Lincoln’s triumphs and woes are well-trodden fare for argument among the vehicular-minded, and that is outside the scope of this writing. For those who haven’t heard, the new Continental is based on Fusion architecture, but offers a 400-horsepower twin-turbo engine, all-wheel drive, and an extended wheelbase for a more balanced silhouette. Whether Lincoln has turned the corner or not remains to be seen, but for now, allow me to direct your attention to the belt line and door handles.
The production Continental’s door handles are attached all the way up, right below the side windows. This feature reminds me of a couple of vehicles, both old.
The first is the Volvo Amazon, which is a car I’ve been drooling over for some time now. The car pictured above recently sold on eBay for $4500, which seems like a deal for a rust free runner. Notice how the high belt line and door handles seem to have inspired the Continental. Ford DID once own Volvo; did they take any inspiration from the old 122?
The other car that immediately comes to mind is this ’51 Packard (compliments of a Jason Shafer article right here), which was nicknamed “highpockets” by some designers. This Packard is certainly a take-it-or-leave-it proposition among Packard fans, but one can’t help noticing the high bodysides and door handles positioned right below the glass. Is Lincoln channeling an idea from an old competitor?
Finally, it’s hard not to notice the banal sameness that runs rampant in the auto industry today (although one could argue that all 1938 models looked about the same, too). This is the new Cadillac CT6. It’s a nice enough looking car, with a more conventional door handle layout than the Continental’s, but the layman (or woman) would certainly have a hard time telling it apart from a CTS (or even, perhaps, a Continental, for that matter). Compare the C-Pillar to that of the Continental.
Admittedly, the CT6 does look more imposing than its fellow Cadillacs out on the road, but one can argue that it’s not much of a great leap forward. Whether Fusions that look like Sonatas that look like Malibus that look like Camrys is a result of a “me-too” mentality or safety regulations or aerodynamics is beyond me, but I certainly understand why guys of a certain generation say “Time was when I could tell the difference between a Ford and a Chevy from a mile away. Now all cars look the same.”
Digressions aside, what do you think of the new Continental? Derivative? Smacking of plagiarism? Or is it just right? How about the CT6? Did Cadillac go far enough with its new “top of the line?”