In early December, Ford hosted an event that allowed VehicleVoice and AutoPacific staffers to peek into the future for Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles. One of the more intriguing presentations had to do with the future design direction of their Lincoln brand.
Peter Horbury, a Brit credited with launching Volvo’s distinctive styling and now Ford’s North American styling chief, discussed the results of a design analysis of Lincoln’s heritage design cues. After evaluating coveted Lincolns from the past, the Lincoln design language was distilled into seven distinctive cues. The Lincoln MKR Concept Car seen at the 2007 North American Auto Show is the first vehicle to use all seven of the cues. In the future, every new Lincoln will incorporate at least three of these seven cues.
Based on the styling of the MKR, if Ford does indeed launch Lincolns using these design cues, they may have real winners on their hands. Now, can Alan Mulally find the money to bring these vehicles to market as quickly as they are needed?
Cue 7: Grille – Lincoln cars will have a distinctive split grille opening. There are several variations on this theme, each with a different grille texture. But Lincoln designers have evolved a face that at-a-glance will be identifiable as a Lincoln.
Cue 6: Cantrail – OK, we had never heard this term before either (it appears to be a terms used in railway car design), but this is the intersection point between the A-Pillar and the Roof. To convey an impression of strength, Lincolns will have a strong Cantrail.
Cue 5: Bodyside – Taking a cue from the famous Lincolns of the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s, Lincolns will have a clean, uncluttered bodyside. This not the vertical slab sides seen on these earlier Lincolns, but can have some curvature in it.
Cue 4: Beltline – Lincolns of old had relatively straight beltlines sometimes with a slight hop-up over the rear fender. This strong beltline often was topped with a chrome molding. Lincoln’s modern interpretation shows a more muscular haunch than on previous Lincolns.
Cue 3: Chamfer – Adding to the strong beltline is a break-line in the beltline surface aft of the front doors. This contributes to the muscular haunch idea.
Cue 2: C-Pillar – Lincolns have had a wide C-Pillar that projects a very strong, upscale image. This strong C-Pillar can be used in cars, crossovers or traditional SUVs.
Cue 1: Taillamps – A major identifying design cue for Lincoln is a distinctive taillamp design. Usually this has been a wall-to-wall design as seen on the Mark VIII.
More details on Lincoln’s design cues can be seen below the fold.