Hooniverse Asks: Will Personal Luxury Coupes make a comeback?

Watching the new Grand Tour episode, the Lochdown, last night I instantly fell in love with the Lincoln that Jeremy Clarkson was driving. That Mark V coupe looked just so, so right to me. I instantly imagined myself driving a slightly restomoded version of it cross-country.

I’d keep the modifications light, to ones that increase comfort and reliability. It’s difficult to upgrade on the seats but I would make sure the padding and springs are up to the task of my butt. I’d make sure the heat and A/C are working properly, too. A more modern, fuel-injected, engine would be nice, too. And a rear differential that doesn’t just spin one wheel.

But we live in the time of the SUV and large two-door coupes are pretty much dead. The SUV craze turned into off-road craze, where everyone needs a vehicle with locking differentials and a roof rack that can accommodate a tent. Can people really make a move back to large coupes?

I say yes! I think for many people born between 1970 and 1985-ish, the choice to drive SUVs is one of need more than desire. Does anyone really buy a Honda Pilot because they like it? I don’t think so. Most people I know buy these cars because they make their lives easier. Space and seat quantity yield comfort for those with kids.

But what happens in a decade or so years when these people’s kids go away? They won’t the need an eight passenger tank. They will want something that suits their new life of freedom. It will be something different from what they’ve been driving for the last twenty years. Something more comfortable, with fewer seats.

At the same those 50-60 year olds will want to go back to their lives before they had kids, maybe even to their childhoods, because nostalgia is a bitch. And what will say different more than something new and yet something so old than no one else will but them will recall it? The personal luxury coupe, that’s what.

13 Comments

  1. Pretentious, bloated vehicles that weigh too much, have little useful interior space and get atrocious gas mileage? We already have SUVs to cover that part of the market.

    (Deep down inside, I do like me some Brougham now and then.)

  2. I’ve been tempted by the idea of a Mark V with a 7.3 Godzilla swap, although the boattail Riviera has a much stronger draw.

    That said, if the empty nest Boomers haven’t embraced coupes in significant enough numbers to move the needle, I don’t think any other generation will buck that trend in the future. I don’t like sitting high up, but it seems everyone else does, and I’m not sure four-door coupes (lifted or not) are going away soon either. At best, I could see more manufacturers embracing the SUV four-door coupe thing as the most viable alternative.

  3. See, big SUV’s today are as cushy as big coupes and sedans were way back when. The kind of guy that drove Clarkson’s Lincoln off the lot probably buys a Navigator today.

    The Mark IV/V’s apparently have the rear axle from a dump truck, and look at that hood, you could put a Rolls Royce Merlin under that. It would be hilarious to build something like that, but to quote a sage from teh long ago internets, “ain’t nobody got time for that”.

    1. The way I see dump truck drivers driving here, this is as “sporty” as any luxury coupe has the right to be…seriously, though, you’re kidding, right? Reminds me of the GAZ 21 which had all the internals of a truck, but the looks of a dignified sedan.

      1. Half kidding. They had a 9 3/8″ ring gear full floating rear end in the late 60’s/early 70’s that is on par with what goes into heavy duty pickups these days.

  4. While I fit into the 50-60 year old camp who would love a modern PLC like a T-bird or Mark, since the kids are grown, I seriously doubt they will ever make a comeback.

  5. I never was much for coupes to begin with– much less luxury ones. If such a trend returns, I won’t be a part of it. Station wagons, though? Oh yes.

  6. You could make the case that the Range Rover Evoque combines personal luxury coupe and SUV so it is the wave of the future, albeit a wave I have no desire to surf.

  7. Okay, Boomer; everything you do all of us Gen-Xers are just slavering to have a chance to do the exact same thing, right? Bell Bottoms are gonna make a comeback! And Greed!

    Nope. The 1965 – -’85 generation will want something, but not Your Father’s Oldsmobile. I think you nailed it with the Adventure Buggy (or Adv Motorcycle, in my case). We’ve already seen that two-door anything is going the way of the buggy whip. There’s not much “luxury” you can’t find in an off the lot Kia right now, so it’s really just a matter of price point and which status symbol you prefer.

    1. Born in 1967 here and my toy is a 1960 Thunderbird Convertible and my daily is an E46 coupe. No more luxury than the E46 sedan, but much better looking. Yes, I give up a little utility, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had people in the back seat in the 2.5 years I’ve owned it.

      I love a coupe, but I’m not as committed as my father. I’ve driven 2 and 4 doors, but a 4 door is an old man’s car for him (nevermind that he’s now 80) so he’s almost always had a coupe or two. 1965 Barracuda, 1977 Cutlass Supreme, 1980 Toronado, 1987 LeBaron, 1993 Sebring and now a 5 speed 2009 Accord coupe.

  8. During the heyday of the Personal Luxury Car (I don’t limit things to “coupes” so that the category includes such obvious standouts as 1960’s Thunderbirds with suicide doors or a folding roof), these WERE family cars, as long as there were only two or three kids in the family. When seatbelts and booster seats weren’t the norm, and child safety locks hadn’t been invented, coupes were how you kept your offspring from escaping onto the roadway while you traveled.

    But, no, I don’t really foresee these becoming popular again, even though I would like them to make a comeback. CAFE regulations don’t look favorably on cars that are heavy for the sake of comfort.

  9. I think 2 door coupes will be endangered never mind the personal luxury care making a comeback. Sedans are the new coupes, especially in the EV era, lots of former coupe names are set to be EV 4 doors. Apparently the Alfa GTV, Camaro and even the Opel Manta name will be seen on four doors in future.

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