2002 Lincoln Continental Concept
“Model for a corporate jet”
McGovern, the former design director, had this to say, “In an executive car, there are inviolable principles. The vehicle must be engaging for the driver, supremely comfortable for everyone, and the car should do the work for you. Above all, space must be used efficiently and ingress and egress must never be compromised.”
The Continental concept’s interior was outfitted with luxury touches to pamper its occupants. The Eames lounge chair-inspired seats were covered in full-grain aniline leather dyed “a creamy hue called Rhode Island Sand.” The flooring was a “close-sheared midnight blue sheepskin.” The instrument panel and doors were trimmed in a combination of Rhode Island Sand and Midnight Blue leather, and indirect mood lighting was delivered via fiber optics to the door panels and headliner.
The front seats could adjust for height and rake, with fore and aft travel of ten inches. The rear seats could adjust fore and aft across a range of eight inches and be reconfigured into a bed by folding down the center portion of the front seat back. The rear seat cushions were designed with a tilt function to aid ingress and egress.
Built-in laptop tables stow in the rear center console and the case holders built into the front seat backs fold down to allow an attaché to be opened without removing it from the sleeve. One of the more frivolous features is the cabinet located between the rear seats which houses crystal glasses and a drinks dispenser. There’s also cigar humidors and each rear door has the obligatory umbrella.
Up front, the Continental concept is equipped with a full-width instrument panel. Although Lincoln’s information didn’t go into details, that panel is described as having reconfigurable displays utilizing OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology, also developed in partnership with Pioneer.
Available information included engine functions and vehicle systems, concierge and telematics features, navigation and the THX-certified audio system. The concierge service would allow passengers to check the weather, make restaurant reservations, seek route assistance or get personalized financial market updates… basically what a modern smartphone does.
McGovern went on to make more comments that would inspire hope for the storied luxury brand, such as, “Someday, a flagship like Continental could join Lincoln’s showroom” and “As Le Corbusier said, ‘some pasts are the liveliest instigators of the present and the best springboards into the future.’ That’s an apt description of the role Lincoln’s heritage played in the development of Lincoln’s new design philosophy.”
I too think Lincoln needs to look deeper to its past to find its appropriate future. Not in terms of retro styling or heritage-inspired design cues but rather for historic pedigree and purpose of being.
Below are some supplementary photos of the 2002 Lincoln Continental concept. Click on the thumbnails to see larger versions.