Hello, Again City Tour

Cars & Culture: Sexy Lincoln MKZ highlights Houston tastemakers tour


Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Nov13_LincolnHelloAgain
Photo by Kevin McCauley
Automotive drive events tend to revolve around one message: drive our cars, please. Everyone gathers in a big, remote parking lot, and the carmaker gives past and prospective customers a lecture and then the chance to explore the features of the car.  It goes city to city, and every stop is the same and generic. 
 
Lincoln has gone a different route. The automaker created a personalized drive event just for Houston, with the help of local expert craftsmen and a few interesting cultural destinations. Lincoln calls this the 'Hello, Again" city tour, and it's an interesting take on marketing cars: it's more than just a drive experience, it's a thoughtful, luxurious experience. 
Lincoln brought along brand ambassador and NFL star Emmitt Smith, who grinned from ear-to-ear when he mentioned the MKZ  — he described the car as "sexy." 
 
A clay model of the MKZ illustrates the commitment Lincoln has to design and fits with the theme of the evening, which seemed to be making quality things
 
Guests gathered at River Oaks Shopping Center for the beginning of the tour.  Instead of a canned speech about car specifications and features, attendants met and heard from the founders of Bravado Spice Co. and Rugged Gnome Leather Company.  Here, the artisans of Rugged Gnome explained their process and their beginnings.
 

The founders of Bravado Spice explained about how the hot sauce came to be, offered samples and talked about flavor.

Luxury is, let's face it, an overused word. Every brand that wants to say it's luxury can claim it, and as a result, luxury lost all meaning decades ago. But it truly applies when you gather expert local merchants, tastemakers and creatives and bring them together to share their stories and motivations. It's fsacinating being around people who devote themselves to the things that they make. 

 

After the introductions, guests got a look at the Lincoln MKZ for the first time. All three engine variants were on hand to try: the 2.0L EcoBoost I-4, the 3.7 V6 and the Hybrid.

The MKZ has an all-new design for 2013 and the rakish "Split-Wing grill" is shaped for aerodynamic and visual flow. On the road, it's hard to confuse this with any other car.

The MKZ has an optional giant retractable glass panoramic roof that slides back over the rear window.

The first stop was Row on 25th in the Heights, a row house development designed and built by Shade House Development. 

Behind the 19-inch wheels sit regenerative brakes which help the MKZ Hybrid achieve 45 mpg.

Matthew Ford of Shade House Development talks about his design philosophies, answers questions, and gives a tour of one of the surprisingly spacious row houses.

The sleek, modern interior emphasizes symmetry and smart use of space. 

As the sun set on a crisp Houston evening, we left for the next destination. 

Burning Bones Press is a printmaking shop in the Houston Heights that works with renown artists and creates original art for all types of events and businesses. Co-founder and screenprinting expert Carlos Hernandez gave a printing demonstration and showed off some work. 

Co-founder and master printer Patrick Masterson spoke about some of the work they do and gave a quick tour of the workshop at Burning Bones Press.

Lincoln's "Hello, Again" tour offers a refreshing way to experience a car, in an especially thoughtful context. An unexpected takeaway was the observation that this is a company that respects its audience. It's a challenge to come to a city, learn from some of its tastemakers, bring them together, and then help teach the locals a few things about their own city in an engaging and interactive way. It was a surprise, and who doesn't like a surprise?

The Lincoln MKZ Hello, Again tour is currently wrapping up in Houston, but will be hitting Atlanta later this month on the eleventh and final stop of the tour.

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