Sadly, attending the 2022 Monterey Car Week & Concours wasn’t in our cards this year, but we did continue to keep tabs from afar about the bevy of announcements made ahead and at the annual automotive event. One of the most notable and surprising of automotive reveals was the debut of the Lincoln Model L100 Concept, a future-gazing electric autonomous vehicle intending to plant the seeds of design and technology as the brand celebrates its hundredth year.
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As a celebratory exercise in honor of Lincoln’s centennial and an homage to Lincoln’s first luxury vehicle the 1922 Model L, the Lincoln Model L100 Concept appeared in front of attendees of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with an enormous expression of Lincoln’s Quiet Flight design ethos.
With a low, sleek tapered aerodynamic design, the L100 concept leans into a Kammback-based design, following an enormously generous sweeping roofline toward the rear.
That gesture sweeps into an abrupt angled vertical tail-end. Traditionally the Kammback was conceived to minimize aerodynamic drag – which it does here too – but the design also seems heavily inspired by other historical streamlined predecessors such as the ahead-of-its-time, 1936 Lincoln-Zephyr, a vehicle that took that teardrop silhouette to memorable extremes.
“Concept vehicles allow us to reimagine and illustrate how new experiences can come to life with the help of advanced technologies and allow our designers more creative freedom than ever before,” said Anthony Lo, chief design officer, Ford Motor Company. “With the Model L100, we were able to push the boundaries in ways that evolve our Quiet Flight brand DNA and change the way we think about Lincoln designs of tomorrow.”
A crystal greyhound hood ornament, originally selected by Edsel Ford in the 1920s, graces the front and is visible through the transparent hood, accentuating the depth and illumination, a detail mirrored within the interior’s jewel-inspired chess piece controller gracing the center console (below).
Lincoln sees Model L100 as a defining exploration of the brand’s future vision of personal mobility, a future that abandons the steering wheel for a center console jewel-inspired chess piece controller. And why not? When autonomous vehicles transition from rule rather than the exception, a generation of drivers who’ve grown up controlling a wide variety of devices using a controller will likely have no problems adopting this new automotive paradigm.
The grand tourer design is enveloped by an expansive glass roof that lifts in synchronicity with the vehicle’s reverse-hinged doors. The motion is complemented by illuminated entry or exit using the brand’s signature Lincoln Embrace system, imbuing the concept with more than a bit of theatrics. That drama even extends down to the vehicle’s wheels, with smart wheel covers integrated with lighting and sensors to “communicate motion, battery life, and human presence.”
With a hundred year history, Lincoln is looking to appeal to a new generation by emphasizing technology, comfort, convenience, and efficiency (alongside more than a dash of eye-catching styling), and there’s plenty here to pique interest in regards to the future of personal mobility. Whether the heritage brand is poised to infuse enough of the low-slung grand tourer’s grandiose expression of aerodynamics in any meaningful way is yet to be seen. But even if half of these styling and technological features make it into future models in the near future, it would bode well for Lincoln’s next one hundred years.