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Lincoln teases suicide doors for upcoming production model

by Justin King

'Center-opening doors' were a distinguishing feature of the mid-1960s Continental.

Lincoln has released a teaser photo hinting at the return of suicide doors for an upcoming production model.

Referred to by the automaker as "center-opening doors," the unique design feature was a distinguishing characteristic of the classic Continental and Ford Thunderbird. As the more common nickname suggests, most automakers began to transition away from rear-hinged doors many decades ago.

Some automakers have since found ways to implement center-opening doors while complying with modern safety regulations. Notable examples include the Toyota FJ Cruiser, BMW i3 and Rolls-Royce Phantom.

"Center-opening doors elevated the Lincoln #Continental of the mid 1960's to the pinnacle of mid-century style, a car driven by the likes of Pablo Picasso," Lincoln wrote on a Facebook post. "#TBT... or is it?"

Which particular production model might get suicide doors remains a mystery. A next-generation Continental seems the most obvious candidate, but recent rumors suggest the sedan may be retired after 2020.

Looking back nearly a decade, Lincoln's C Concept showcased suicide doors on a C-segment car aimed at urban buyers. More recently, the Navigator Concept unveiled in 2016 featured gull-wing doors like the Tesla Model X. The subsequent Navigator redesign dropped the unique doors for production, though it suggests Lincoln sees an advantage in SUVs that lack a B-pillar for easier ingress and egress from the rear seats.

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