by Don Sikora
Note: The following story was excerpted from the February 2019 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
The Lincoln Continental seemingly faded away after 2002, but the storied nameplate—so integral to the marque—apparently was too important to lose. It came back in 2017, applied to Lincoln’s largest sedan on a stretched version of the Ford Fusion chassis. It’s fair to say the car’s styling elicited mixed reactions, a pity for a nameplate first used by Lincoln on a car that oozed style. That said, this installment of Future Collectibles focuses on the latest Continentals in Lincoln’s Black Label Program.
Simply put, Black Label is a buying and ownership experience targeting busy people. The program promises a “mobile showroom“ that comes to customers, “concierge” assistance, an “in-dealership studio” with a private “fitting room,” and the option to have the car delivered somewhere other than the dealership building. Black Label buyers also receive car washes, pickup and delivery for service appointments, and a comprehensive four-year, 50,000-mile maintenance package that includes annual vehicle detailing. Avis President’s Club membership and a dining program are other benefits. It is only available through dealerships that choose to meet these service requirements.
Of course, looking at it from a potential collectibility standpoint, none of that will matter to a future owner who won’t be able to enjoy those benefits. But there is more to the car than perks. Black Label Lincolns feature “curated” interior design and color themes, an idea that recalls the memorable Designer Series Lincolns of the Seventies. In 2017 and 2018 the Continental was
offered in three themes: Chalet, Rhapsody, and Thoroughbred. As of this writing, details of the 2019 model weren’t available.
Lincoln said the Chalet theme was meant to play on the contrasts between mountains and the comforts of a ski lodge. The interior was finished in “Alpine” white and dark “Espresso” leather. The white seating surfaces featured inserts perforated in a pattern that recalled the Lincoln emblem. Silverwood trim was found on the steering wheel, dashboard, console, and door panels. Dark Alcantara was used for the headliner and floor-mat accents. The exterior could be sprayed in a choice of six colors.
While some Black Label themes were available on more than one product line, Rhapsody was a Continental exclusive said to be inspired by music and a twilight sky. Here the main color was a rich, dark Rhapsody Blue. The leather seats featured perforated Alcantara inserts, with that faux-suede material also found in the headliner and mats. Aluminum-mesh trim provided further visual interest. Four exterior colors were offered.
Naturally the Thoroughbred theme was inspired by horse racing. This interior was largely finished in black leather with seats sporting Black Label’s signature patterned perforations. Brown accents added contrast on the dash, console, and doors. Alcantara and Chilean Maple wood trim completed the interior ensemble. Thoroughbreds had five exterior color choices.
Black Labels were well-equipped cars. The base engine was a 335-hp twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 that mated with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Lincoln’s 400-horse 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 was optional, and it came with the six-speed and all-wheel drive. Options included AWD for cars with the 2.7 engine, 30-way-adjustable front seats, a rear-seat upgrade package with power recliners and other features, and a technology group that contained a head-up display.
Continental prices started at $45,645 in 2017, but the Black Label tab was a substantially higher $63,075. It rose to $65,415 in 2018, and several online sources have reported $70,045 for 2019.
If rarity counts for anything, the Continental Black Label may have that going for it. In a market rapidly shifting away from sedans, this Lincoln has proven a tough sell. Indeed, Consumer Guide reported that U.S. sales of all Continentals totaled only 628 units in August 2018.
- Consumer Guide found the Black Label Thoroughbred impressively classy with
upscale leather and interior trim
- Easy-to-use control layout
- Available 3.0-liter V-6 impressively potent
- Black Label Lincolns only sold by participating dealers
- Rear-seat headroom especially tight with the optional sunroof
There are already rumors online that the new Continental could be dropped after 2020, and that it likely won’t be replaced. If any of these Continentals are sought after years from now, the Black Label trio should prove most interesting.
2019 Lincoln Continental Black Label