Monday, December 28, 2009
1955 Lincoln Futura Concept
The Lincoln Futura was a concept car designed by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company. It was built by Ghia entirely by hand in Italy at a cost of $250,000 and displayed on the auto show circuit in 1955.
Futura's styling was extravagantly impractical even by the standards of the '50s, with a double, clear-plastic canopy top, exaggerated hooded headlight pods, and very large, outward-canted tailfins at both ends of the vehicle. Nevertheless, the Futura had a complete powertrain and was fully operable in contrast to many show cars then and now. Its original color was white, and was one of the first Pearlescent color treatments, using ground pearl to achieve the paint effect. The Futura was powered by a 368 cubic inch Lincoln engine and powertrain; the chassis was that of a Lincoln Mark II.
The Futura was a success as a show car, garnering a great deal of favorable publicity for Ford. It was released as a model kit and a toy, and in a much more subdued form its headlight and tailfin motifs would appear on production Lincolns for 1956 and 1957. It even played a prominent part in a movie, 1959's It Started with a Kiss, starring Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford. For the movie, it was painted red, as the pearlescent finish did not photograph well.
After that, though, the car would logically have been forgotten and perhaps destroyed, as most show cars of that time were. However, it was somehow sold into the hands of George Barris, one of the great auto customizers. As the car was never titled and was therefore uninsurable, it was parked behind Barris' shop where it sat idle for several years and was allowed to deteriorate.
In 1966 Barris was requested to design a theme car for the Batman television series, Barris then contracted stylist Dean Jeffries to build a car for the show. Jeffries worked on the design and initial fabrication for the Batmobile, using a 1959 Cadillac, but when the studio wanted the car faster than he could deliver, he turned it back to George Barris. With the short notice, Barris thought the Futura might work well, and using Jeffries initial car, decided that its unusual winged shape would be an ideal starting point for the Batmobile. Barris hired Bill Cushenberry to do the metal modifications to the car.
Barris went on to build five duplicates for the show circuit, three of which are covered with a felt-like finish. For the filming of the Batman Series, Barris replaced the Lincoln frame and engine with 1966 Ford Galaxie parts.
A very comprehensive Futura page
It Started with a Kiss at Yahoo movies
George Barris interview
Original Batmobile at Barris' own website
Volo Auto Museum Hollywood collection page
Posted by Palmer at 11:22 PM
Forget the Continentals of your past, or the big, long rear-drive concepts of the early '00s. While BMW has proven that rear-wheel-drive c-segment size luxury works, with its 1 Series, Lincoln is turning next to the 2011 Ford Focus' platform for post-global warming luxury. To prepare us for a CAFE-friendly world, Lincoln rolled out the C concept (for c-segment, and so far, without an "MK" prefix) at Detroit.
Looking much like a Renault with Lincoln's "flying wing" '41 Continental retro cue grille, the C is about the length of the '11 Focus, but about 2.75-inches wider for three-abreast seating via two flat benches. Ford designers cite the '39 Lincoln, '56 Continental II and '61 Continental as inspiration. But the a-pillar is curved much like a Renault Espace's, and the c-pillar ends in a Clio-esque bustle trunk. While there's no tumblehome, a deep shoulderline accents the profile.
The stainless steel-like top is actually aluminum with a metalized paint, and the gray interior wood trim is recycled driftwood veneer.
The Lincoln C has more interior space than a '61 Continental, J Mays and Freeman Thomas proudly note. The engine, theoretically - Lincoln didn't open the hood -- is a planned 1.6-liter EcoBoost four with central direct injection, variable valve timing on both cams and an interesting stop/start system to shut down the engine for red lights and stop signs. Restarts use a fraction of the starter energy required for a cold start by injecting and igniting fuel in the cylinder closest to top-dead-center on the compression stroke. The six-speed, twin-clutch "Powershift" transmission uses more efficient dry clutches (Audi DSG's wet clutches require an oil pump). It gains 9-percent better fuel economy than a conventional automatic transmission, Ford says. Including some key weight savings, Ford expects the EcoBoost-powered C would get about 25-percent better fuel economy than a similar car with a 2.0-liter.
Inside, the C is a showcase for Ford's Microsoft Sync of the future, a two-way voice command system featuring avatar Eva, a kind of female HAL with a British accent and access to the Internet via the driver's mobile phone. Ford expects features like a navigation system that supplies the most fuel-efficient route (for when gas next breaches $4/gallon), restaurant reviews and the like will be the foundation for its future Sync systems. Anyway, the owner will be able to configure it to his or her preferences, much like on an Apple iPhone, and update it regularly with a thumb drive.
Other interior features include no b-pillar (which Mays insists is approaching production viability, even if the "suicide door" feature that accompanies it is only for show), a hubless steering wheel rendered in Apple-computer white plastic, thin-seat technology for better interior room (another near-production feature), hand-drawn floral patterns laser-etched into the otherwise stark white leather seats, weight- and height-sensing power head restraints, and stereo speakers in the headliner, which surrounds a Lincoln-symbol glass sunroof.
Thomas says the instrument panel, which includes a "privacy" screen to allow passengers to look at the Internet without distracting the driver, is "not a lot of separate parts, almost like an iPhone." (Domestic and foreign auto designers have evolved from evoking the translucent iMac in their designs at the beginning of the decade to talking about the iPod, and now the iPhone.)
North America design chief Peter Horbury says his favorite feature, though, is a device in the car's grille that recognizes other Lincoln Cs and automatically "winks" the left headlight, Mini Cooper-owner style. Question is, can Lincoln build a c-segment car with so much appeal that owners "wink" or wave at others voluntarily? We may have to ask that question again when Lincoln markets a c-segment car, in as little as two or three years.
Read more: Click Here
Posted by Palmer at 11:17 PM
Friday, December 4, 2009
DEARBORN, Mich., June 3, 2009 – It's an everyday maneuver that can add stress and elevate blood pressure in novice and veteran drivers alike. It's parallel parking.
Active Park Assist, an all-new driver aide technology available in the distinctive new 2010 Lincoln MKT three-row luxury crossover vehicle, will address the "top 10" anxieties in the parallel parking process. They are:
Will I find a parking spot?
Will my vehicle fit?
Am I lined up correctly?
Did I "cut it" properly?
Am I in?
Am I too far from the curb?
Am I sticking out?
Am I too close in front or back?
Do I have to try again?
Will I be embarrassed?
How it Works
At the push of a single button on the Lincoln MKT center console, Active Park Assist initiates the parallel parking process.
Once the system is activated it begins scanning for an appropriate parking spot, eliminating anxiety number one. When a suitable space is detected an audible signal will sound and the cluster-mounted message center will display a space found notification.
Active Park Assist will coach the driver with a prompt when to stop, shift to reverse and let the system take over. Anxiety number two is eliminated as the system will not select an inappropriately sized space.
Anxieties numbers three and four are eliminated as Active Park Assist will calculate the appropriate trajectory, regardless of the distance between the Lincoln MKT and the vehicle parked in the space just ahead. Furthermore, the trajectory determined by the system will properly place the vehicle in the selected space.
Anxieties five through eight are addressed by Active Park Assist with the calculated trajectory, or the "cut it" element of the parallel parking maneuver. All steering is performed by the system, so the driver only needs to brake. Active Park Assist also properly positions the Lincoln MKT relative to the curb.
Anxiety number nine is addressed with coaching messages. If the vehicle is not positioned properly in the space, the system will continue to coach the driver for proper placement. The driver will shift and brake normally, but the system steers the vehicle throughout the maneuver.
Anxiety number ten is addressed by the system as Active Park Assist will park the vehicle swiftly and surely, every time. System accuracy will position the MKT properly, and embarrassment is thankfully avoided.
Active Park Assist is enabled by Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) which is standard on 2010 Ford vehicles equipped with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost™ V-6.
Active Park Assist is optional on the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 equipped Lincoln MKT, on sale at Lincoln dealerships, late this summer.
For more information:
Active Park Assist Fact Sheet
Posted by Palmer at 11:23 PM
The all-new 2010 Lincoln MKT three-row luxury crossover received a "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
MKT offers a high level of crash protection – including state-of-the-art side air bags that are designed to deploy up to 30 percent earlier than traditional air bag systems – while offering a segment-first, forward collision warning system as part of Lincoln's push into new crash-avoidance technologies
MKT offers an array of standard driver-awareness features – including a first-in-class Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA)
Ford Motor Company has more IIHS Top Safety Pick ratings than any other automaker and more U.S. government five-star ratings than any brand
CONTEXT / BACKGROUND:
The all-new 2010 Lincoln MKT three-row crossover – arriving in dealerships now – is raising the bar not only on luxury, but also on safety after earning a "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). To earn this designation, a vehicle must receive a rating of "good" in offset frontal-, side- and rear-impact evaluations and offer electronic stability control. The new MKT offers an array of standard crash-protection, crash-avoidance and driver-awareness features, and further solidifies Ford Motor Company's industry-leading number of Top Safety Picks.
Lincoln is offering luxury crossover customers a fresh new choice with the 2010 Lincoln MKT, a three-row crossover that delivers the optimal blend of distinctive design, interior spaciousness and craftsmanship, fuel economy, and advanced driver aid and safety technologies.
The Lincoln MKT joins the two-row Lincoln MKX midsize premium crossover, the sporty Lincoln MKS luxury sedan launched in 2008 and the midsize Lincoln MKZ in earning coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick ratings, building on Ford Motor Company's safety leadership.
Technology under the skin
The Lincoln MKT features an advanced structural safety system that combines octagonal front frame rails, tunnel rails and support members that are designed to absorb and redirect crash forces away from the passenger compartment.
Lincoln MKT also includes Side Protection And Cabin Enhancement Architecture (SPACE®) to optimize side-impact occupant protection. The SPACE system integrates a hydroformed high-strength steel tube in the floor that runs the width of the vehicle from B-pillar to B-pillar and reinforcements along the rocker panels to help protect passengers in side-impact incidents.
Lincoln MKT also features Ford's enhanced Personal Safety System™, combining multiple technologies to tailor the air bag package and safety belt functions to the individual passenger and the accident circumstances. The system can identify variables, such as severity of the crash, weight of the individual passenger and safety belt usage to adjust air bag deployment force.
Additional Lincoln MKT safety technologies include:
Safety Canopy® is Ford's exclusive side-impact protection system employing side curtain air bags to help protect front and outboard rear passengers in both rollover and side-impact crashes.
Belt-Minder®, a reminder technology for driver and front seat passenger, takes over after the initial federally required safety belt reminder stops chiming to encourage usage of safety belts, the No. 1 life-saving device in automobiles.
SOS Post-Crash Alert System™ unlocks the vehicle doors and activates the horn and emergency flashers in the event air bags are deployed.
MyKey™ allows parents or other concerned owners to restrict certain Lincoln MKT features when in the hands of a MyKey driver. MyKey encourages safety belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings, engages applicable driver aid systems, and sounds speed chimes at preset levels while limiting audio system volume and top vehicle speed.
Lincoln MKT also delivers abundant driver-awareness and security technologies including:
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses radar to detect moving vehicles immediately ahead and modify cruising speed if necessary.
Collision Warning with Brake Support, enabled by ACC, provides the driver with a "heads-up" display that flashes on the windshield when the system senses slower moving traffic ahead. If the driver doesn't respond, the system will pre-charge the brakes to prepare the vehicle for a more aggressive stop to help avoid some of the most common rear-end accidents.
SecuriCode™ Keyless Entry Keypad uses a touch-sensitive surface allowing the driver to enter a five-digit code to unlock the doors.
Adaptive Headlamps with standard High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps enhance nighttime visibility. Sensors monitor Lincoln MKT speed and steering wheel input to engage headlamp movement to increase the driver's field of vision.
Auto High Beams coupled with Adaptive Headlamps enhance nighttime visibility by switching to high intensity when no other vehicles are in range.
Rain-Sensing Wipers use an optical sensing system to gauge precipitation and automatically activate and adjust the wipers.
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with Cross Traffic Alert uses two multiple-beam radars in the rear quarter panels (one per side) for two different – but important – purposes. BLIS checks the defined blind spot zone, which is about 10 feet from the back of the bumper to the outside mirrors. When a vehicle is detected, an amber light, in the outside mirror of whichever side that vehicle is on, lights up. CTA notifies the driver of impending traffic when backing out of a parking spot and warns the driver when a vehicle is detected within three car widths of either side of the vehicle. As with BLIS, the driver is warned with a beep and light in the outside mirror on the side of the traffic.
Rear View Camera System uses the center stack-mounted touch/navigation screen for projection and activates upon reverse gear engagement.
Lincoln SYNC® is an award-winning voice-activated communications and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft that fully integrates Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phones and digital media players into the vehicle. SYNC incorporates 911 Assist™, which can notify a local 911 emergency operator in the event of an air bag deployment when a cell phone is properly paired, turned on and connected to SYNC, and when the vehicle has battery power.
"Earning a Top Safety Pick rating is great news because the Insurance Institute's tests are some of the most demanding conducted outside of our own laboratories, and customers increasingly rely on them when choosing a new vehicle."
Posted by Palmer at 11:20 PM