Edsel Ford’s beautiful 1934 Model 40 Special Speedster appeared on the Lincoln stand with the new MKZ. (Guess which one I preferred). It was created as a styling exercise in 1934 and its whereabouts were unknown from the late 1950s.
The Speedster was thought to be lost forever, but it resurfaced in 1999 and in 2010 was acquired by Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, the nonprofit historic estate in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. Ford House arranged for the Speedster to be restored to its 1940 condition and will welcome it home this year. For more, visit www.fordhouse.org.
2013 Lincoln MKZ launched in New York April 3
So the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is the first step towards a bright new future for the brand.
It’s a ‘new breed of Lincolns for a new generation of Lincoln clients’ according to Marketing boss Jim Farley.
It’s a handsome car, but it’s got work to do. For a start I’ve heard that message before from Geordie design supremo Peter Horbury during his Detroit days (2004-09, before he headed off to help Chinese manufacturer Geely in their bid for world domination).
I was on a shoot in LA once with excellent snapper Alex P and, coming over from the UK, he insisted on hiring a Lincoln Towncar. He loved it – it was huge, plush, gorgeous to drive with every luxury you could imagine apart from a Jacuzzi. But the rest of us laughed and laughed, and kept asking where he’d put the poodle. Usually all you see of Lincoln drivers is a pair of tiny hands, the top of a grey whippy ice-cream hairdo and the ears of a lapdog. Maybe also flashes of reflection from the diamonte dog collar.
The Towncar also looked uncannily like the Mercury Grand Marquis I had back home in Ann Arbor, or a cop car, or a taxi, but with more shiny bits. At least Mercury has gone, so there won’t be a mid-point car muddying the distinction between Ford and Lincoln any more.
And there must be a distance between the brands. The previous MKZ was a nice car, but didn’t offer enough over the excellent Ford Fusion to justify its premium price.
The marketing folk chose to unveil the 2013 MKZ in the Frank Gehry-designed HQ of InterActive in Chelsea, New York to make a point about sculpted metal work and lots of glass. It was designed by the team led by ex-Cadillac man Max Wolff (what a great name for a bad guy – I’m sure he isn’t). It has a long, sloping coupe-style roof, an arrow-straight crease down the side and big blingy wheels. The divided front grille is even closer to the gorgeous 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr, and it offers a massive sunroof.
Europeans will hate it, but who cares what they think?
The engines are a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that delivers 20% better fuel economy compared with the 2012 MKZ. A 3.7-liter V6 produces 37 more horsepower than the V6 it replaces, or there’s a hybrid. Everyone gotta have a hybrid. (Diesel is still regarded with much suspicion in the US). The 2012 MKZ Hybrid is rated at 41mpg in the city and 36mpg in highway driving.
We’re promised a more dynamic drive and lots of sophisticated electronic goodies both to aid safety and keep the occupants entertained, or in touch with work.
Lincoln was the best-selling U.S. luxury brand as recently as 1999. Now it is eighth, battling Europeans such as Audi as well as homegrown competitors such as Cadillac.
For the sake of a grand old brand, let’s hope it appeals to the younger buyers Lincoln wants.
Great story in Guardian Money this Saturday showing how persistence and using the UK motor industry's own arbitration services can help you get satisfaction in a dispute with your dealer or manufacturer. Kenneth Luty (83) was awarded £5,263 from Citroen after a two-year battle.
This blog is by a woman driver, for everyone to read