Lincoln unveiled its vision for future electric vehicles Thursday at Monterey Auto Week — while marking its centennial — with the debut of the Lincoln Model L 100 concept, an autonomous, electric grand tourer that pays homage to the brand’s first luxury car. 1922 model L.
The futuristic and massive concept has an aerodynamic, low-slung body that features a sweeping glass roof that opens and reverse-hinged doors that lift to give a “sense of ceremony” and provide “the Lincoln hug,” said the the company. Taking this “Lincoln hug” theme even further, the Ford luxury brand notes that the wheel covers use lighting and sensors to “communicate motion, battery life and human presence.”
The car’s “cool, outdoor blue” exterior mixes metallic paint and frosted acrylic. This futuristic design incorporates some 1920s Art Deco elements, such as a hood ornament, as well as a Kammback, or K-tail, a rear end that dips down and then abruptly breaks off for improved aerodynamics , to complete the look.
Inside, the cabin is upholstered in recycled velor fabric in amethyst. The configurable cabin is one of the most impressive features, with the front seats facing the rear passengers and an “interactive center console checkerboard” placed where a steering wheel might be expected. The console features a “gem-inspired checkerboard controller that captures light and depth by redefining the car’s in-cabin controls,” according to the company.
Lincoln also said the car would have a “digital floor,” but didn’t elaborate on what that meant other than that it combines interior lighting to “transport passengers to the sanctuary of tomorrow.”
Outlandish concepts like the Lincoln Model L 100 are often presented as design or research exercises that allow the company to explore what its future portfolio might look like. For Lincoln, it’s a process that will likely be used to gauge interest in certain features or designs as it moves forward with plans to fully electrify half of its offerings by 2050.
The Lincoln Model L is also part of an emerging trend among recently revealed concepts that suggests where the entire industry is headed. Several American automakers, a list that includes Lincoln, released concept cars this year that evoke early 20th-century nostalgia.
Chrysler revealed at the New York Auto Show in April a Chrysler Airflow crossover concept named after the original Chrysler Airflow, which chief designer Ralph Gilles called a a “disastrous failure” since the mid-1930s. Chrysler said the concept can travel up to 400 miles on a single charge and comes with quick-charge functionality as well as a long list of technologies, including the automaker’s STLA AutoDrive system, which it is developing with BMW to include automated driving capabilities from level 3.
Then there is Cadillac InnerSpacethe electric, autonomous concept that debuted earlier this year and takes inspiration from the two-passenger cars the brand produced in 1902. The concept features a two-seater double seat, a wraparound digital screen and a built-in ottoman, but no pedals or steering wheel.
The Lincoln Model L 100 similarly takes a trip down memory lane, even as it pushes forward a sleek and forward-looking design.
The main inspiration for the concept was the 1922 Model L, a car designed by Lincoln and Cadillac founder Henry Leland. The Model L spent one year in production before Ford bought the bankrupt company in 1922. The 81-horsepower Model L V8 had a 10-year run before being replaced in 1930 by the Lincoln Model K.
The question is, of course, will Lincoln take a few pieces of this concept or go all in? While the reverse-hinged doors and opening glass roof may get the most comments, the fact that this is a low-slung Grand Tourer deserves more attention.
Today, Lincoln only sells crossovers and SUVs in the United States. Its last sedan, the Continental, was discontinued in the U.S. in 2020. Much of Lincoln’s focus these days is China, which could mean that this Grand Tourer concept — or something like it — will head overseas, while a car, inspired by Lincoln Star concept the crossover, which debuted this spring, has been launched in the US