Page 1 of 2
DaBryan’s 2013 Lincoln MKT 120-in. stretch limousine with the exclusive trunk option reflects the coachbuilder’s use of computer-aided design to modify a hatchback rear section into a more traditional sedan-style limousine.
LIMA, Ohio — DaBryan Coach Builders breaks a barrier in limousine manufacturing this year, using advanced computer aided design to engineer a modified rear section for a sedan-style Lincoln MKT Town Car limousine.
These next generation converted stretches mark several milestones for the chauffeured transportation industry; DaBryan becomes the first QVM limousine manufacturer to offer the MKT Town Car stretch in both modified sedan and standard crossover configurations — a tacit admission a strong market still exists among operators for sedan-style stretch limousines following the retirement of the Lincoln Town Car Executive L sedan.
And the way DaBryan brought about this converted stretch limousine demonstrates how technology is radically refining and economizing the ability of manufacturers to offer more varied but seamless vehicle designs that retain the safety, character and mechanical precision of the original model. In a recent exclusive roundtable interview with LCT Magazine, DaBryan and Accubuilt executives explained the evolution of their revolution in limousine vehicle design. Accubuilt Inc. is a specialty vehicle manufacturing company that owns DaBryan, which specializes in limousine/VIP and funeral vehicles.
Customers want a sedan
The drive to redesign the MKT stretch limousines stemmed from conversations with longtime DaBryan clients, especially in the funeral transportation sector, said Edward Macdonald, DaBryan’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We were getting feedback from the market of, ‘Why don’t we use a sedan? We want a sedan look,’” Macdonald says. “This kept repeating itself. There certainly was a theme with many operators who wanted to have some kind of a trunk look.”
The funeral industry is bound by tradition, with funeral directors needing limousines with certain permanent attributes, says Nathan Hurst, Accubuilt executive vice president for commercial operations. “They had trouble dealing with the hatchback [on the MKT]. They have to put wheelchairs in the back. They need a closed off area with no wind coming through, or having to interrupt the [mourning] family while waiting. This was a natural and we found it was the path we wanted to go down.”
DaBryan quietly introduced the idea to select limousine operators and funeral directors, who liked it, says Larry Doyle, CEO and President of Accubuilt Inc. “The funeral industry is looking for a different, elegant look. As a coachbuilder, we have to listen to the market and provide niche derivatives.”
So the executives had to figure out a way to offer a sedan-style limousine across the board, spread among numerous brands to ensure enough economies of scale and generate a supporting sales volume.
DaBryan outsourced the engineering and development of the trunk system to a company called Triad Services Group in Madison Heights, Mich., a unique engineering service that has experience in complete vehicle design and engineering. It has developed high performance vehicles such as the GMC Syclone and Typhoon, special purpose vehicles such as the VPG MV1, and limited Volume OEM vehicles such as the Chevrolet SSR. The firm used computer-aided design (CAD) to mathematically match the specs of the original MKT rear compartment with a projected proportional and aesthetic trunk design that could be precisely evaluated and modified in computer-simulated design scenarios and stress tests, Doyle says. Triad also built a small fleet of prototypes once the CADs were accurately established.
“What we outsourced to them was the complete engineering and product development of the system, from creating the exterior look through configuring the entire frame structure and every single part with accurate math data,” Doyle says. These precision-designed, data-driven specs would then be sent to the suppliers who make vehicle parts for Accubuilt Inc. and DaBryan. The process took limousine design to a new level of diligence and sophistication, Macdonald says. “We’re taking a lot more seriously how conversions are done. This is an industry first.”