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Some auto reporters are on a mission: questing for a rock-‘em, sock-‘em, robotically precise driving experience that bashes your kidneys as if they were a Florida election official on The O’Reilly Factor.
Now, in the face of blade-sharp machinery like a Miata, MR2 Spyder, or XKR, I’m all about that, too. But as my commutes to the airport get more frequent, and the drudgery of sitting in traffic only to sit on the runway hits home ("We’re number 24 for takeoff…"), I find myself strangely attracted to the likes of the Lincoln Town Car — specifically, the stretched Cartier L edition they extruded last model year.
If you’re looking for companionship, human or machine, you’ll have to hit redial for that last 900 number you punched "by mistake." The whole experience of driving one of these leviathan, happily retrograde machines is one of insularity. The engine emits no more than a distant hum, the steering maintains a sense of professional detachment, and rear-seat passengers, farther away than ever, can be seen in the rear view mirror but rarely heard. (The obverse is also true, for those of us lucky enough to be chauffered everywhere, like my 10-year-old niece, whose volume of social appointments exceeds my own by a factor of four.)
All of this makes the Town Car the ideal open-highway car — an executive perk to shuttle the elite back and forth, even up and down the East Coast if need be. At the same time it’s hardly ideal for around-town driving. The fenders are way, way out there, making parking a Leonard Nimoy mystery at every turn, and spaces wide enough to accommodate the Townie are rare, even in the big-box shopping centers and early-bird eateries where you usually find these creatures and their aging pilots.