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To the 2017–20 Lincoln Continental: Rest in peace

Ford confirmed what we’ve assumed for months: The tenth-generation Lincoln Continental ceases production at the end of this year. Except it will be available throughout 2021 in China, because the Chinese still love executive sedans more than we do. As Matthew McConaughey, Lincoln’s brand-reviving pitchman, once said, “Life is a series of commas, not periods.”


Which explains the Continental’s tumultuous existence, as its several rebirths over the decades were a mixed bag of successes and failures.


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As a teenager, I always thought the early '60s Continentals were the coolest. The styling so good that even though the car was entering "classic" status, it still looked good. We now call it retro-modern. When I heard about a new Continental, I'd hoped that my dreams of having a classic-inspired Continental in a modern car would be met.  Impressive features like 30-way power seats and disappearing door handles teased that promise. But the first letdown was when the car was not offered with the suicide doors. Those doors made a statement in the '60s and would have made a similar statement today. Even when they were offered, it was only on what were essentially a limited run of custom cars. Ultimately, I think the Continental's demise is that it wasn't a head-turner. People needed to say "wow!" when they looked at it, as they did in its heyday.

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