HomeEventsDetroit-based watch company Shinola inspires Lincoln concept vehicle

Detroit-based watch company Shinola inspires Lincoln concept vehicle

Lincoln Aviator Shinola SUV concept to be displayed at Pebble Beach


Lincoln said the sparks for its newest concept vehicle began with a watch, a duffle bag and a bicycle seat. 

“After a visit to Shinola’s flagship showroom in Detroit, Lincoln designers set out to explore the brand’s popular lifestyle products on display, then found ways to incorporate some very compelling design elements into a unique theme,” the luxury automaker reports in a news release. “The result is an Aviator concept that blends the design principles of Lincoln with the modern aesthetic of Shinola.

Lincoln, Detroit-based watch company Shinola inspires Lincoln concept vehicle, ClassicCars.com Journal

Shinola opened up their showroom to us as a playground – allowing us to explore how their brand’s lifestyle ethos could be woven into a new theme for one of our vehicles,” Lincoln quoted its design director, Kemal Curic. “Our designers were handed a rare gift, and they made the most of it. The fresh insights our team gained studying popular design motifs make this new Aviator concept a true celebration of craftsmanship.”

The result is the Lincoln Aviator Shinola SUV concept, which was inspired, said Lincoln, “by Shinola’s iconic leather silhouettes, Canfield Sport watch and Runwell bicycle.

The vehicle will be displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Lincoln, Detroit-based watch company Shinola inspires Lincoln concept vehicle, ClassicCars.com Journal

Lincoln said its collaboration with the Detroit-based watch and leather products company “was an opportunity for Lincoln to test and learn, while exploring the use of different colors and new materials in designing vehicles.”

“After our initial meeting with the Lincoln team, it was clear we shared the same passion for well-designed, beautifully crafted products,” Shinola chief executive Shannon Washburn is quoted. “Designers from both brands came together to create an ultra-luxe vehicle that still embodies Shinola’s aesthetic of approachable luxury with thoughtful details. You can see this in the touches of copper inspired by our bike seats and the brand strip incorporated into the leather seats.”

According to Lincoln, the concept SUV’s soft-white exterior color was inspired by Shinola’s mother of pearl stone watch dials, with hints of blue. 

“Copper accents, inspired by the copper-plated structure that attaches to a Shinola Runwell bike seat, give off a rose-gold hue, for an exterior that highlights progressive utility,” the automaker added.

“The soft touch look and luxurious smell of Shinola whiskey leather appeal to the most refined of senses. The seats feature crème suede that beautifully matches the inserts, brightening up the cabin and giving off a pearl hue that mimics the unique exterior color.

“Taking cues from the Shinola brand stripe, a woven textile sewn into the seats in all three rows makes for a unique, textural look. Liam Butler, Lincoln color and material designer, says he took each stitch of the original stripe then scaled to proportion, adding a blue tone that acknowledges Lincoln’s many signature blues.”

“The goal is to impress occupants with our very own expression of craftsmanship, showcasing our meticulous attention to detail,” said Butler. “This stripe is unlike anything I’ve ever seen sewn into a vehicle, so we wanted to make sure it was done with care.”

According to Lincoln, “The instrument panel highlights the importance of texture. Woven metal mesh, which also appears on the second-row console, imparts industrial luxury with the same copper accents as the exterior – a direct representation of a Shinola watch band. Every surface is wrapped with soft materials that make the cabin warm and inviting.”

“It’s all about warm, human and personally crafted experiences, all true to Lincoln DNA, and knowing and feeling that quality of a leather watch strap on your wrist,” said Butler. “That’s what we wanted to re-create here, in everything from the stitching to the copper accents to the various textures – all tying back to the idea of Quiet Flight.”

Shinola was founded in 2011 in the historic Argonaut Building and has grown to employ more than 500 people. It has also opened the 129-room Shinola Hotel on Woodward Avenue.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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