Earl Lucas is no stranger to luxury: He once designed aircraft interiors for the Sultan of Brunei that dazzled with strategically placed silver and gold.
Today, as Chief Exterior Designer for The Lincoln Motor Company, his attention to detail is just as precise — albeit more subtle. Lincoln’s hallmark is “quiet luxury,” and Lucas’ expertise is sculpting shapely lines, form and structure for high-end clients.
“It changes your mindset, absolutely. It changes everything, from surface language to the amount of features,” he says. “The luxury customer simply expects a different look, a different style — the chrome appointments, the amenities. The sense of style and prestige goes up when you’re designing for Lincoln.”
Lucas, a Texas native who graduated from the College for Creative Studies with a degree in industrial design, has worked on the 2000 Lincoln Navigator, the 2007 Lincoln MKX, the 2013 Lincoln MKS, the Lincoln Navigator Concept and the 2018 Lincoln Navigator that will debut in 2017.
He also spent three years on an International Service Contract, from 2011 to 2013, designing products and projects for India, South America and China. The insights that he gained have affected his recent work at Lincoln, he says.
“There is such an appreciation for the automobile in terms of its detail,” he says. “Details really matter — even on an entry-level product. So when you start working on the special additions, it gets even better. I felt like I learned so much.”
Since returning, he’s particularly enjoying the collaborative aspect of moving the brand forward. “Being able to define what we want the brand to be, being a part of that vision, is fantastic,” he says. “It permeates more than the surface of the car — it goes to all the product development, and it’s fascinating.”
Lucas is always creating — painting, designing fashion and, yes, sketching cars. “I’m always working on something,” he says.