Lincoln has unveiled a wild autonomous EV concept car, the Model L 100, that "embraces the tension between exuberant elegance and subtle restraint."
Though the concept is meant to signify the company's future design direction, they dug deep into their archive for inspiration, settling on their century-old design for the 1922 Model L (the brand's first luxury vehicle). I couldn't find a good photo of a 1922 Model L—not a lot of cameras around back then, I guess—but I found this shot of a 1927 Model L:
Pleasingly, the brand is keeping up with the trend of releasing design sketches and renders, so we can see exactly what the designers are going after. Here are the sketches, and we'll explain more in a minute what's going on with that crazy flowering action:
"An interactive, center console chessboard features a jewel-inspired chess piece controller that captures light and depth by redefining the vehicle controls inside the cabin. The controller replaces the traditional steering wheel in this autonomous concept vehicle, making the vehicle experience intuitive and effortless."
"Driver-centric and social seating configurations allow for passenger engagement that can be tailored for the occasion. Shaping the space in ways that allow connection, the front row seats can be flipped forward to create a social setting, in which front passengers can sit across from rear passengers. The transformable environment creates a more accommodating setting, giving the feeling of a true third space."
And the renders:
To explain about the ingress: With no driving for the passengers to do, Lincoln's designers reckon riders can form an emotional connection with the car if it, well, greets you dramatically. Thus what they're calling the "Lincoln Embrace:"
"Arriving with elegance, the glass roof and reverse-hinged doors lift to give a true sense of ceremony and welcome, with the signature Lincoln Embrace. Smart wheel covers help to advance the Embrace even further, utilizing lighting and sensors to communicate motion, battery life and human presence."
"The advanced, intuitive lighting creates an orchestrated symphony of lights both inside and out – augmented to the senses in ways that create a personalized experience for passengers. Welcoming in a more human way, the Model L100 senses the client upon approach and enables the light symphony to follow the client around the vehicle by leveraging an advanced, artificial intelligence system and GPS sensors to curate the experience."
And finally the full-scale model that Lincoln unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance:
"A crystal greyhound hood ornament, originally selected by Edsel Ford in the 1920s, symbolizes grace, elegance and speed and is visible through the transparent hood, capturing depth and illumination."
"This concept allowed us to design a new experience that is unburdened by past limitations and represents an evolution of our Quiet Flight tenets," says Kemal Curic, global design director, Lincoln. "The ultimate expression of our Model L100 design is one that moves effortlessly – a vehicle that appears to be sculpted by the wind, as if friction does not exist."
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