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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Dec 17, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

The 1968 Lincoln Continental Mark III

Lincoln has been going through a bit of an identity crisis as of late. Sales—compared to cross-town rival Cadillac—have not been good. The split waterfall grille that first appeared on the MKS in 2008, and then spread to the rest of the line, is neither particularly attractive nor particularly Lincoln-esque. The folks at Lincoln say the split waterfall grille harkens back to some Lincoln models from the 1940s. In reality, no one remembers those Lincolns. The most memorable Lincoln is the 1961-1965 Continental, with its clean, slab sides and ‘suicide’ (rear-hinged) doors.

The iconic 1961 Lincoln Continental

In recent times, the front of the crossover MKX came closest to looking like the iconic Lincoln of the 1960s, with its horizontal grille theme, which emulated the 1964 Continental. Alas, that was short lived when it too succumbed to the split waterfall look for model year 2011.

The 2013 Lincoln with its latest version of the split waterfall grille

When Brad Furman directed the film adaptation of Michael Connelly’s novel, “The Lincoln Lawyer,” he didn’t choose any of the current crop of Lincolns with the split waterfall grille. On the contrary, he reached back three generations of the Lincoln Town Car—the closest modern-day Lincoln with the look of the 1960s Continental.

The first-generation Town Car was chosen as the vehicle for "The Lincoln Lawyer"

Seven years ago, the Continental look, with its slab sides and squared-off fenders, re-surfaced to great popularity in the form of the Chrysler 300. Today, the Chrysler 300 remains the closest thing to the 1960s Continental from a domestic manufacturer. But there is car that captures the spirit of the Continental even more. It’s not even domestic. The car is the Rolls Royce Ghost. The car so closely resembles the Lincoln Continental of the 1960s—it even has the suicide doors. If time travelers from that era were to descend upon today’s world, they would think that the Ghost was a Lincoln. On the other hand, no time traveler from the 1960s would recognize any of today’s Lincolns as a Lincoln—and that is the cold, hard reality of today’s designs from the company that popularized the slogan, “what a luxury car should be.”

The Rolls Royce Ghost (John Grafman)

This is the spiritual successor of the Lincoln Continental (John Grafman)

Word to the folks at Lincoln: Let the waterfall fall. Give us a new Lincoln that the Lincoln Lawyer would want to be driven in. Give us a Lincoln that that looks like a Lincoln. Take back the icon that Rolls Royce stole from you. It’s what a Lincoln car should be. - Roy Nakano

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