**UPDATE**Suicide doors return on new Lincoln article

Pete Kaczmarski

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'Suicide doors' make a comeback in 80th anniversary edition Lincoln Continental
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CNBC 19 minutes ago
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The company is coming out with an 80th anniversary edition of the Lincoln Continental with a feature that was once regarded as highly controversial.
Once deemed dangerous, suicide doors are making a comeback on the Lincoln Continental.

Ford (F) is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the long-lived luxury Lincoln line by making 80 cars in 2019 with the classic center-opening doors that once served as the a signature of the Continental.

The doors are not just a gimmick or aesthetic flourish. By opening toward the rear of the car, they allow passengers in the rear seats to enter and exit the vehicle more comfortably. Passengers don't have to lean forward to push the door open or pull it closed, for example.

The design was featured commonly on horse carriages, hence the name "coach doors." Over time they had come to be called suicide doors, thanks to the danger of the wind forcing the rear door open while driving at high speeds, according to automotive historians. This was particularly dangerous in the era before seatbelts.



More recent takes on the suicide door have incorporated safety features such as locking the door once the car reaches a certain speed.

Apart from the coach doors, the car's wheelbase will be six inches longer, which Lincoln said gives the rear seats more room. The car lights up as its driver approaches with a welcoming lighting sequence. The trim is Lincoln's best quality leathers and dash materials, its Black Label, which typically offers higher quality materials and membership privileges, such as vehicle detailing and free car washes.

Sedans are a tough sell these days. Ford said it plans to all but stop making them over the next several years, with the exception of its Mustang sports car.

But this version of the Continental is more of a specialty sedan, and sales of those are still relatively healthy, said Robert Parker, director of marketing, sales and service for Lincoln.

"I find it incredibly interesting," said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst for IHS Markit. "The Continental is a vehicle that has had weak sales in a difficult segment, for sure. So I think it is an effort to draw in some interest and create some buzz around the car."

Building a vehicle with suicide doors seems to be quite a lot of work for a car that doesn't sell well in the first place, she added. It is much more difficult that just dropping a new engine into the car. But she she doesn't think Lincoln will have any trouble selling every one of the limited run it's making.

It also seems to be part of a larger strategy Lincoln has taken in recent years of trying to reach far back into the brand's history in a nod to its roots as a distinctly American luxury label, she said. In recent years Lincoln has been carving out a space for itself in the luxury market by emphasizing service and making spacious, plush vehicles that drive comfortably, rather than the sportier luxury cars European makers are known for.

No specifics on the price are available yet, but Parker said it is safe to say it will be the most expensive vehicle Lincoln sells. That means it stands to cost more than $100,000, which is the price some of Lincoln's Black Label vehicles.

Lincoln first came out with the Continental as a custom luxury vehicle in 1939, but didn't add the coach doors until 1961.



"There hasn't been a conversation about product planning I have been in during all my time in Lincoln that hasn't involved bringing back coach doors," Parker sai
 

Xenon

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THAT is what made a Lincoln a Lincoln... The 70's came and they became blah-mobiles....
 

Carmine

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THAT is what made a Lincoln a Lincoln... The 70's came and they became blah-mobiles....

They got through the 70s and 80s by virtue of Cadillac sucking really bad. I would argue there was a brief resurgence in the 90s, but it was never followed through and collapsed by 2000.
 

330dTA

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It’s a move in the correct direction. Too bad the current Continental is so stout and stodgy. Like an obese sibling to an Audi A8. A Continental should look slim and smooth. It should be longer. And it needs a V8.
 

Carmine

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It’s a move in the correct direction. Too bad the current Continental is so stout and stodgy. Like an obese sibling to an Audi A8. A Continental should look slim and smooth. It should be longer. And it needs a V8.

The upright look was no doubt in response to the 300, and I prefer that look to "slim". But yes, it needs more than a V6.
 

ImpJay

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I like the stout appearance of the 300, but agree with 330dTA about the need of a v8.
 

JC68vert300

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I read that Ford will only build 80. Each one numbered on the sill plate. Too bad, because we all know dealers will jack up the price, so they can sit and rot on their lot. Make the price reasonable ( for a luxury car ), and sell as many as you can. Retro style sells. Look at the Dodge Challenger, retro, yet modern and has more style than most other cookie cutter models.
 

CBODY67

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About 10 years ago, when the Town Cars were still alive, they had a suicide-door Lincoln concept car at the Dallas New Car Show. Seats looked similar to the '64 Galaxie 500/XL buckets, but on a pedestal, iirc. Looked nice! Was just the right size and had "the look" to make it all work. Maybe even a grille that resembled the early '60s Lincoln grille? With the doors opened, FULL accessibility to the interior. No shorter B-pillar for the latch strikers.

The big deal with doing a suicide door car in modern times is side-impact crash test compliance. That might be why the production run of 80 is necessary? But with the shorter B-pillars, the same as a normal 4-dr hardtop in that respect.

That might be one "sedan" I'd buy, if I could afford it. Put a 5.0L Coyote V-8 in it, tuned for smoothness and torque, but with some good horsepower numbers, for the advertising folks to through around. 8-speed automatic with 3.70 gears. Give the Cadillac V-sport some competition! With that car, the owner could tell a new Cadillac owner . . . "You coulda had a V-8!", rather than a hair-dryer 4 cyl CT6.

Put a MSRP of $70K on it and wait for the orders to overwhelm production facilities! Might make it at Wixom, like in prior times?

CBODY67
 

Pete Kaczmarski

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New article with updated info...…

Lincoln Is Really Giving the Continental Suicide Doors

From Road & Track

including the hardly-new-ye CT6-V.[/a] But there is one cause for quiet celebration-the Lincoln Continental’s getting suicide doors again.' type="text" data-reactid="32">These are dark times for the American sedan. Everyday seems to bring a new death notice: Ford Fusion. Chevrolet Impala. Several great driving Cadillacs, including the hardly-new-ye CT6-V. But there is one cause for quiet celebration-the Lincoln Continental’s getting suicide doors again.

1961-1964 editions[/a].' type="text" data-reactid="33">The Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door edition (“suicide” is decidedly off-brand, Lincoln thinks) stretches six inches longer than the standard car and features center-opening doors. It’s debuting as a 2019 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Continental name, but the doors clearly pay tribute to the iconic 1961-1964 editions.

“We always intended the Continental to have center-opening doors,” said Lincoln design director David Woodhouse, recalling the suicide-door Lincoln concept car from way back in 2002.

The Coach Door edition will start life on an assembly line in Flat Rock, Michigan, like other Continentals, then ship up to Boston to Cabot Coach Builders, where it’ll be sliced in half, extended, and get those doors installed. It sounds like a strange arrangement, but it’s not new; Cabot’s been stretching Lincolns since the Town Car days. Lincoln engineered and is stamping the extension sections, with a focus on retaining rigidity and crashworthiness.

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Photo credit: Lincoln
Those needs mandated this Continental, like modern Rolls-Royces with center-opening doors, keep its full B-pillars. (The ’61 has whisper-thin pillars that look the business but probably become pikes during side-impact collisions.) Weight increases by about 150 pounds.

The car will only be offered with the Continental’s current top powertrain, a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 making 400 hp. All-wheel drive is also standard. So, expect it to drive about the same as a short-wheelbase Conti–capable and rather quick yet in no way pretending to be a sport sedan.

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Photo credit: Lincoln
Indeed, the point of the Continental is and has always been comfort. To that effect, the new doors open ninety degree to a spacious, richly appointed back seat. There’s a new center console for rear passengers, packing a tray table and wireless charging pad. Otherwise, the interior remains unchanged, which is just fine. The Continental’s cabin, much like that of the Navigator and new Aviator, poses a confident, colorful response to the sleek, yet occasionally dour design of European luxury cars.


Of course, the big appeal of suicide doors isn’t just comfort. It’s style. Alas, the doors on the ’19 accentuate what’s inherently wrong with the current car–the hood’s way too short, overhangs are too long, the c-pillar too narrow. Don’t blame Lincoln’s designers, who’ve shown what they’re capable of with the handsome new Aviator. Rather, these flaws are for the most part baked into the car’s Ford Fusion-derived underpinnings. A proper Continental needs classic rear-drive proportions.

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Photo credit: Lincoln
Of course, as the impending death of the Cadillac CT6 indicates, a rear-drive American luxo-barge might just be the wrong flavor for 2019. The cross-town rival has superior driving dynamics and novel construction, yet for all that is selling only marginally better. And it was surely more expensive to engineer and build. The Continental, meanwhile, lives to celebrate its 80th birthday. And now it has those sweet doors.

Lincoln well sell only 80 Coach Door editions, and they’ll all be top-of-the-line Black Label models. The volume cap will be lifted for the 2020 model year. Even then, the price assures they’ll be rare–Lincoln will sticker it somewhere north of $100,000.

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Photo credit: Eric Perry
The Coach Door will debut at the Detroit auto show in January. It’ll also appear at the Beijing auto show in February. No confirmation yet on whether the car will actually be sold across the Pacific, but given that big sedans are still big in China, it’s hard to imagine it won’t be.
 

ImpJay

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New article with updated info...…

Lincoln Is Really Giving the Continental Suicide Doors

From Road & Track

including the hardly-new-ye CT6-V.[/a] But there is one cause for quiet celebration-the Lincoln Continental’s getting suicide doors again.' type="text" data-reactid="32">These are dark times for the American sedan. Everyday seems to bring a new death notice: Ford Fusion. Chevrolet Impala. Several great driving Cadillacs, including the hardly-new-ye CT6-V. But there is one cause for quiet celebration-the Lincoln Continental’s getting suicide doors again.

1961-1964 editions[/a].' type="text" data-reactid="33">The Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door edition (“suicide” is decidedly off-brand, Lincoln thinks) stretches six inches longer than the standard car and features center-opening doors. It’s debuting as a 2019 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Continental name, but the doors clearly pay tribute to the iconic 1961-1964 editions.

“We always intended the Continental to have center-opening doors,” said Lincoln design director David Woodhouse, recalling the suicide-door Lincoln concept car from way back in 2002.

The Coach Door edition will start life on an assembly line in Flat Rock, Michigan, like other Continentals, then ship up to Boston to Cabot Coach Builders, where it’ll be sliced in half, extended, and get those doors installed. It sounds like a strange arrangement, but it’s not new; Cabot’s been stretching Lincolns since the Town Car days. Lincoln engineered and is stamping the extension sections, with a focus on retaining rigidity and crashworthiness.

View attachment 237961
View photos
Photo credit: Lincoln
Those needs mandated this Continental, like modern Rolls-Royces with center-opening doors, keep its full B-pillars. (The ’61 has whisper-thin pillars that look the business but probably become pikes during side-impact collisions.) Weight increases by about 150 pounds.

The car will only be offered with the Continental’s current top powertrain, a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 making 400 hp. All-wheel drive is also standard. So, expect it to drive about the same as a short-wheelbase Conti–capable and rather quick yet in no way pretending to be a sport sedan.

View attachment 237962
View photos
Photo credit: Lincoln
Indeed, the point of the Continental is and has always been comfort. To that effect, the new doors open ninety degree to a spacious, richly appointed back seat. There’s a new center console for rear passengers, packing a tray table and wireless charging pad. Otherwise, the interior remains unchanged, which is just fine. The Continental’s cabin, much like that of the Navigator and new Aviator, poses a confident, colorful response to the sleek, yet occasionally dour design of European luxury cars.


Of course, the big appeal of suicide doors isn’t just comfort. It’s style. Alas, the doors on the ’19 accentuate what’s inherently wrong with the current car–the hood’s way too short, overhangs are too long, the c-pillar too narrow. Don’t blame Lincoln’s designers, who’ve shown what they’re capable of with the handsome new Aviator. Rather, these flaws are for the most part baked into the car’s Ford Fusion-derived underpinnings. A proper Continental needs classic rear-drive proportions.

View attachment 237963
View photos
Photo credit: Lincoln
Of course, as the impending death of the Cadillac CT6 indicates, a rear-drive American luxo-barge might just be the wrong flavor for 2019. The cross-town rival has superior driving dynamics and novel construction, yet for all that is selling only marginally better. And it was surely more expensive to engineer and build. The Continental, meanwhile, lives to celebrate its 80th birthday. And now it has those sweet doors.

Lincoln well sell only 80 Coach Door editions, and they’ll all be top-of-the-line Black Label models. The volume cap will be lifted for the 2020 model year. Even then, the price assures they’ll be rare–Lincoln will sticker it somewhere north of $100,000.

View attachment 237964
View photos
Photo credit: Eric Perry
The Coach Door will debut at the Detroit auto show in January. It’ll also appear at the Beijing auto show in February. No confirmation yet on whether the car will actually be sold across the Pacific, but given that big sedans are still big in China, it’s hard to imagine it won’t be.

Black&white interior is a good choice, but those red seat belt release buttons stick out negatively.
 

Mike66Chryslers

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They got through the 70s and 80s by virtue of Cadillac sucking really bad. I would argue there was a brief resurgence in the 90s, but it was never followed through and collapsed by 2000.
Perhaps Lincoln should have made this, the 1996 Lincoln Sentinel concept. The concept never got past the pushmobile stage, but it is supposed to be a 4-door with suicide rear doors.

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It looks like Lincoln was cribbing Cadillac's "Art & Science" styling, but that didn't first appear on a cadillac until the 1999 Cadillac Evoq concept, three years later.

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Fast-forwarding almost 20 years, we have the 2017 Cadillac Ciel concept. If Lincoln had stuck with the above styling, this could've been a Lincoln concept instead. It could just as easily be an evolution of the Sentinel than the Evoq. The Ciel is also a 4-door convertible with suicide rear doors. A picture of this next to a 1961 Continental convertible would look pretty neat.

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Snotty

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Suicide doors look great and classy as a four-door car, but are TERRIBLE for four passenger ingress and egress. My family owned a '67 4-door Thunderbird for two years. One of the reasons for my parents owning it for only two years was the difficulty for the four of us to get into the car together. One set of two has to wait for the other set of two to enter - and exit - first. Don't try it in an emergency!
 

Zymurgy

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Talked to my buddy who has a 61, 62 and 63 Continentals. He has been begging Ford forever to bring back the suicide doors. One thing he pointed out that I never thought of was Ford wanted a 4 door convertible,and this was the reason for the suicide doors to begin with.
 

Mike66Chryslers

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Talked to my buddy who has a 61, 62 and 63 Continentals. He has been begging Ford forever to bring back the suicide doors. One thing he pointed out that I never thought of was Ford wanted a 4 door convertible,and this was the reason for the suicide doors to begin with.
And yet they still added a B-pillar anyhow, to mount the door latches on. They could have hung the rear doors from that, as Chrysler did with their 4-door hardtops.
 

ImpJay

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Perhaps Lincoln should have made this, the 1996 Lincoln Sentinel concept. The concept never got past the pushmobile stage, but it is supposed to be a 4-door with suicide rear doors.

View attachment 237976

View attachment 237977

It looks like Lincoln was cribbing Cadillac's "Art & Science" styling, but that didn't first appear on a cadillac until the 1999 Cadillac Evoq concept, three years later.

View attachment 237978

Fast-forwarding almost 20 years, we have the 2017 Cadillac Ciel concept. If Lincoln had stuck with the above styling, this could've been a Lincoln concept instead. It could just as easily be an evolution of the Sentinel than the Evoq. The Ciel is also a 4-door convertible with suicide rear doors. A picture of this next to a 1961 Continental convertible would look pretty neat.

View attachment 237979

That Sentinel reminds me of a full size Pontiac from the 60s.
 

Carmine

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All of those concepts are light years away from reality in terms of what would be required for packaging and safety regulations.

Lincoln (and Cadillac to an extent) became also-rans because "younger" people began filling the ranks in decision-making positions. They paid too much heed to magazine-types who called the cars "fussy" and overdone. Their response was to de-content rather than spending the saved money in other areas. The 1993 Mark VIII looks like a premium T-bird or an enlarged Ford Probe. The '98 Town Car looks like it was co-designed with Rubbermaid. The real "action" was the smash-hit and uber-profitable Naviagtor of the era.

Of course part of the blame also goes to Jimmy Carter's CAFE standards which cut the legs out of what had been the most profitable segment of the domestic market (large passenger cars). Hell, it removed Chrysler entirely from the segment for almost 30 years! No other nation, especially one with its own auto industry, tries to influence consumer choice on the supply-side. Not even the commies!

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ImpJay

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Actually the last generation of Town Car doesn´t look bad when compared to other FOMOCO products of this millennium. For example the Mustang is better described as ``bloated`` instead of ``grown.`` The Town Car even had places for six to sit while the mainstream passenger car models had (and still have) a center console, but I´m not saying that the Chrysler 300 would be a model on a lower level. Opinions are personal, so I´m just telling my thoughts.
 

Mike66Chryslers

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All of those concepts are light years away from reality in terms of what would be required for packaging and safety regulations.
Yes, but that's true of almost all concept cars. As you are well aware, concept cars highlight the design direction that the brand is thinking of taking. Elements seen on the concepts often appear on production cars in the next design cycle.

You were complaining that Lincoln lost its way in the 2000s. I was comparing them to Cadillac. Lincoln actually had the "Art & Science" look before Cadillac came up with it, but their production cars stuck with the dated jellybean look through most of the decade. My point was that if Lincoln had followed through on their concept designs like the Sentinel, they may have taken the styling that Cadillac ultimately adopted and done better through the 2000s.

Of course part of the blame also goes to Jimmy Carter's CAFE standards which cut the legs out of what had been the most profitable segment of the domestic market (large passenger cars). Hell, it removed Chrysler entirely from the segment for almost 30 years!
Adding end-user taxes to skew market forces on the demand side, as they have done with the auto industry in Europe, would be the most direct way to encourage change. Countries can get away with that more easily where the public won't or can't protest. However, raising consumer taxes is usually political suicide in North America, where politicians need voter support to get (re)elected.

Another issue particular to the US is that the federal government relies very little on excise taxes, and I've read that it doesn't have the power to impose ad valorem taxes, such as an annual tax on vehicles over a certain size or engine displacement. This would make implementing an end-user strategy to encourage more efficient vehicle use difficult to implement.

No other nation, especially one with its own auto industry, tries to influence consumer choice on the supply-side. Not even the commies!
I have to disagree. Carbon cap-and-trade systems are another example of manipulating a market from the supply side. A number of countries have implemented pollution cap-and-trade systems. China has experimented with them and is even planning to implement carbon cap-and-trade nationally. I'm sure I could think of other examples where governments intervened to skew market forces on the supply side. Most environmental regulations or import tariffs have that effect.
 
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