Cars

Lincoln’s Flagship Sedan, a Limited-Edition Marvel, Sells Out in Just One Month

A Legacy Reborn: The Lincoln Continental Coach Door Edition

The Lincoln Continental has long been revered as a legendary name in the realm of luxury automobiles. However, the current-generation Continental falls short of living up to its esteemed heritage. One glaring misstep lies in its choice of doors.

In bygone eras, the Continental boasted iconic center-opening “coach doors,” more commonly known as “suicide doors” among enthusiasts. To pay homage to the Continental’s 80th anniversary, Lincoln introduced a limited-edition model called the Coach Door Edition in December 2018. Astoundingly, this exclusive offering of 80 cars was completely sold out in just over a month.

In a statement, the company expressed its delight at the overwhelmingly positive response from customers, with interest surpassing the planned production run for this special edition.

The Continental, an independent model launched by the Ford Motor Company in 1939, was not associated with any existing brand. Eventually, it found its place in Lincoln’s lineup and gained its iconic suicide doors in 1961, solidifying its status as a true Lincoln emblem. Sadly, over time, the Continental lost its essence and was discontinued in 2002, only to be revived for the 2017 model year.

David Woodhouse, Lincoln’s design director, explained, “The center-opening doors became synonymous with the Lincoln Continental, even though they were only featured primarily in the 1960s.” He further noted that these doors left a lasting impression due to their captivating appeal.

Kemal Curic, Lincoln’s chief designer, described the act of opening the doors as a warm embrace, comparing it to a welcoming gesture. When discussing the inspiration behind the choice of the 1961 model, Curic stated that it embodied the “most glamorous time” in American history, making it the perfect reference point for this grand revival.

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While suicide doors are still utilized by Rolls-Royce, their popularity has waned in recent times. The term “suicide” was coined due to the possibility of the wind forcefully opening the doors of older vehicles. Although this is no longer a concern with modern cars, it remains an issue that marketing teams would prefer to avoid. Furthermore, on a four-door sedan such as the Continental, this arrangement can be impractical as the only access point is situated in the center of the car.

Nonetheless, the allure of a car with suicide doors is unparalleled. If Lincoln had not taken this initiative, it is likely that an aftermarket company would have. Lincoln also highlights that the 90-degree arc of the rear doors eases entry and exit for rear-seat passengers. The 80th anniversary Continental presents added legroom for these passengers, as Lincoln extended the wheelbase by 6.0 inches to accommodate this unique door configuration. While an external company conducts the elongation process, Lincoln manufactures all the necessary parts in-house. Tim Sterling, the chief program engineer for the Continental, affirmed that this was an ambitious endeavor. He emphasized that the suicide-door Continental adheres to all relevant crash-safety standards and incorporates 3D-printed components, a logical choice given the limited production nature of this distinctive vehicle.

Apart from the remarkable doors, the extended wheelbase, and some interior enhancements (such as an expanded center console equipped with a wireless phone-charging pad for rear-seat passengers), this limited edition shares the same specifications as the standard Continental. It is equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, producing an impressive 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that powers all four wheels.

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The highly sought-after Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition premieres as a 2019 model. Lincoln has concluded the ordering process for the initial batch of 80 cars. Each unit fetched an undisclosed price, rumored to be around $110,000, making it the company’s most expensive vehicle. Lincoln’s marketing manager for sedans and crossovers, Trevor Scott, suggests that these sedans were likely purchased by car enthusiasts or individuals who simply enjoy the luxury of being chauffeured. Perhaps suicide doors will be the next addition to Lincoln’s Navigator.

For those who missed out on the opportunity to own a Continental Coach Door Edition, there is still hope. In response to the unexpectedly high demand, Lincoln has announced plans to offer a second model year of this remarkable vehicle. The company promises to share more details very soon, as confirmed in an email sent to Digital Trends.

Updated on January 19, 2019: Additional information has been provided regarding the forthcoming second run of Coach Door Edition cars.

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