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2002 Lincoln Continental Concept

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A Distinctly American Luxury Car

Lincoln's Continental concept was introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show over a year ago, a follow up to a 1960s inspired design theme that showed up at the New York show as the MK 9 two years prior.

Lincoln Design Director Gerry McGovern unveiled Lincoln's new Continental Concept vehicle at the 2002 Los Angeles Auto Show. (Photo: Ford Motor Company)

After nearly two years of research and development Lincoln Mercury President Brian Kelley and Design Director Gerry McGovern showed it to the world. The response from the motoring press was favorable for the most part, with a few dissenters quibbling about its retro styling looking backward when the brand should be spending more time looking forward.

The early '60s Continental was a groundbreaking vehicle, larger than life yet somehow as gracefully styled as any American car of its era. (Photo: Ford Motor Company)

I happen to disagree with the nay Sayers, believing sometimes when things aren't going as well as they could be it's necessary to regroup, and then ponder both successes and mistakes from the past before pressing forward. Lincoln, much in need of refocusing its car business, looks to be doing likewise.

And what a fabulous history the brand has to pull from. The early '60s Continental was a groundbreaking vehicle, larger than life yet somehow as gracefully styled as any American car of its era. Of course, design is subjective and your opinion may differ. Maybe you think the Buick Riviera of the same time period was the American icon car, or perhaps the 1963 Chevy Corvette split window coupe. And how can I forget the venerable Mustang? Still, the Continental was special.