Imagine a charming coupe that takes you to a favorite place, features memories of past trips on elaborate displays and plays music that evokes memories of the destination and the people most important. That’s the concept behind the Lincoln Anniversary Concept, a project conceived by a team of students at the College of Design, Pasadena’s famed Art Center. But there’s a twist: Lincoln has turned the virtual proposal into a real-life show car, presented to the public during Monterey Car Week at the motorsports gathering, Quail.
It is not uncommon for automakers to sponsor student competitions at renowned design schools, but full-size models are rarely made. Project judges, including Ford President Jim Farley and Lincoln’s design chief Kemal Curick, said they were deeply impressed by the design of the anniversary car and the emotional story behind it – a married couple celebrating their anniversary with the help of a futuristic sports car – that they wanted to bring to life. “Watching them on screen, quite frankly, gave me goosebumps,” says Couric.
The Anniversary Concept is one of four winning entries selected by the Lincoln team earlier this summer. For the first time, Lincoln expanded the project to go beyond car design and include students and instructors from illustration, animation and film. “We wanted to open up the curriculum and give visual storytellers an idea of what these futuristic vehicles will look like,” says Jordan Meadows, a global strategic design specialist and an assistant professor at the Art Center for Lincoln. “The car is important, but just as important is the world in which this car lives,” says Meadows, “it really means a lot because not only is the Arts Center a great school for vehicle design, but it’s in Los Angeles. We have the home of the entertainment industry, and we have these storytellers, so we wanted to take advantage of those opportunities.”
Teams were challenged to create a virtual presentation for what the marque wanted in the year 2040, and were given two main sets of criteria: “quiet flying” and “beautiful-gliding-human” as the Lincoln brand’s pillars. Communicating as a “sanctuary” as well as meeting the needs of connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) elements.
Other winning entries include the Lincoln Glider sedan, which envisions a solution for a disabled person to get behind the wheel for the first time in years; The family SUV of the future with features like touchscreen windows and a large moonroof suitable for astronauts; and a six-passenger luxury cruiser that envisions next-level autonomous driving while carrying a group of musicians in an interior that resembles a well-appointed living room.
Projects like Lincoln Anniversary aren’t just for show—they encourage and provide a platform for young designers while providing a valuable pipeline for car companies to discover new talent. “We saw this as an opportunity to give back,” Meadows explains. “Yes, for brand exposure, but also for students to develop a relationship with a manufacturer and grow their careers. And if someone is really talented and passionate, we want them to work for Ford .
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