NO V8 FOR LINCOLN: ANOTHER STEP TOWARD THE ABYSS.
Automotive News is reporting that Ford Motor Company (tm) has cancelled plans to offer a V8 in the 2008 Lincoln MKS sedan (a/k/a the Lincoln MistaKeS)
The cancelled mill was to be a tiny 4.4-liter version of the Yamaha lump from the Volvo XC90 crossover, built at the Lima, Ohio, engine plant. [Apparently there are limits to how many hand-me-downs FoMoCo will snatch from Volvo . . . .] Unnamed sources claim the "Lincoln" V8 was ash-canned as part of "the Way Forward" cost cutting.
But it's just further evidence of Lincoln-Mercury's worsening myopia. Given the widespred speculation that the RWD Town Car is dead when the Wixom, Michigan, plant is shuttered next year, Lincoln will be virtually the only pretender among the "luxury" class to not offer a sedan with more than a "buzzin' half-dozen" cylinders.
More frustrating is that Ford's 4.6 & 5.4 liter Modular V8s each have compromised bore centers so that they will fit into FWD applications. Of course, the only FWD that Ford ever equipped with a Modular V8 was the long-forgotten, Taurus-based Lincoln Continental. Yet even then, FoMoCo showed no willingness to pump up the power to compete with Cadillac or the international luxury makes. Ford's raid on the Volvo parts bin as the "Bold Move" to score a fleet of tepid, low-performance sedans on the cheap has insured that the FWD-compromised Modular will go unused in FWD/AWD sedans for the foreseeable future. Thus the decision to mar the Modular with too-narrow bore centers now looks asinine in the light of history.
But even dumber is FoMoCo's continuing dilution of the storied Lincoln franchise.
Ray Crawford didn't master La Carrera Panamericana with a six! And Edsel Ford's brilliant original Zephyr and Continental each sported twice as many cylinders as any "Way Forward" sedan. The milestone Continental Mark II -- shepherded to production by William Clay Ford, Sr. (Billy's dad) -- didn't try to skimp by on only six puny "holes." In fact, every gasoline-powered Mark-series Continental has featured at least V8-power (excluding an obscure Mark VII option that smoked along on a BMW-sourced turbo diesel) Even Henry M. Leland's first Lincolns in 1920 were V8-powered. The classic Lincoln Ls and Ks that followed all smoothly carried their inherent elegance with precision eight- or twelve- cylinder engines.
Ironic that given Henry Ford's hatred of six-cylinder engines and his market-shattering innovation in low cost V8s that FoMoCo is now banking on the assumption that America's love affair with V8 power is over for good. (Speedzzter wonders if Lincoln's clueless executives visited the Woodward Dream Cruise and/or the events of the Monterey Weekend, both of which featured plenty of V8s) . Are Lincoln's executives cognizant of the competitive disaster which befell Oldsmobile (once America's sales leader) and Buick when they jettisoned all V8 power?
It would be one thing if Lincoln were engaged in some sort of "mutual disarmament." It would still be a horrible idea, but at least the playing field would be somewhat level. Yet no serious Lincoln competitor (excluding Honda's hapless Acura brand -- which never had a V8) seems poised to turn their backs on nearly 100 years of luxury-class tradition.
Thus, a V8-less Lincoln will be hamstrung to compete in the luxury class and probably in the "near luxury" class as well. After all, you can still get a V8 in a Chrysler, Chevrolet or a Buick nowadays . . . .