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Friday, January 15, 2010


Appreciation of style is a wholly subjective thing. The popularity of a belief, when it comes to style and design, doesn't make or break the righteousness of that belief. The "style editor" of your local newspaper may be trusted and knowledgeable, but that doesn't necessarily make her right or wrong. Why? Because.... say it with me, the appreciation of style is a wholly subjective thing.

Take Lincoln, Ford Motor Company's American luxury subsidiary, as an example. Now, what I have to say about Lincoln's style is simply my view. I'm not here to say that, "I'm right", or, "They're wrong". I am right, and they are wrong, but that's not the point of this post. Rather, I'll start your mind a'thinkin' in advance of your next Lincoln sighting. Cliff-jumping I may be, but I would wager a healthy sum on the likelihood of a joint agreement between ye and me.

At Detroit's North American International Auto Show earlier this week, Lincoln held a press conference where the 2011 MKX arose from beneath the floor. Or something like that. I had to avert my eyes. The MKX's toothy grille had me visualizing Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber or Ace Ventura or whatever it was with the food coming out his mouth. Anyway, back at the NAIAS, a bunch of auto enthusiasts in the audience began to applaud. Huh? Were they clapping because the MKX arose from beneath (please let it be) or because they admire the design of the revamped MKX? No doubt about it, Lincoln wasn't hiding the toothy grille - the MKX came up face first.

Perhaps we shouldn't be shocked by Lincoln's Bugs Bunny designs anymore. Perhaps that's why the audience applauded; the lack of surprise led them into polite kudos. They all had to know of Lincoln's plans to drop the bottom out of the grille. As you can see in the images scattered through this post, Lincoln used the MKS as the production car to acclimatize consumers to its new look. The face-lifted MKZ went a step further. Then, the Lincoln MKT went way too far and ended up in The Bad 8 Supersize v2.0.

Lincoln's gorgeous Mark X convertible concept of 2004 didn't use this awful front fascia, nor do the awful-in-other-ways Navigator and Town Car. Back in 2002, the Lincoln Continental concept that wowed us all was infinitely more subtle with its facial expressions. 2001's Lincoln MK9 coupe concept wasn't all to my favour but possessed serious presence with its Ford Fusionesque headlamps and a realistic grille.

Indeed, things went downhill with the otherwise wicked Lincoln MKR concept from 2007. Last year, the Lincoln C Concept offered a revolutionary take on the Lincoln theme while justifying the use of the split-wing grille.

And thus, Lincoln's fate was sealed: Ford had sold Lincoln's soul to the maxillofacial surgeon.

From the top: MKT, MKZ, MKS, MKX, Navigator, Town Car

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