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Watch: University of Texas professor stars in new Lincoln Aviator commercial

A popular Texan stars in the newest Lincoln Aviator commercial.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Heavy clouds of pink and purple fill the screen, swirling around the 2020 Lincoln Aviator. Then, the camera cuts to the interior where the eyes of University of Texas professor and Academy Award winning actor Matthew McConaughey appear to be staring directly into the soul of the viewer.

As McConaughey thoughtfully sits behind the wheel of Lincoln's new midsize SUV, it's hard not to notice the supple appointments of the vehicle and how close the notoriously nude bongo player is to the steering wheel.

While the actor decries in-your-face horsepower, the sounds of an original score by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra plays in the background.

The SUV emerges from the smoke to arrive in the desert, reminding viewers that Lincoln is about performance that, "just makes you feel better."

Take a look for yourself.

The All-New 2020 Lincoln Aviator | Fresh Take On Movement | Lincoln www.youtube.com

TV host and expect wrenched Faye Hadley has customized this Volskwagen Rabbit for off-roading.

Photo by Jesus Garcia

Faye Hadley has come a long way in a short time in the automotive world. She is a professional Toyota Specialist and Harvard graduate, but is better known as the co-host in the show "All Girls Garage" on Discovery Channel. The the pebble that started the avalanche of her automotive enthusiasm was a little car she lovingly named Gaia, after the Geek goddess of Earth.

Sometimes an inanimate object becomes the key to a purpose in life. A first guitar can snowball into a world tour, or a little league helmet into a multi-million dollar MLB contract. Some are more obvious than others, but it's the objects that force us into a180-degree spin that hide in the blind spot of the unexpected. For Faye Hadley, that object was a diesel-powered1980 Volkswagen Rabbit she found hidden, abandoned, behind a barn while on vacation in Washington State in 2007.

Faye Hadley Volskwagen Rabbit Texas The interior of the car features its own custom flare.Photo by Jesus Garcia

A childhood with minimal television screen time. Faye would only watch the occasional movie on VHS. One of those films was The Love Bug (1969) featuring possibly the most famous Volkswagen of them all, Herbie. The concept of a living car stuck with her. In her youth she would offend ask her mom and grandmother to take her to car shows. An interest for cars had dawned but it wouldn't break the horizon until years later.

The little Volkswagen barn find had not seen a highway roughly 10 years, but Hadley is the kind of person that follows the rule set by Hunter S. Thompson, "Buy the ticket, take the ride she had no mechanical experience at the time and rolled the dice on driving the Rabbit back across the country to her parents' home in New Hampshire.

The Rabbit was originally powered by a diesel engine paired with a four-speed manual transmission. The powertrain kept the model trekking until one mile from her mom's house it blew a head gasket. With no money for parts Hadley used the Rabbit as a semi-daily driver as she limped the car to and from school in Massachusetts.

She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in psychology in 2010, but even after securing a well paying job she had a twitch in the hands. She had a festering desire, a yearning for grease under finger nails and the cold feel of a stainless steel wrench over a dry yellow note pad.

During her drives around town, people started to take notice. Northern winters became the salty graves for many VW Rabbits so seeing one in the late 2000's was a visual treat for people with fond memories of them. The local VW owner's club invied her to car meets. It was at these meets where she would go on to meet her mechanic mentor, Jesse.

Faye Hadley Volskwagen Rabbit Texas This isn't your typical Rabbit restoration project.Photo by Jesus Garcia

Jesse was the first person who listened to her dream about learning cars and welcomed her as a shop apprentice. Over the next two years Hadley got the hands-on experience she needed to follow her dream. She was no longer just another Ivy Leaguer. Now she was degree-holder capable of performing an engine swap.

The Rabbit's original diesel engine needed to be rebuilt three times. The first was when it blew up one mile from Hadley's mother's house. The second time the engine quit it was somewhere in Kansas on another cross-country road trip. It gave up the ghost a third time when Hadley needed the Rabbit to tow a motorized scooter and Gaia didn't care for it – pop goes the rod. A replaced engine came from a 130,000 mile VW Golf as a 2.0-liter heart with a $200 price tag.

The engine isn't the only thing Hadley has replaced. Even at first glance, the casual observer can see that this rad Rabbit is far from Wolfsburg. The car has a custom lift-kit. Its front suspension features parts from a Volkswagen Mark 2 GLI and its rear-end uses parts from a Mark 3. The front and rear bumpers are one-of-kind custom fabrications that were Hadley's first welding project and carry a sentimental curb weight. The hood scoop is adapted from a Subaru WRX STI that no longer needed it. There's even a small skid plate underneath.

The results give Gaia an urban off-road look that serves as real life capability.

The car's front seats have been swapped with those from a Honda Prelude that have proved to be way more comfortable than the German stock seats. This Rabbit doubled as both a camper and shop truck in the past so Hadley opted to delete the rear seat for good. She's added another gear with a swapped in five-speed transmission for easier road tripping. Yet, she says that her favorite modifications to the car have been cup holders and a "kick-ass" sound system – the essentials.

Faye Hadley Volskwagen Rabbit Texas The Rabbit has a host of modifications for off-roading and general badassery.Photo by Jesus Garcia

Future planed modifications for Gaia do include the word turbo, but nothing too crazy. Hadley's goal is to produce just enough boost to get this little Rabbit to the end of its 85 mph speedometer.

Hadley's 1980 VW Rabbit is a moving, breathing, testament to her skill as a mechanic. "It gives my work the test the time," she told AutomotiveMap. The fact that the car is still road worthy after all it's been through is an achievement to her success. In the process, she has embedded the car with more than just swear and blood.

To call Gaia just a car is a swear word for Hadley. This Rabbit is family. This car was featured in her wedding party, and she has the Rabbit's VIN tattooed on her arm.

Hadley is a busy person. When she isn't on TV, or managing her auto repair business Pistons & Pixie Dust, she is teaching. She is one of the founders of Women and Machine, which are classes designed to develop female car enthusiasts. Lessons taught by women for women that cover the basics from how to check the oil, change a tire, and learning how to speak to a mechanic. These are important skills to anyone who owns a vehicle and is self-aware of how little they know if the check engine light suddenly came on.

The journey from Harvard graduate to mobile Toyota specialist/ TV host/ business owner started with an old Volkswagen for Faye Hadley. The car has been a learning tool, travel companion, bridesmaid, work horse, but above all else the most important thing this 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit has been is, Hadley's car.

Lincoln has made two pickup trucks but neither reached any level of tremendous commercial success.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Before luxury pickup trucks became the staple that they are today on America's roadways, there was one company willing to attempt to capitalize on the premium buyer. Unfortunately for that company, they were too early. But they had the right concept. That company is Lincoln.

The Lincoln Blackwood was the company's first attempt at a proper luxury pickup. It was built for the 2002 model year and was based on Ford's F-150 platform. It shared the F-150's 5.4-liter V8 that made 300 horsepower and was only available in rear-wheel drive. It had luxury features like a power tonneau cover and a wood-lined bed.

2006 Lincoln Mark LT The Mark LT was a luxury level take on a traditional pickup but it may have been a little ahead of its time.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

That truck made the way for the company's second attempt; the Lincoln Mark LT. That truck received the updated Triton V8 and was available with four-wheel drive. It was also a more practical truck, having a useful bed and other amenities. It was in production from 2005 until 2008 in the United States (yet carried on until 2014 in Mexico).

Nowadays, the F-150 Limited is nearly a $70,000 USD pickup truck – more than the Mark LT ever was – and people are buying them at a steady pace. It begs the question; is the Mark LT or other Lincoln pickup truck ready to make a return to the United States?

The answer is complicated. Officially, Lincoln is leaving the pickup trucks to Ford. They have their own things to worry about, such as a completely refreshed product line and paying Matthew McConaughey to not say his trademark phrase in commercials.

Unofficially sources have told AutomotiveMap that they aren't sure what a Lincoln pickup truck would even look like. How do you get more luxurious than the F-150 Limited that is already on sale?

That is, indeed, a fair question. The F-150 Limited has premium seats that are both heated and cooled. They have a massage function. The only thing that Lincoln offers above that in their vehicles is something they call "Perfect Position" front seats in the Navigator with dozens of different adjustment options.

The F-150 would benefit from a larger infotainment screen and a more attractive instrument cluster, which Lincoln could offer. But these upgrades are also likely to be attached to a refreshed F-150 that might debut as early as this year for the 2021 model year. That would negate the Lincoln benefit.

Lincoln could offer the truck with a plug-in hybrid, and we know Ford is working on electrification options for the F-150. Combine that with some other unique Lincoln features, like the Revel audio system and Phone as a Key and you might have something that stands out from the best Ford offering.

But would it be enough? The price ceiling on pickup trucks hasn't been reached, which is why manufacturers are able to charge $70,000 for a full-size, half-ton pickup truck. Globally, Mercedes-Benz built a luxury-minded pickup on the Nissan Navara platform but didn't see any sales success. Though the rest of the world does view the pickup truck differently than the United States. What we consider a midsize truck is about as large as they sell globally.

Ultimately, a Lincoln pickup truck revival is unlikely to happen due to differentiation. It's important for Lincoln to set itself from Ford, and like the Mark LT that came before, that is unlikely to happen. Yes, it'd be a different truck, but it wouldn't be different enough. Nor would it be a compelling enough reason for loyal truck buyers to buy a Lincoln instead of a Ford, even if they'd be built on the same assembly line.

There's space in the market for even more expensive trucks, but from Ford they'll likely carry the Ford Blue Oval on them.