Last weekend in California, the automotive industry was abuzz with unveilings galore. Monterey Car Week presented its 2021 edition of The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, showing an array of new models, historic styles, and concept cars from top brands around the world.
Special for the presentation was the first sight of a concept car by Lincoln, inspired by design details found within Shinola timepieces. Well-versed in technology and purpose, time and quality, both Detroit-based brands share a respect for craftsmanship and storytelling. So for the new SUV, elements were pulled from Shinola’s heritage in artisanry and translated into pieces outfitting the new car. Products within the watchmaker’s showroom provided ample inspiration for the new edition, including the Canfield Sport watch and a Runwell bike seat.
The result is a pearl-toned white exterior inspired by Shinola’s mother of pearl dials; copper accents dotted throughout the design inspired by the copper-plated structure on the bike seat; and an interior of whisky leather seats with woven textile stripes is sewn inspired by Shinola’s material and colors of its watches and duffle bags.
Lincoln’s design director Kemal Curic spoke with Whitewall about creating this new concept car, how being a watch collector impacted his choices, and why this model will make for a perfect road trip vehicle.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us a bit about the design of the new car?
KEMAL CURIC: The Lincoln Aviator Shinola Concept is a celebration of design and artistry, and the result of a collaboration between two iconic brands with a passion for craftsmanship. Aviator continues to be one of our most popular SUVs and represents the very best of the Lincoln brand. We felt that the sleek and modern design of Aviator tied well with the Shinola brand and their design aesthetic, and we think there will be a great response from Lincoln and Shinola fans alike.
WW: How would you describe the relationship between watchmaking and automobile craftsmanship? What do these two worlds have in common?
KC: Watches, like cars, have a clear connection when it comes to technology and purpose—they both have engines, they both are meticulously crafted for design and accuracy. But what people don’t often consider is that they both transcend their intended purpose and become vessels for meaningful stories, memories, and adventures.
WW: Why was Shinola a company you wanted to collaborate with?
KC: Shinola, like Lincoln, is an iconic Detroit-based brand that has stood the test of time through its modern aesthetic, unique products, and beautiful designs.
WW: What Shinola design details were used as inspiration in the new model?
KC: While many products in the Shinola showroom served as inspiration for this special edition Aviator, Shinola’s iconic leather silhouettes, the Canfield Sport watch, and a Runwell bike seat were key in the creation of this unique concept. A soft white exterior is inspired by Shinola’s iconic mother of pearl stone timepiece dials with hints of blue. Copper accents highlighted throughout the vehicle were inspired by the copper-plated structure that attaches to the Shinola bike seat. Shinola’s signature whisky leather adorns the seats, with crème suede inserts and lighter leather armrests which brighten up the seats and give off a pearl hue, mimicking the effects of the exterior color. A woven textile stripe is sewn into the seats in all three rows, giving off a unique, textural look and inspired by Shinola’s luxurious duffle bags.
WW: What’s your favorite element of the new car?
KC: Not only am I a car designer, but I’m also a watch collector. So, this collaboration really touched a personal place for me. I of course love many of the design nuances throughout this unique vehicle, but my favorite details are in the instrument panel and second-row center console. We incorporated woven metal mesh and copper accents that you see so often in their timepieces, which perfectly match the exterior of the vehicle.
WW: How, or to where, will you be driving the new model?
KC: While this is just a concept vehicle, the Lincoln Aviator is my personal favorite in our lineup. The Aviator Shinola Concept takes Lincoln’s signature design elements and Quiet Flight ethos and gives it a stylish update. As is the story with many around the world, we’ve been focused on reconnecting with family and friends, so I have to imagine this would be my go-to road trip vehicle.