Lincoln Anniversary Concept is the future looking at the past

Remember the Audi SkySphere concept the German automaker revealed on August 10? The long, low, meaty two-door designed in Malibu, California that previewed elements of Audi’s coming design language? This is not that car. This is the Lincoln Anniversary concept, a long, low, meaty two-door designed at the ArtCenter College of Design — about an hour away from Malibu — as a potential preview of Lincoln design elements. There’s clearly something in the waters of the communal car design trend pool, and we dig it.

A few months ago, Lincoln announced it had partnered with the ArtCenter, inviting students to create four concepts that they’d showcase as integral parts of meaningful stories about people. The transportation students worked with classmates in other disciplines like film and animation to imagine what Lincolns might be like in 2040 and beyond, and create short films to put the concepts and stories in motion inside future worlds. One concept needed to hold two people, one to hold four, another would hold four at elevated ride height, and the largest would be a six-passenger vehicle. All of them had to deliver on Lincoln’s promise of Quiet Flight driving and a theme called C.A.S.E., for connected, autonomous, shared and electric. 

The Glider concept served two people in sedan form, inspired by the Zephyrs and Continentals of yore. As the star of the short “Now You Drive,” a son picks up his wheelchair-bound father in the Glider and puts his father in the driver’s seat, placing the wheelchair in the back. The father takes the wheel and drives for the first time in years, while the autonomously-capable sedan retracts the throttle and brake pedals and manages speed on its own. Designer Jin Kim posted detailed breakdown of his development work on the Glider, as well as the short film. The page is well worth a visit.      

A four-seater SUV concept in the short “Amongst the Stars” features touch-screen windows and an augmented reality panoramic roof. The protagonist gets her first taste of a wide starry night during a family trip to White Sands National Park looking through the glass, the roof aiding her curiosity with displays like highlighting and naming constellations. She would recall that night years later as an astronaut preparing for her first spacewalk. 

The six-passenger concept looks like it drew a line back to the 1936 Duro Metal Products streamlined van body laid atop a Ford truck chassis. In “Ensemble,” this concept autonomously chauffeurs a band to a gig, the six musicians relaxing in their luxurious, mobile green room.

And then there’s the Anniversary concept, which takes its name from the short film it appears in. Although a four-seater, the film puts a couple celebrating their 30th anniversary in the cabin as they wander the city visiting their favorite old haunts. As they do so, the wide-screen digital dashboard projects images from their past. Lincoln liked this concept so much that it built the car and has put it on display during this weekend’s festivities in Monterey at The Quail. If we’re lucky, Lincoln will take it on tour of the auto show circuit, because it deserves to be seen. You can check them all out in the gallery.

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