Convertibles have long been synonymous with style, luxury, and freedom. With the top down in a sporty convertible, you can enjoy the fresh air, while showing off your discerning taste in vehicles.
However, modern convertibles often sacrifice space for style. Two-door convertibles are now the market standard. This leaves drivers who are seeking additional leg and passenger room with much to be desired. However, there is good news for drivers who are seeking space, while also being able to put their tops down.
As technological advancements have allowed cars to become safer and more rigid, the automotive industry may be moving towards creating 4-door convertibles, which were once considered to be simply relics of the past.
Looking back: The Lincoln Continental
While two-door convertibles are now the norm, large spacious convertibles, equipped with four full-sized doors, once dominated the roadways. The Lincoln Continental, which made its driving debut in 1961, is an iconic example of one of the original four-door convertible models.
It was part of the original era of full-sized convertible cars. With its long, boxy lines, signature suicide doors, and booming V8 engine, the Lincoln Continental was a triumph of American car manufacturing. Quickly gaining attention from discerning car collectors, the Continental became the daily driver of celebrity icons, including Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and James Brown.
Sadly, four-door convertibles fell out of fashion after the ’70s. While the spacious style of the Continental was beloved by drivers, Lincoln soon realized that its four-door convertible lacked the structural integrity of a smaller, coupe version.
As convertibles shrank down to two doors, fewer and fewer 4-door convertibles were on the road. Modern car manufacturers have refined coupe convertible designs, but have generally shied away from creating models that offer the passenger space and legroom of full-sized sedans.
Modern advancements in car design, including improvements in materials and interior construction, have made the four-door convertible possible once again. Recently, top car manufacturers have started hinting that the industry may be on the verge of releasing convertible versions of popular four-door sedan models. This means we may start to see the first four-door convertibles roll off of production lines since the late 1960s.
Future concept: The Cadillac Ciel concept
Cadillac stands with Lincoln as an icon of classic American car design. Its DeVille convertible joined the ranks of the four-door convertible lineup in 1966. Which was just a few short years after the Continental hit the market. While the DeVille convertible is no longer in production, Cadillac has announced a reimagining of its four-door convertible with the Ciel Concept design.
The Ciel Concept blends classic, low lines and aggressive styling with modern innovations from the Cadillac brand. From the outside, suicide doors and refined accents are designed to evoke the large, boxy convertibles of the 1960s era.
As another nod to classic American luxury convertibles, Cadillac has equipped the interior of its Ciel Concept with handcrafted leather features, olive wood grain paneling, and a host of other premium features. While this car is yet to be mass-produced, it points to exciting developments towards four-door convertibles.
Further speculation: The 2019 Lincoln Continental and beyond
Today, Lincoln is looking to revive the glamour era of vehicles with a fully redesigned and reimagined version of its Continental sedan. When this vehicle hit the market in 2017, Lincoln banked on its association with Hollywood by casting Matthew McConaughey in a series of viral advertisements promoting the brand.
High-end features, such as an available 3.0-liter V6, all-wheel-drive capabilities, and 400 hp, have made the brand new Continental sedan a flagship vehicle for the newly revived Lincoln brand.
While Lincoln fans have been impressed by the car’s impressive horsepower, unique coach doors (which nod to the suicide doors of the past), and refined interior details, they are still waiting on a key model in the lineup: a four-door convertible.
Will Lincoln impress its consumers with a reinvention of the Continental convertible? Classic car enthusiasts are sure to be impressed if Lincoln steps up and reinvents one of its most popular and iconic models.