Monday, December 10, 2012

Every Day, Lincoln Plunges a Knife Into My Heart

1956 Continental Mark II at LA Press Day

Every day, the newly renamed Lincoln Motor Company plunges a knife into my heart. 

You see, I'm one of the few life long Lincoln devotees that have owned, restored, showed, and driven the brand (and still do) and I still love the Lincoln nameplate despite its descent into being the generic equivalent of luxury marques- a car with no unique models, no dealer network, and only minimal signs of brain activity- just enough to keep us from pulling the plug as each day our hopes for a recovery grow dimmer.

One such glimmer of hope was at Press Days for the Los Angeles Auto Show, when on Wednesday the Lincoln display was decked out in iconic brilliance- stunning examples of Lincoln excellence from 1929 to 1961 and crowned by the presence of a Continental Mark II, which was the mid-fifties ubercar that immediately became the darling of the rich and famous. 

Not to be content with any garden variety hand assembled Mark II, the car on display was special ordered by none other than Miss Elizabeth Taylor for her husband, showman Mike Todd, in a rich violet blue. It and the other cars on the floor looked resplendent and were not only were the talk of the show, but actually offered us hope that Lincoln had recognized at least some of the greatness in their heritage and saw the promise of a revitalized brand. 

Except that they're doing such a damned lousy job of it. At the Auto Show, they announced a new Tumblr site called "Lincoln Now," in which they post pictures of the glory of Lincoln. Great idea, but three of the first four were misidentified. Then the site transferred to a new name, Lincoln Motor Co, but the old site remained alive, as a blank page, with a prompt to enter a password and no redirect or even a link to the new url for over a week. 

Now, thankfully, it at least redirects so that the handful of us who still care about the brand can at least find it, but every time I visit I wince in terror to see what the latest misidentification will be. So far, of eleven photos captioned with year and model, five of them are wrong. Were we talking about a twelve year old in Great Falls, Montana, I'd be the first to say cut him some slack. But this is the all new "We Get It" Lincoln Motor Company, and the ad agency is jointly owned by Lincoln. 

So really guys, how can this be? You can't even caption your own goddamned photos? I can send you a list of twelve year olds (omitting the one in Great Falls, of course) that can do a more professional job. Seriously, it's time to fire people. You're on the verge of being nothing more than a drinking game.

And Lincoln Motor Company, to prove my magnanimous desire to help you get it, allow me to help you correct your captions (all images via Lincoln Motor Co.Tumblr:)

1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe

This is a 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe which Lincoln identifies as a 1940. The push button doors, lower body bright molding, fender script, parking lamps atop the fenders, Lincoln wheel covers and split grille with a defining chrome bead are all signatures of the 1941 Lincoln Continental. It can be no other. 

1956 Continental  Mark II

Here is the shining moment of the brand's history- the handmade, incomparable 1956 Continental Mark II. From 1956 through 1958, Continental was a separate registered make, so that it is NEVER appropriate to refer to this car as a Lincoln Continental. NEVER. Did you hear me, Lincoln?

1953 Lincoln Capri Convertible

Hispters are dancing in front of a 1953 Lincoln Capri convertible. It is not a Lincoln Continental Capri. In fact, there are no Continentals between 1949 and 1955. Lincoln Capri. Got it?

1933 Lincoln KA Convertible Roadster

 A slightly more minor transgression- this 1933 Lincoln KA wears an attractive body style called a Convertible Roadster, which features roll up windows and Landau Irons (Those are the shiny silver things on the sides of the top.) This differentiates it from the Roadster, which has side curtains and no Landau Irons. I don't expect them to remember this, I expect them to look it up in a damn book before posting.

1948 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet

And here we are back to Lincoln 101. Here is the iconic 1948 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet. It's a late production model and represents one of the last ones ever assembled of this lovely style. It is not a "Lincoln Cabriolet Tudor." Find the person that wrote that and fire them- TODAY. It's unacceptable. 

Guys, I get that the task you are immersed in is daunting. You have a wonderful old brand that hasn't had a new product worth the powder it would take to blow it to hell for 10 years now. You've just discontinued the most successful and profitable car in your history and you've got nothing left but some rebadged Fords sitting  in the darkest corner of a Ford dealer's showroom. 

But you've done it before, with the brilliant and timeless 1961 Lincoln Continental, and you can do it again. And in the meantime, you owe it to the dwindling numbers of us who still care about you to at least act like you know who you are and stop plunging the knives into our hearts on a daily basis. 


  1. brilliant post about non-brilliance. I'm with you about the misidentified cars. It's unacceptable! I'm a lifelong Lincoln fan too, you know that. I really hope they get it together!

  2. Sadly, you are right. I don't think these idiots could make something like the '61 Continental today if they tried. Hopefully, I am wrong. If they do make something that nice, I'll buy one.

  3. I would buy a new lincoln to match my 61 vert Continental but the brand just sucks, the cars are underpowered, boring, fwd, and just BLAH.

    Such a shame what Ford has let their Luxury marque become.

  4. Wonderful article. My aunt was "an Imperial gal." She had owned Imperials from a white '49 convertible, to a sapphire '55 Crown sedan, to a sable '64 sedan. When it came time for her to retire the '64, the Imperial had been reduced to a nameplate. The '73 Imperial was garish and awful with its tufted, plasticky interior and ersatz waterfall grille, but the newly christened Lincoln Town Car was still restrained, elegant and gigantic. Soon Lincoln would burden their flagship with plastic scrollwork, a fake Rolls Royce grille, opera windows, coach lamps and other indignities to make it more . . . well, just more. They seemed to be trying to emulate the '61, but on SUVs. By that time the retro craze was dying and Cadillac had grabbed a bold, forward looking styling direction wrapped it around some fantastic, world-class platforms and brought its interiors out of their unfortunate rubbermaid phase. Lincoln should leave the younger, performance market to Cadillac and focus on the exploding Boomer generation with gorgeous, restrained luxury a la the MkII and 61 Continental. Combine that with exquisite interiors and powerful, Tesla-level electrics and plug in hybrids and you might bring the marque back from the brink.

  5. Utterly inexcusable, a level incompetence that shows no regard for the brand one is supposedly touting.

  6. You had me until the last few lines Pareidolius. Tesla electrics and hybrids? Yeah, that's what people will buy in a uber-luxury top of the line automobile.

    Go to a BMW dealership and ask them how the sales of their hybrid model is doing. I just did, so I know the answer.

  7. My concern with Lincoln began stripping model names and replacing them with this MK_ nonsense. It's easier to kill off a marque if people don't have a connection or lack name recognition.

  8. Yesterday I watched a TV show up here in Canada called Car Business where the hosts interviewed the fellow (his name escapes me) who was the senior Lincoln exec at the LA show - not Jim Farley, who is now the top man in charge, but one of his reports.

    This guy, smooth as can be, nevertheless stated that Lincoln was founded by Edsel Ford in 1922. No mention of Henry Leland. I doubt he ever heard of him.

    So the ignorance of Lincoln's past, it seems, starts at the top.

  9. The Lincoln which I once admired died as soon as they began selling Ford pick up trucks and Ford SUVs with Lincoln name plates on them. I stopped paying attention to Lincoln when they did ridiculous nonsense like that. It is bad enough there are $60,000 Ford pick ups at that...