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1996 Lincoln Sentinel

The Lincoln Sentinel, a new full-size, four-door, rear-wheel-drive luxury concept car blends classic Lincoln styling themes with the Ford-inspired 'New Edge' approach to automotive design, made its world debut at the 1996 North American International Auto Show.

Lincoln has a long heritage of design elegance. From the first Continental to the Mark series and today's Town Car, Lincoln has been identified as a symbol of refined and graceful design throughout its history. The new Lincoln Sentinel luxury concept car retains the most recognizable elements of traditional Lincoln exterior styling, such as classic proportions, a crisp silhouette, simple, unadorned bodysides, and high, linear beltlines.

But it also fuses these design qualities with the 'New Edge' design idea of creating a series of shapes that produce an exterior with sharper corners and lines. The result is a fresh interpretation of established Lincoln design traits.

First seen on the Ford GT90 concept sports car, 'New Edge' is the name Ford gave to its latest experimental approach to design. Though its origins can be traced back over many years, 'New Edge' design is now gaining increasing interest among auto designers who perceive it as a possible alternative to the more rounded and fluid design shapes that have come to prominence over the past decade.

'Ford has always been at the vanguard of new directions in automotive design,' said Tom Scott, director, Advanced Design. 'We set the trend in the more rounded exterior shapes of the past ten years when Ford first introduced the original Taurus, so it's only right that we should now be setting the pace in this new design philosophy which we have called 'New Edge' design.'

However, the 'New Edge' design is still in its early stages, and at this time, it is purely experimental. It does not necessarily follow that cars and trucks will inevitably follow this new approach to design in the years ahead. But what the Lincoln Sentinel does show is that 'New Edge' can be applied to other kinds of concept vehicles and not just advanced sports cars, such as the GT90,' commented Scott.

Lincoln traditionalists will recognize set in the Sentinel's metallic black exterior a new interpretation of a 1940s-style Continental grille with its fine bar texture. The clean side profile, blade fenders, and high beltline with minimal chrome trim are typical Lincoln design themes reminiscent of early 1960s Lincolns and are still clearly visible in today's Town Car.

Flush glass all round and compact, vertically-stacked projector headlamps add to the uncluttered look of the exterior. The flush to the body, massive, 20-inch wheels, placed to ensure a minimum of body overhang both front and rear, add to the Sentinel's clean lines. The car's overall length of 218 inches is just one inch shorter than a 1996 Lincoln Town Car.

'The Lincoln Sentinel is an exploratory look at keeping Lincoln's traditional styling themes fresh for future generations,' said Scott. 'But the Sentinel is also helping us to identify important issues in auto design, such as whether a 'New Edge' approach has any other benefits other than aesthetic. Improved road holding and interior space are just two areas which may benefit from this kind of design approach in the future.'

Source: Ford Motor Company