This image has been circulating around social media for months now. Despite the reveal of the actual production 2017 Lincoln Continental, which looks nothing at all like the car in the picture (see below), people continue to share it.
In truth, I, and most Lincoln fans, cannot help but wish that the new Continental actually did look exactly like the car in the top picture. That Continental is unmistakably a Lincoln in a sense that is true to the brand’s history. The production 2017 Continental, while nice in many ways, is really just another interchangeable luxury sedan. It could easily be mistaken for an Audi, a Mercedes, or a Jag. The car at the top, though? Not a chance.
Every time I’ve seen that top photo shared on social media, it’s always been with a sense of excitement. That’s because the car in the picture is the modern Lincoln Continental that people actually wanted- A distinctive retro-nod shape, unmistakable Lincoln flavor, and, of course, suicide doors! That’s all what made the Continental “The Continental” back in the day.
I think Ford has missed a huge opportunity here to really inject some much needed enthusiasm back into the Lincoln brand. Lincolns used to be some of the most stylish cars on the road in the 1960s and earlier. Lincoln desperately needs to bring that sort of flavor back into their brand identity if they want to succeed these days. A bland approach, merely running with the pack, is not going to cut it. Lincolns are supposed to be bold. They’re supposed to class up the joint whenever they roll up, not merely blend into the woodwork.
The 2017 Lincoln Continental was considered a big hit at the North American International Auto Show this year. But whether the new car is relatively good, or not, is irrelevant to me. I don’t like it because it represents a major failure by Ford to revitalize the Lincoln brand after years and years of utter garbage.
I don’t see how the design team could work for such an iconic brand, and not tap into its vast, rich heritage for direct inspiration. I mean, they can’t even make the excuse that they wanted to “try something new” because the car they built looks exactly like every other luxury sedan on the market. It’s purely uninspired, and that’s a travesty for what was supposed to be a Lincoln Flagship. It’s almost like they didn’t even know what they were doing, so they just copied everyone else.
This goes back to my time working in Detroit, when I found out that most of the car industry is run by people who don’t know or care about cars. The new Continental was clearly designed by such people who had very little knowledge of the Lincoln brand and it’s heritage. This begs the question, how on earth did they even get their jobs?
I don’t think the new Continental is going to change much, if anything, for Lincoln as a brand. It’s too boring, and frankly, with the cars looking so similar, most people would rather have an Audi or a Benz. Lincoln’s only hope may be a bargain price tag, but this is the luxury market we’re talking about here, and most buyers aren’t interested in a deal.
To me, this is just more of the same old mediocrity from Lincoln, and it’s getting their brand absolutely nowhere. They need to fire everyone who designed the 2017 Continental, and hire whoever made that picture at the top.
A brand’s history is its identity, especially in the car world. People who don’t understand that shouldn’t be designing cars. I know I’m being harsh on Lincoln here, but it’s because I genuinely want them to succeed. Lincoln used to be a glorious symbol of American automotive style and class, and they need to get their identity back. Having a bland car, like the 2017 Continental, as their brand’s flagship just shows a continued commitment to mediocrity. That pisses me off, and it should do the same for anyone else who loves American cars.