edition Coach Door Edition, which bowed late last year with a price tag of just over $110,000.

People clearly want to be seen exiting from rear doors that open the wrong way.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Lincoln unloaded all 80 of its 2019 Continental Coach Door Editions within 48 hours of the opening of orders. For many, the waiting truly was the hardest part.

Stretching an extra six inches between axles, the Continental owes its existence to a Ford Motor Company eager to cash in on the retro appeal of previous Continentals (while making some extra bank in the process) and Boston coachbuilder Cabot. No base trim layout or engine here, just lots of luxury and backseat room.

Lincoln claims the bulk of the demand came from L.A., New York City, and Miami, though Detroit auto parts supplier Michael Oakley told Freep he’d been waiting for one for years. That seems to be the motivator behind many of the 80 purchases — people remember the glamour of Kennedy-era Contis and wish for a little of that elegance in their own lives.

Exclusivity helps, too. Each Coach Door Conti arrives with a numbered plaque.

“Our first two calls came from New York and the West Coast, each wanted to be first,” Lincoln’s marketing director, Robert Parker, told the newspaper. “One customer was one of these people who could have whatever they wanted, and he wanted to match the Lincoln with his aircraft.”

“One guy from Tulsa has become a pen pal” waiting for this vehicle to one day happen, he added. “I even got a Christmas card from him this year. Over Thanksgiving, he was texting me because the rumors were heating up. I’ve never even met this person. I don’t know how he got in contact with me.”

Parker noted a “surprising” degree of enthusiasm from the under-40 crowd, as well.

Following its debut, Lincoln said an unspecified number of 2020 models would follow up the 80 2019 models, and that’s still the plan. The number of 2020 Coach Door Editions remains a mystery (Cabot’s capacity is surely a consideration), though Lincoln could find itself filling orders from overseas.

“We’re hearing not only from here in the U.S., but other markets that are interested, too, be it Dubai or Shanghai,” Parker said.

It looks like Lincoln got what it wanted by returning suicide doors to the brand’s fold, but the model’s future after 2020 remains hazy. While Ford hasn’t stated the Continental will go the way of the Taurus, Focus, Fiesta, or the Continental’s Fusion platform mate, the automaker clearly doesn’t have much interest in building low-volume passenger cars, save for the truly exclusive GT. Not outwardly, anyway.

The Coach Door Continental could be the Lincoln passenger car’s glitzy swan song.

[Images: Lincoln Motor Company]

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  • SaulTigh SaulTigh on Jan 21, 2019

    I love the car, but I got burned by an '08 MKZ and I swore never to own a transverse engine Ford ever again. My local dealer has these for $55k to $70k. I'm I'm going to spend that kind of money, it would be on a Navigator.

  • Ryanwm80 Ryanwm80 on Jan 23, 2019

    I hope the success of this car inspires Lincoln to make a Mustang based Continental Mark IX LSC convertible with a 5.2L voodoo engine, manual transmission, air suspension, and a Bill Blass interior!

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.