- Barry (the Carguy) Thomas
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Sept 19: A belated, but fond, farewell
Who would have thought? I mean, everything has to come to an end, doesn't it? Nothing can go on forever, can it (sure, tell Jeep owners that)? But production has finally stopped (actually a couple of years back) for the most familiar of all airport limos. Yes, the ubiquitous Lincoln Town Car has reached the end of its long life. Limo drivers the world over paused for a moment's silence and dabbed the wet spots below each eye. Ford probably could have continued building this car for the livery services, and sold several thousand money making cars, year after year, after all, the tooling must have been paid off years ago. About the only redesign this model had was to make the trunk bigger after numerous complaints from the limo services. But everything has its time, I guess, so the production line closed, the lights were turned out and everyone went home.
These were amazing cars, tough as nails, or whatever metaphor you'd like to use. I saw one the other day with about 300k kms on it, so, obviously, it hadn't been in service very long. Seriously, I've ridden in Town Cars which were approaching 800,000 kms and hadn't had an engine or transmission rebuild! Try that with just about any other car. Unlikely that would happen or will ever happen again. There was a lot to be said for these tough, old technology, rear wheel drive behemoths. Rode like mush, but lasted forever.
Go to any major airport in the recent past and you'll have seen parking lots full of these black Lincolns, just waiting for their turn at the arrivals exits. Always very clean, with also clean and extremely courteous drivers. Nothing like the city taxis, which are a whole other breed. Since these TC's last so long, there are still many on the road and will be for some time to come.
And when I say any major airport, that is exactly what I mean, and not just in North America. Check out this slightly stretched one in Prague........
........and I've seen them in Moscow, Rome, London and numerous other venues. Like spotting an old friend, "Hey, good to see you, but what are you doing here?".
Ok, so the obvious question now is, what will the livery services use to replace their much loved Town Cars? That's a great question and I was very curious to see what they would fall back on. Turns out that this is the $64 question. What vehicle could possibly provide the longevity that the TC's were and are famous for?
Lincoln would like you to turn to their ugly MKT........
.......and they now offer a version specifically made for the livery services. I spoke to a driver of one and he really liked the luggage room out back. When I asked about its life span, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "Who knows?". Of course, he was bang on, who does know? Me? I can't see how they'd possibly be as strong.
Right now in Toronto, there are a variety of vehicles trying out for the role of the arrivals area queen. Some that I've seen are the Chrysler 300 (good choice), Lexus ES350 (unusual choice), Lincoln MKS, Ford Expedition and Chevy Suburban or Tahoe.
Personally, I think that the Chevy cousins are the best bets since, I believe, that they'll also have the long life span of the Town Cars and they are actually pretty good on gas, all things considered. Their downside? Maybe they are a bit pricey, but if Chevy wants them in the airport fleets, then their pricing will be made to fit. Hey, they use them as police cars (trucks?) and those versions aren't exactly cheap, but almost every force has a few.
So, now we watch the beloved Town Car drive off into the sunset after giving years and years of dependable service.........
.......like an old soldier whose time to rest has finally come. You did well, old girl!
Until next time.......