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Lincoln Continental and suicide doors: A lot has changed since 1961

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It looks like we’ve hit

peak Lincoln Continental

for the 21st century with the

Coach Door Edition

. At least, 80 people will be enjoying the best that


(and Cabot Coach Builders) can offer. We figured now was a perfect time to look back at the original


with suicide doors, now that there’s a return to form. Make sure to scroll through the barrage of historical Continental photos Lincoln provided to us from its archive above.

Lincoln was aiming to offer a design throwback to the 1961 Continental with its return to suicide doors. Back then, Lincoln wanted a car to compete with


Standard of the World

,” ergo


. The goal was to make a car so enticing that people might want to buy a Lincoln


of a Cadillac as their next luxury-mobile. It never stomped down Cadillac, but the Continental made a strong statement. Sales spiked at 54,755 Continentals in 1966 – Cadillac sold 196,685 cars that same year.

For nine years (1961-1969), Lincoln made the Continental with suicide doors as the only option (barring the two-door coupe introduced in 1966). The car was offered as a four-door convertible or hardtop for most of the suicide-door generation, but the convertible was dropped after 1967. It was the droptop that was most iconic, and the car many of us picture today when thinking about that Continental.

The pillar-less look of the


with the top removed and the doors swung wide exudes class and luxury. This generation of Continental appeared in movies like “

James Bond’s

Goldfinger”, and more recently in “The


.” Celebrities owned them back in the day. Who doesn’t want to exit their large convertible through suicide doors onto the red carpet, right?

Obviously, Lincoln wanted the normal Continental released for model year 2017 to take the world by storm. As

rumors swirl of its untimely death

after 2020, it’s safe to say the new Continental hasn’t exactly done that. What if it had suicide doors to begin with? Would we have been looking at the next

Mercedes beater

? Probably not. But still, we would have been blown away if that’s what Lincoln showed us at the 2016

Detroit Auto Show

. Maybe those in the market would have been too.

The new Continental with suicide doors serves an entirely different purpose than the original. Producing only 80 of them makes sure of that. Maybe a few celebrities will buy one, but this one won’t have the same cultural impact of the old. This 2019 suicide door Conti also has giant B-pillars, making it a bit less elegant with the doors open. We can all blame crash standards for this look, something you’d be grateful for upon getting t-boned.

While we certainly support Lincoln’s decision to give this limited-edition car the go-ahead, suicide doors could be getting a lot more play for the brand. Lincoln just dropped the


in the red-hot utility vehicle segment. Introducing reverse-opening doors to a vehicle in a market that’s on fire right now would be unbelievably cool and memorable. Sure, it would be a potentially expensive risk for Lincoln to produce. But it’s a surefire way to use the brand’s heritage positively and separate from the Germans, who currently dominate that segment.

Related Video:

from Autoblog