Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
If Ford Motor Co. truly wants to reinvent Lincoln and reposition it alongside elite luxury competitors, the brand needs an attention-getting flagship.
How does a lightweight, midengine two-seater badged as a Lincoln sound?
Unlike the recent Ford GT that was all about performance, the Lincoln model could instead stand for sophistication and be Ford Motor Co.'s technology leader. A supercharged V-6 could be positioned under the hood, unlike the Ford GT's big V-8.
The idea is proposed in the cover story of Road & Track's June print issue. The story suggests that such a vehicle is being talked about in Dearborn.
Automotive News has reported for more than a year that Lincoln will introduce seven new or revamped vehicles in the coming three years or so. However, a two-seat, midengine car has not been suggested to dealers.
Road & Track says that since Ford and Lincoln vehicles share technology (I'd add some sheet metal, too), there is little if anything that makes Lincoln a premium vehicle. Lincoln could make headlines with advanced technology that isn't offered in Ford-brand vehicles.
Well, one differentiator that will be found in future Lincolns is already locked in place.
During an interview in March at the Geneva motor show, Derrick Kuzak, Ford's global product czar, told me that "there will be technology that will be unique to Lincoln." For example, he noted that Lincolns of the near future could be fitted with electronic PRNDL (park, reverse, neutral, drive, low), which would "provide a truly unique design and interior."
But does a two-seat Lincoln seem like a crazy idea? I don't think so.
Lincoln-Mercury dealers sold the midengine, two-seat De Tomaso Pantera in the 1970s. Audi markets the R8, and Mercedes-Benz has the front-engine SLS AMG. Cadillac once considered the midengine, two-seat Cien.
The Lincoln model line needs a sleek flagship, something that will totally surprise luxury buyers and draw new buyers to the showroom.
A 200-mph Lincoln would certainly be a conversation starter.