CC Capsule: 1978 Lincoln Versailles – The Past Is Prologue

There are several reasons I fought the urge to write about this car.

One is that this is Curbside Classic, and this car isn’t curbside.  Another is that I just posted a picture of my own Lincoln yesterday.  And yet another is that the story of the Versailles is as tired as the car itself, having been told so many times.

But lately I’ve been thinking about badge engineering done well and done poorly, especially in reference to one new car in particular ever since I first read about it:

2012 Buick Verano

Of course it’s obvious the moment you look at a Verano it’s no Versailles, and it sure as hell isn’t a Cimarron.  The Verano for all intents and purposes seems to be a very nice small car, as is the Chevy Cruze on which it is based.

Still, if you’re like me, you cringe a bit when you hear about an upper-crust GM nameplate sticking their badges and a nicer interior on and in the 2nd smallest Chevy sold in America.  I’m so afraid they’ll screw it all up!

Buick might have done okay with the Verano, but Lincoln sure blew this Versailles.  This and the next shot exemplifies badge engineering at its very worst: They didn’t even bother to move the fuel door. It’s what put me over the line and made me go ahead and write this.

I guess I’d just never noticed it until I looked at these photos.  The rest of the car is bad enough, but there’s that fuel door in the trunk hump, the crap-flavored icing on the crap-flavored cake.  Delicious!

Things are far different today than they were in the mid-to-late ’70s.  Cars are light years better today than they were in virtually every measure but nostalgia.  Furthermore, it seems like all of the Big Three have learned some valuable lessons (some more than others) and hopefully won’t make those same mistakes too often or too completely again any time soon.

I guess I’m saying maybe the Buick Verano is today’s 1975 Cadillac Seville, and that isn’t so bad.  The Seville was a nice car for its day, especially compared to a Versailles.  Let’s just hope some lousy new Lincoln MKVersailles doesn’t show up next year as a Verano challenger.

(Tom Klockau brings home the Cohort bacon yet again with these great photos of the ultimate pig. Thanks Tom!