By on January 21, 2019

Image: Lincoln

“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.

Image: Lincoln

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]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

43 Comments on “Doors Make the Man: Lincoln’s Suicide-doored Continental Proves Exceptionally Popular Among the Well-off Crowd...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Elites flaunting evil carbon spewing conveyances.
    Off with their heads!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Too many words written about an 80-car run.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    But of course. Suicide door-equipped cars were long the preferred thing to be seen climbing out of at Hollywood movie premieres. I’d expect to see a line of these things at the Oscars.

  • avatar
    Vanillasludge

    Warmed over Fords won’t sell these days. If you want success in the luxury market you need more differentiation from base product. This shows that people still want an American luxury car if it offers something unique.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    How many of these will end up getting blinged out by shops like Unique Whips? I can just see one sporting a custom interior with an Alcantara headliner, LED accent lighting inside, painted trim, and the biggest wheels possible.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    A waiting list for the $110,000 Conti Coach Door Edition.

    The Cadillac CT6-V sells out within minutes at an MSRP of $88,790, according to TTAC on January 15th/19.

    Does this indicate that if Lincoln and Cadillac actually develop and sell a ‘halo’ product that actually is deserving of the name, that there is a market for it?

    Furthermore doesn’t this then indicate that there could, if backed-up by a credible product, be some life in these brand names?

    • 0 avatar
      Vanillasludge

      People would buy Lincolns and Cadillacs if they weren’t half measure cars. Yes, there’s life left in the old girls yet.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Something “special” and befitting of the name would be popular.

        Caddy sure wasn’t trying to be anything other than itself back in the 50s and 60s, obviously slavishly copying ze Germans isn’t working.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Good point, Arthur, and I’ll expand on it. I went out scouting luxury car lots yesterday, and checked out Cadillac, Lincoln, and several others.

      Know what blew up my skirt? There’s a short list, but here’s the one that really did it for me:
      https://www.audidenver.com/new/Audi/2019-Audi-RS+5-b1cdc3070a0e0ae825211e059d03725c.htm

      Be still, my beating heart. That gray paint. Those alloys. Sex on wheels. And it’s fast as hell. And it’s a sedan.

      Does it matter if it’s a volume seller? No, because anyone who claps eyes on this piece of sculpture is going to immediately think the A4’s just a bit sexier.

      Meanwhile, over at the Caddy lot, they had about 10 XT4’s on the front line, all of which might as well carry a “RAV4” badge.

      People WANT to get pumped about Cadillac and Lincoln, but neither brand’s giving their customers anything to get excited about. A luxury car should be DESIRABLE; Cadillacs and Lincolns are merely competent.

      Doesn’t surprise me the CTS-V sold out so quickly – look at the thing. And that engine. Lord almighty.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        That’s sexy? Dude, that’s positively BORING.

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        Looks like a Hyundai Sonata with improved interior :=)

      • 0 avatar

        If you want sexy (design-wise) look at Maserati.

      • 0 avatar
        Gedrven

        This under-40 gearhead thinks the Continental, especially in this LWB form, is one of the few actually good-looking cars made in recent history. A properly-proportioned, clean design with tasteful details (even the huge wheels look good).

        I appear to be in the minority, but what this has over its competitors (except the S-class) is that it’s neither bland nor hideous.

        Scale the body down to about 80%, put it on a stretched Mustang chassis, offer an Enthusiast Special with three pedals and the legal minimum of e-nannies (but I still want my wood and leather)… and it’d be about the only new car I’d genuinely WANT since 2005 or so.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I can’t be the only one to think this is what the continental should’ve been in the first place.

    How can Lincoln stand out, why would anyone want a Lincoln sedan when you can get a BMW, MB, Lexus, etc?

    Well, listen to what the customers are saying in this article. None of those other manufacturers made ultra classy suicide door continentals in the 60s.

    Seems so obvious. Hyundai/Genesis would love to have heritage like that, Lincoln’s had it the whole time and nothing ever materialized from it until now.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      American cars have to be bold, otherwise they fail. I’m usually against playing up retro, but if there’s any car that deserves a modern reboot, it’s the 64-65 Continental. A clean one will still drop jaws on any street corner today. Maybe they will take a second swing at it with this new RWD platform.

    • 0 avatar
      DEVILLE88

      Same goes for Cadillac!!

    • 0 avatar
      Gedrven

      Heritage, schmeritage. Maybach had heritage and we see how that turned out. Make something bold and elegant and someone will want it, nevermind its “pedigree”. Cars don’t literally descend from one another; when shopping for a 2018 car, why care about a 1968 one that happened to have the same name? That’s a different car. Apart from the badge, an ’18 Continental has more in common with an ’18 Genesis than a ’60s Conti.

      “Why would anyone want a Lincoln when you can get a BMW, Lexus…?” Have you *seen* BMW and Lexus recently? That is, ever since a translation error mixed up the Production and Circular File bins at their design studios?

  • avatar
    Ko1

    So take a Lincoln Navigator, give it suicide doors, stretch out the wheel wells to accommodate the 24″ minimum/30″ max size rims, stretch the front end to accommodate two 3.5 EcoBoost’s welded together into a quad turbo V12, let the customer choose from some exotic woods and fancy leathers and then charge $250,000 for it.

    Cadillac’s answer should be a similar Escalade but with an LS based supercharged V16. Mmmm…torque.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The tooling for Cadillac’s old 8.X ltr V8 has to be around somewhere. Dust it off and start throwing modern tech at it. Likely it would make torque numbers that would make the new Ram Cummins blush.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    Good on Ford for finally discovering a way to sell (80) Continentals. Love the idea of suicide doors, but their execution here still reeks of an aftermarket hack job.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It *is* an aftermarket hack job. IIRC, this work is done by a third party, not in a Ford factory.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, to be fair…”third party aftermarket” doesn’t necessarily equate to “hack job.” I would have to think Ford would hold the conversion company to some pretty high standards.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Whether it’s a hack job or not, SCE, it does prove a point.

      • 0 avatar

        “Hack job” is hardly a fair characterization. Remember, this is sold by FoMoCo dealers and backed with a FoMoCo warranty. The companies that do limo and hearse conversions directly for GM and Ford have to undergo pretty rigorous certification processes. Ford’s guidelines are 15 pages long and get down into the weeds with stuff like tubing specifications etc. Vehicles built by certified conversion shops are properly engineered.
        https://www.fleet.ford.com/resources/ford/general/NEWS/QVMProgramQualReq.pdf

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          IIRC GM even has regulations about where you can place the “Cadillac” logo on the vehicle based on the modifications you have done and to what specification.

          I remember that the old Superior Coach was proud that their work was done to a level that they were permitted to put the wreath and crest directly on parts they had modified because it was up to OEM standards.

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

          I know this is aftermarket work; however, that doesn’t mean it has to LOOK like aftermarket work.

          And sorry, Ronnie, but the enormous plastic C-pillar window blanks (the ultimate DLO fail) and disparate trim covering the rear door gap inside scream “hack job” to my critical eye, as do the differing front/rear door opening angles.

          Given the structural rejiggering required, I’ve also little confidence these cars won’t become massive rattletraps in short order. At least that FoMoCo warranty will cover the first few service department visits to hunt them down.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        So would that 65′ Shelby GT 350 or 70 Boss 429 I saw well into 6 figure territory last time I watched Barrett Jackson be aftermarket hack jobs as well? What about that Duesenberg in Jay Leno’s garage with the “custom coachwork” This is a factory backed effort (warranty), not Jessica Simpson’s car you saw get “hooked up” on unique whips.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    This only goes to prove that today’s cars have become too homogenized. Individuality sells and cars that look notably different in one way or another (outside of hideous grilles) are going to sell better than their conventional siblings. The same will eventually happen to pickup trucks, as they continue to dominate the streets and highways with their too-large sizes and too-blocky look.

  • avatar

    Maybe the people saying that Lincoln and Cadillac need $100K+ flagship sedans, to genuinely compete with Lexus and Mercedes are correct.

    I’m a big fan of Cadillac’s V cars but the American luxury brands need to embrace their inner land yachts instead of running away from their heritage.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    THIS JUST IN:

    PEOPLE LIKE CARS THAT MAKE A STATEMENT AND HAVE PRESENCE

    AFTER THE COMMERCIAL BREAK- IS WATER STILL WET? AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORT

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Any paparazzi worth its salt, upon arrival of one of these vehicles, will immediately prepare to capture a Britney-Spears-open-legs money shot.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I love this with the suicide doors, very elegant. I followed a new Continental in traffic yesterday and really liked the look of it. But, until they can match the quality/reliability/durability of a 2003 Lexus LS430, I’m not interested in Lincoln.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I love this car. I hope they do revive the next Continental they were doing on the Aviator/Explorer platform, but moving 80 coachbuilt examples, however quickly, doesn’t make a full production run an automatic success. Not sure what they will be doing with the 2020 numbers, but that is still likely to be a small run.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Maybe the prole model should also have such doors and maybe more than 80 will sell?

  • avatar

    brilliance. got ’em Thinkin’ Lincoln.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    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.

  • avatar
    ryanwm80

    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!

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • MRF 95 T-Bird: The final ZX2 with the S/R package is a good find. It compares favorably to a Neon ACR, Civic Si and...
  • 28-Cars-Later: “The electric grid will handle EVs just fine.” Hahahahahahaha. There are 98 commercial...
  • dukeisduke: “The collaboration also includes a joint development agreement that brings together two leaders in...
  • FreedMike: Agreed, I had a loaded-up Alero sedan as a rental once. It was a darn nice drive and a fine sleeper.
  • dukeisduke: I don’t know – they left out the word “impactful”, my least favorite...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States