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Keeping a Luxury Eye on Lincoln

Robert Ross

Among prewar automobiles, Lincoln stands out along with a handful of marques like Packard, Duesenberg, and Cadillac as having defined the early American luxury car scene. It was an era when coachbuilt bodies and bespoke designs were available for the fortunate few who could afford them. But by mid-decade, most of America’s grand marques were on the decline or gone entirely. The automotive industry was changing quickly, as popular demand for cars grew and the world’s population clamored for affordable personal transportation. Yet some of Lincoln’s best work lay ahead.

Few marques can boast nine decades of continuous production, and this month Lincoln turns 90, as Ford’s flagship brand prepares to launch a new range of trendsetting luxury cars to go head-to-head with European standouts from Germany, England, and Italy, and the best from Japan.

To commemorate its auspicious 90th anniversary, the manufacturer is showcasing the Lincoln MKZ Concept, a contemporary take on luxury that drops hints of Lincolns past while offering a thoroughly modern take on luxury with an edgy exterior and ultra-refined interior design. Performance is enhanced with all-new suspension technology for more responsive handling, matched by best-in-class fuel economy, expecting 5 mpg improvement over its nearest competitor. Inside, driver and passengers will appreciate the freedom of the MKZ’s all-glass, retractable roof.

Of course, the MKZ isn’t the first Lincoln to let the sky in. Car collectors and noted automotive designers from studios around the world generally acknowledge the original 1961 Continental four-door convertible as one of the most successful—and beautiful—automobiles of its era. Its crisp slab-sided design and signature suicide doors make a statement every bit as bold today as when Lincoln set the stage for luxury style half a century ago. (www.lincoln.com)

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