Why the Lincoln Continental Was the Perfect Car for ‘The Matrix’

In 1999, The Matrix shocked audiences. The Wachowski siblings paired a noir aesthetic with heady, Sci-Fi concepts. This combination was unprecedented on the big screen. The filmmakers carefully selected every element from costumes to music to movie cars to pull off this mashup. A 1965 Lincoln Continental fit into the first Matrix movie perfectly.

How The 1965 Lincoln Continental became the ultimate antihero car

This is a Lincoln Continental, similar to The Matrix car | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
1963 Lincoln Continental on display | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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By the 1960s, Lincoln was losing a ton of money. Ford Motor Company decided to consolidate the Lincoln division to a single car. Lincoln chose the upmarket Continental badge and based the new car on an early prototype of the Thunderbird.

To keep the sleek look of the prototype, Lincoln chose simple angles and added rear-hinged rear doors. The resulting 1961 Lincoln Continental won multiple awards. It also is one of the most iconic cars of all time. With the largest V8 in any Ford passenger car, the fourth-generation Continental fused Detroit muscle with timeless class.

Ford advertised many of its cars in the Connery-era James Bond films. While the Bond girls drove Mustangs, the villains rode around in Lincoln Continentals. Since James Bond, this fourth-generation Continental has appeared as a gangster car and villain car countless times. Protagonists who drive fourth-generation Continentals are often anti-heroes.

The Lincoln Continental sets the noir tone in 1999’s ‘The Matrix’

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The Wachowskis decided to make 1999’s The Matrix a Sci-Fi noir. They merged old and new with costumes and sets. When the good guys pick up Neo (Keanu Reeves) on a street corner, they are driving a 1965 Lincoln Continental.

The car matches their aesthetic: leather trench coats and sunglasses at night. The car also lends the scene a timeless feel. Finally, the 1965 Lincoln Continental offers plenty of room for much of the Nebuchadnezzar’s crew to fit inside.

Today, this iconic vehicle is a film star. The Matrix Continental is on display at the Warner Bros. studio. Rumor is that it wears a highly custom paint color. The goal of its paint is to look black through the post-production green lens the Wachowskis applied to the film.

The vehicles of the upcoming ‘Matrix Resurrections’

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The original Matrix trilogy featured several motorcycles. Trinity rode most of them. The upcoming Matrix Resurrections features an all-new bike. In the new film, Trinity pilots a Ducati Scrambler 1100 Pro while Neo rides on the back. But that’s not the only motorcycle in the movie.

During one short clip in the trailer, Neo and Trinity seem to be standing in a warehouse space. The sun is setting behind them and a custom Harley-Davidson chopper is clearly visible behind them. Is this a motorcycle shop or Neo’s garage? We will just have to watch the movie and find out.

While the real world changed, so did The Matrix‘s world. There are no fourth-generation Lincoln Continentals–or any 1960s cars–visible in the Matrix Resurrections trailer. All the classic cars in the new trailer are more Radwood-era than Goodwood-era. These include a 1982 Chevrolet Camaro, 1992 Ford Bronco, and Datsun 240Z.

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