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Grant McCracken: Lincoln Still A Luxury Car Despite Mediocre Design

Grant McCracken: Lincoln Still A Luxury Car Despite Mediocre Design
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Grant McCracken comes to the realization that the design of Lincoln cars is anything but evolutionary.

Caroline Ku
  • 19 august 2011

Living in Connecticut, you begin to master the subtleties of the world of the high-end automobile.

I don’t own one of these magnificent machines. But of necessity I have become their student.

So today, on the way to lunch, I was impressed to see a luxury car I did not recognize.  On closer scrutiny it proved to be a Lincoln. ‘Wow,’ I thought, ‘they finally got something right.’

Cars represent an interesting chapter of the de-signification of America (by which I mean the new sophistication in matters of design that has comes to virtually every category of consumer good).  They went from terrible to something less disagreeable and in some cases to something close to splendid.

Ford led the way here with success stories across their line of automobiles. All but the Lincoln that is. These have remained really horrible. Tone deaf. As if somehow, someone at Ford has taken the Lincoln line captive, perhaps casting it into a deep sleep preventing any participation in the design thinking revolution.

So I was thrilled, finally, to see a Lincoln that didn’t suck.

I asked the owner, ‘Hey, when did this come out?’

He looked at me with surprise and said, ‘This car is 10 years old.’

Republished with kind permission from Grant McCracken’s anthropology and economics blog, Cultureby. He is a trained anthropologist (Ph.D. University of Chicago) and has studied American culture and business for 25 years.

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