King of Egress: Lincoln Stretches 2019 Continental, Swaps Rear Doors for a Limited Few

It’s true. You’ll soon be able to slap down a pile of hard-earned cash for a 2019 Lincoln Continental with suicide coach-style doors. Well, 80 of you will.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Continental nameplate, Lincoln Motor Company went the extra mile for heritage devotees, revealing a limited-edition model that dispenses with front-hinged rear doors and adds half a foot of wheelbase to pull it off. You’ve never had a better look at the Continental’s B-pillar.

Image: Continental

Arriving next summer, the Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition will be one of the rarest sights on American roads. That’s because Lincoln’s limiting production to just 80 examples.

Crafting a suicide-door variant out of the stock Continental was a non-starter, given the model’s rear door cut. Length was needed. Still, even with an additional six inches of stretch, it’s hard not to notice how the rear doors swing away at a different angle than the fronts. It’s also hard to figure exactly how much of a financial dent Ford took in creating this low-production version.

Image: Lincoln

“This Lincoln Continental echoes a design that captured the hearts of car enthusiasts around the world,” said Lincoln President Joy Falotico, referring to the iconic 1961-1969 Contis. “It’s something bespoke only Lincoln can offer in a thoroughly modern way.”

Heritage and glamour, all at once. However, the Conti’s door handle placement isn’t immediately prominent, given their placement in the chunky beltline tim. It’s too bad Lincoln couldn’t reinforce the car enough to slim down that B-pillar — it’s quite prominent, but style often takes a backseat to safety considerations.

Image: Lincoln

Rear-seat legroom, as one might imagine, is best in class. For these high-zoot Black Label units, Lincoln turned the console into a full-length affair, with a stowable tray table providing all the surface needed for fancy snacks or for signing tremendous deals with your client. Beneath the hood resides the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 found in other top-end Continentals, and Perfect Position 30-way seats come standard. They ought to, as these trick-doored Contis boast an MSRP in excess of $100,000, Car and Driver reports.

In discussing the coach-door Continental, Lincoln describes the brand as riding a “new wave of product momentum,” which is certainly true. That last word, however,  does not apply to the Continental’s sales. As we’ve discussed before, Continental sales have trended downward almost since the beginning; its best sales month to date was December 2016 — the model’s fourth month on the market.

While adding a stretched, limited-run version with fancy doors should generate appealing press and lend a thrill to heritage buffs, it’s doubtful we’ll see renewed interest in this endangered model. Americans have already spoken. In the U.S., Continental sales through the end of November are down 29.7 percent from the same period last year.

Buried in the model’s write-up is a mention that a “limited number of additional Continental Coach Door Edition sedans will be available as well for the 2020 model year.” Perhaps those special door sill plates bearing the 2019 car’s production number won’t prove quite so special?

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC

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