Detroit is back. The Lincoln Motor Company associated with Shinola to showcase a unique concept car heading for the lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 15. The exclusive Aviator SUV is outfitted in colors and materials inspired by watches, bags and bikes made by Shinola in downtown Motown.
“The craftsmanship really spoke to us as a design team,” says Kemal Curic, Lincoln Design Manager. “The attention to detail and the things that are hand finished are the things that are really shared between the two brands.”
Originally known for its quartz watches, Shinola has grown into a lifestyle brand that now includes leather bags and accessories, high-end power strips, bicycles and even a hotel, with its products assembled in a factory in the heart of the city. And although Lincoln’s main design studio is 15 minutes southwest of Dearborn, Michigan, parent company Ford is building a sprawling 30-acre campus in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, including a ambitious renovation of the long-abandoned Michigan train station. In their own way, each company has grown to be modern symbols of American industrialism and down-to-earth luxury.
On the Aviator concept, a pearly white exterior evokes the mother-of-pearl dial of Shinola watches. Chrome accents have been replaced in most areas with a soft shade of copper, which Ruthie Underwood, Vice President of Creative Design at Shinola says, was inspired by the clean, utilitarian aesthetic of their rivets and bicycle seats. We see it on the wheels, the sill, the roof bars, the grille and the hubcaps around the headlights.
The unique Aviator features a striking two-tone interior in cognac-colored chrome-tanned leather with cream-colored inserts and blue suede piping, all supplied by Shinola. At the center of each seat is a ribbon inspired by the stripe pattern that can be found on the awnings of Shinola’s hotels, as well as watch and bag straps. A multi-faceted glossy metallic trim spans the full width of the instrument panel and surrounds the center console controls. It is complemented by copper trim on the dashboard, center console and speaker grilles. The combination of textures and metallic colors can be difficult to achieve, but Lincoln designers have managed to elevate an already stylish interior without making it appear overdone. “We didn’t want to create something flashy, we wanted to do it with taste,” says Curic.
Curic and his team will be watching his Pebble Beach debut closely. While there are currently no plans to produce the Shinola version of the Lincoln Aviator, Curic tells us, “It’s a way to test the waters and see the reactions and go from there. We are certainly open to future collaborations and demonstrate that things can be done in a non-traditional, non-automotive way. “