DETROIT – Michael Oakley is one of only 80 people in America who scored a $110,000 Lincoln Continental within 48 hours of its debut.
“You see a particular car driving down the street or at the Detroit auto show and you say, ‘I’ve got to have one of those,’ ” explained Oakley, 61, of Clinton Township, Mich.
He waited years for an opportunity to buy the iconic vehicle that made history for its vintage elegance and rare, center-opening “suicide doors.”
“My wife is never as excited as I am about cars, but she’s certainly a good sport. She has a Jeep Grand Cherokee,” said Oakley, a second-generation auto supplier, who noted he has been married 37 years.
So, the limited-edition Lincoln will join his 2015 Chevrolet Corvette and 1958 Chevy Bel Air.
“Melding the past with the present or future, to me, is a cool idea,” Oakley said.
He was among hundreds – mostly from New York, Los Angeles and Miami – who swamped Lincoln dealerships with requests as soon as news broke on Dec. 17 of a handcrafted 80th Anniversary 2019 Continental Coach Door Edition.
“Our first two calls came from New York and the West Coast, each wanted to be first,” said Robert Parker, director of marketing at Lincoln. “One customer was one of these people who could have whatever they wanted, and he wanted to match the Lincoln with his aircraft.”
The Continental is numbered with special plates, and some buyers want to match a lucky number or a birthday. Car collectors have called, along with high-profile individuals who want to make a glamorous entrance.
“One guy from Tulsa has become a pen pal” waiting for this vehicle to one day happen, Parker said. “I even got a Christmas card from him this year. Over Thanksgiving, he was texting me because the rumors were heating up. I’ve never even met this person. I don’t know how he got in contact with me.”
Resonance with the under-40 crowd has been particularly surprising, he said. “December 2019 was the brand’s best month in two years.”
And the future?
“We will do a limited 2020 version,” Parker said. “We’re hearing not only from here in the U.S., but other markets that are interested, too, be it Dubai or Shanghai.”
Customers will be notified in February and start receiving their sedans this summer.
The hot seller is on display this week at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit. Crowds gather, so it can be hard to see the car, said Carrie Way, owner of Crest Lincoln in Sterling Heights, Mich., who sold Oakley his vehicle.
“We’re holding true to who we are,” she said, “and who we plan to be.”
Lincoln sought to honor Edsel Ford with a custom luxury vehicle in 1939.
Years later, the 1961 Lincoln Continental introduced America to a new design that transformed a failing luxury brand into a hot sedan carrying world leaders, industrial barons and the Hollywood elite.
Initially, Lincoln said the latest incarnation would top $100,000 and more recently confirmed it would be “priced slightly north of $110,000.”
The 2019 limited-edition model is the most expensive Lincoln sold to date. A Lincoln Navigator Black Label SUV starts at $96,395 and can top $103,635 with perks, said Lincoln spokeswoman Anika Salceda-Wycoco. That vehicle has had a waiting list since its release, and owners tout the massage seats, leather-wrapped heated steering wheel and genuine wood trim.
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