My Two Lipstick 1976 Continental Mark IVs
Above: Both of Sherman Lovegren’s Lipstick Mark IVs in front of his home in Fresno, California.
My Two Lipstick 1976 Continental Mark IVs
by Sherman Lovegren, Fresno, California
Originally published in the September-October 2002 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 248).
To this day I do not know how many Lipsticks were built. They were only built in 1976. I believe there were more white ones built than red ones. What identified the Lipstick was the white leather seats with the red striping. The white with red striping was carried over to the door panels. The instrument panel was red and carpeting was red and the seat belts were red. No other Mark IVs had an interior like this. The exterior was either white with red molding on the sides or red with white molding on the sides. The shade of red, Lipstick, was used only on the Lipsticks, but the shade of white was common to all Mark IVs. And the Lipsticks did not have padding on the hump on the trunk. The Lipsticks had two choices for the top. One was called Cayman; it looked like alligator skin. The other looked just like a normal padded top. These padded tops covered only the rear portion of the roof. You could get the padded top in either a red or a white. You could get a red Lipstick with either a red or white top, or a white Lipstick with a white or red top. The most luxurious carpet is not in the Lipstick. The most luxurious carpet was found in the Silver Series.
I bought the first Lipstick Mark IV in June, 1999, and it won a Ford Trophy at the Western National Meet in Irvine, California, that same year. That car was driven right to my door. The owner knew I was in the Lincoln club, and he brought the car right to my house and asked me what he should do with the automobile. He said his father, who was the original owner, had passed away. He knew it was an unusual car with only 17,000 miles. He wanted to know what the car was worth and how and where to sell it. As it turned out, I bought the car from this gentleman.
After I bought the car, I did some research through the Lincoln Archives. I never did find out how many Lipstick models were built, I think somewhere between 50 and 500. But I found out that only two were built like this one, that is without the moldings on the side. That is, the moldings that run the entire length of the car including up and over the wheel wells and across the doors. Through my research from Lincoln Archives, I learned that these two cars were not ordered this way. They didn’t have enough moldings in production to do a complete buildout, so instead of stopping production, these two cars went off the assembly line without the moldings. I do not know what happened to the other car.
The original owner of this car was from Michigan. He was a hockey player. He even had his logo on the license plate. It had MTK 10. MTK was his initial and 10 was his hockey team number on his back. I found out from the son that his father and mother loved that car. But they did not buy the car in Michigan. When the son was young the family moved to Stockton, California. The car was delivered new to Showroom Lincoln-Mercury in Modesto. I have been in that dealership many times. This car was in that dealership for quite a long period of time. It didn’t sell. Of course, red wasn’t a popular color. Finally, the dealer got a little nervous about it and decided he would have to do something to sell the car. He went down and had these Alliance spoke wheels put on it. That was quite a glamorous looking wheel.
After these wheels were put on the car, it brought enough attention that this fellow bought the car. Both he and his wife were school teachers in Stockton. The only time that Mark IV was driven was on weekends when it wasn’t raining. They would drive it to San Francisco for lunch or dinner or whatever. They lived in a condo right across from the school; they also had a second car, so basically the Lipstick Mark IV didn’t have to go anywhere. I bought the car from the son and the other. When I bought the car it was impeccable. I didn’t have to do anything except detail it. We had it in some local concours shows here in the valley. Wherever that car went, it drew a lot of attention. I did not leave the Alliance wire wheels on the car. I had Geoff Weiner get me a set of factory dish wheels. I kept the original tires on these wheels.
Not long after I returned from the LCOC meet in Irvine, Geoff Weiner called me and said, “Sherman, I had my Hemmings Motor News out, and there is a red Mark IV, it must be a Lipstick.” I said it must be a Lipstick unless it has been repainted. Geoff said it couldn’t be repainted, it only had 10,000 miles on it. Geoff was interested in buying the car himself, but he told me to call the seller. The car was in Kansas City, Kansas. I called there the day after Thanksgiving, 1999. The owner told me that the car at noon and I was at his house on a had been in the family since new. He said that the car was like brand new. I asked if he would send me some pictures of the car, and he did. I got the pictures the next day. I called Geoff and said I was looking at my Lipstick and looking at the pictures of the Lipstick in Kansas, and I told Geoff that it looked like the same car. I knew then it was definitely a Lipstick, however the one in Kansas had a moonroof, as well as the side moldings.
The weather was kind of nasty that day. I called this gentleman in Kansas back and said I had received his pictures. I told him I was willing to pay what he was asking for the car. I wanted to secure the car by making a deposit. The seller said the weather in Kansas was terrible, and when the weather was better in the spring to come back and get the car. That made me very nervous. I told him I had just purchased a big diesel motor home, and I had a trailer, and I said when there is a break in the weather I would be back to see him, but I would call before I came.
As it turned out, I left here on a Sunday at noon and I was at his house on a Tuesday morning. I looked at the automobile and I couldn’t believe it. The front seat still had the plastic covers on it, which the dealer put on the day the car was delivered. The purchaser of the car said he didn’t want anything to touch those white leather seats. The back seat had never been sat in. The wrappers for the seat belts in back had never been removed. The car was even more than I had anticipated. So I brought the car home and did a lot of detailing to it, especially under the car.
I took the car to several local shows. It won Best of Show at the concours and at Fresno State College. The only LCOC meet I took the car to was the 2001 Mid-America National Meet in Houston where it won a Lincoln Trophy. Geoff Weiner and I talked about that car many times and Geoff said, “I sure wish I had bought that car.” I think a lot of Geoff, and I told him that when the time comes I would sell him the car for what I had in it, and I would donate the time that I put into it. At Houston, there were some people who were very serous in wanting to buy the car, but in Houston I received a call from Geoff in Perris, California, who said be sure and bring the car by his shop on the way home. So I told these people: “I’m sorry, but the car is sold.” On the way home, I left the car with Geoff and Laura and it now has a good home.
What happened to the first Lipstick was that I had it on display at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. It was there just a very few days and one of the investors at the Imperial Palace bought the car. His daughter had a Christmas party or something going on in Peoria, Illinois. She asked her parents if they could ship it back so they could use it in the Christmas parade. The last I head the car is still back there.
We have had both of these Lipstick cars in local shows together. When you have one Lipstick in a show you get attention, but when you have two sitting side by side it creates even more attention. Another amazing thing is how close the serial numbers of these two cars are. They were built only a few days apart.
2023 Eastern National Meet
The host hotel is the Holiday Inn Knoxville West – Cedar Bluff Road. Rooms are $119 per night plus tax, which also includes 2 breakfasts per room per day. The rate is available Monday, May 29th through Tuesday, June 6th. Hotel reservations can be made on-line by clicking here.
Lincolns on Route 66
Lincolns on Route 66
Williams, Arizona to the Colorado River, where the Mother Road is still very much alive.
by Tim Howley
Originally published in the July-August 2001 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 241).
This is our second installment of Lincoln journeys on the mother of all roads. Last year, just after the Western National Meet in Scottsdale, Arizona new member Jerry James, Mesa, Arizona purchased a 1966 Lincoln Continental coupe from ?Richard Cronkhite. He has since put about 10,000 miles on the car and reports “I have enjoyed every inch.” Jerry and friend Gini Tomas have traveled through New Mexico, Mexico, Utah and a lot of Arizona. Now Jerry shares his photos taken on old sections of Route 66 in Arizona. Our Route 66 journey with Jerry and Gini starts at Williams, Arizona, 45 miles west of Flagstaff. This was once the Gateway to the Grand Canyon” which is only 60 miles to the north. A l l / 2 mile stretch of the Mother Road runs right through the center of town which still abounds in Route 66 era motels, cafes and even a few old time gas stations. Williams was the last town on Route 66 to be bypassed by the Interstate (October 13, 1984) which explains why so many of the old roadsides still survive here. At the time the bureaucrats did everything to erase Route 66 from here to the California border but the old road refused to die. Now, 17 years later, Williams remains one of the best preserved sections of Route 66 anywhere from Chicago to Santa Monica. While mostly paved over by Interstate 40 for the first 25 miles west of Williams, Route 66 still reaches, nearly untouched by time, from 14 miles east of Seligman through Peach Springs, Truxton, Crozier Canyon, Valentine, Hackberry, Walapai, Kingman, Oatman, and Topack. This is a distance of 170 miles. Through the efforts of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, Historic Route 66 markers now leave no doubt in the motorist’s mind that this is a major part of the real Route 66.
Seligman is one of the most famous and best preserved of all Route 66 towns. While I have not passed through here in several years, I am told that many deserted gas stations can be found, and very much alive motels and cafes still thrive here. This is the hometown of Angel Delgadillo, town barber who did so much a few years ago to keep Route 66 alive in this vicinity. He has operated a barbershop here since 1950 and before that his dad operated a barbershop at the same location. He has converted the town pool hall into a Route 66 museum and gift shop. His brother Juan operates the Snowcap Drive-In, another Route 66 treat. When Seligman was bypassed by Interstate 40 in 1978 business dried up in all the old towns. It was the Delgadillos who organized efforts to promote the town and the entire area as old Route 66 tourist attractions. The old Harvey House which once was the largest and busiest restaurant in Seligman still stands, although I assume it is now deserted. Seligman is the gateway to once upon a time Route 66 which ambles on west towards California. The road here should be traveled as slowly as the Joad’s jalopy in The Grapes of Wrath because there is much to see. You way want to pull off the road at the Grand Canyon Caverns, an attraction second only to the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Around Peach Springs the road passes through the Haulapai Indian Reservation. Moving westward you will soon come upon Truxton which was established in 1951 to take advantage of a proposed railhead leading to the Grand Canyon. Like a lot of stops on Route 66 things planned never came to be but the town hangs on. 50 years ago Route 66 traffic was so busy through Truxton that traffic jams were commonplace and roadside business sprang up like tumbleweeds. The Frontier Cafe here is still humming with some of the best Route 66 meals in the area.
Keep on moving to Crozier Canyon and then Valentine where the last stretch of Route 66 in Arizona was paved in 1937. The next stop is Hackenberry, once a booming silver mining town, and now just a little better than a ghost town, but rich with Route 66 nostalgia. From here the road runs through Kingman which was lucky enough to remain near the Interstate so it has not exactly been frozen in time, but there are some old roadsides hereabouts. One is the Beale Hotel which was once host to movie stars and other illuminaries. Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh checked in here in July, 1928 when they stopped in Kingman to inaugurate a new 48-hour air mail service between Los Angeles and New York. Kingman is also the headquarters of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona located in an old Packard dealership on Andy Devine Boulevard, yes he once lived here. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married here in 1939. Don’t miss the Route 66 Distillery and its famous variety of Route 66 burgers and old highway artifacts.
Kingman to Topack on the Colorado River was once the roughest stretch on all of Route 66. In 1953 the old road was replaced by a new alignment that went south of the Black Mountains and was essentially the path of 1-40 today. For those adventurous enough the old road remains. It climbs precariously to Oatman, then descends in wiggles and winds to Topack. The entire area within miles of Oatman, an old mining town, is all ups and downs through the hills, easterners would call them mountains. You may want to bypass Oatman and take Interstate 40 directly from Kingman to Topack. But for the true Route 66 lover, Oatman is filled with old Route 66 treasures. (Gable and Lombard honeymooned here.) Topack is the last Arizona town before California where 60 odd years ago the Joads came to their first sight of the Land of Milk and Honey. That’s another Route 66 story for another day.
Jerry did not write this Route 66 saga. This story comes from my own Route 66 files. John and Joanne Lower are sending me much Route 66 material. Jerry has sent us a report that will soon appear in our Lincoln Driver’s column.