Putting our Money Where our Mouths Are

Putting our Money Where our Mouths Are

By Jeff Shively
Originally published in the November/December 2023 Lincoln and Continental Comments magazine (Issue # 375)

Many of us lament that nothing is being done to get younger people interested in the old car hobby. “Young people don’t want to work with their hands,” we say. “Where do I find somebody to work on my old Lincoln?” we ask. In despair, we resign ourselves to the inevitability that our cars will someday become, at best, immobile museum pieces. What if there was something we could do to change all that?

LCOC member Gene Epstein recently used his charity, the Gene & Marlene Epstein Humanitarian Fund, to sponsor a scholarship program at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania. To do this, he sold off part of his remarkable car collection, including an all-original 1969 Mercedes Benz Limousine that belonged to Elvis Presley and a 1972 Mercedes-Benz once owned by Roy Orbison.

While it is true that many of us don’t have our own personal philanthropic organization, we can still help. There is probably an auto mechanics program at a high school or community college near you. Because these aren’t “glamour” programs, you can bet your bottom dollar that they aren’t well-funded. Make an appointment to talk to the department head. Find out what the needs are, big or small. If you can help financially, do it. Even a small gift of $500 or $1,000 will go further than you think. If you are handy with a wrench, see if they need an instructor. As a former community college professor, I can tell you that you’ll get as much out of the experience as the students will. Do you have a shop in your area that does a great job for you? Odds are, they are short on good mechanics and can’t find them. Serve as an intermediary to see if the school can funnel students to that shop once they complete their training. What student wouldn’t want a job waiting for him when he graduates? These are but a few suggestions, but the possibilities are limitless.

Mr. Epstein still has a stable of wonderful cars, including the legendary “Rhapsody in Blue,” a gorgeous 1940 Lincoln-Zephyr Continental Cabriolet. You might have seen this remarkable first-year Continental at Hershey this year or gracing the cover of the September-October 2023 issue of The Way of the Zephyr. Regarding the sale of his celebrity-owned Mercedes-Benz limousines, Gene noted, “As much as I loved the cars, it didn’t change anyone’s life. But the proceeds have and will continue to make a difference.” That is a great attitude. Gene always closes his emails with a great quote: “Never worry that you are doing too much to help others. You are doing too little if you can do more.”

Jeff Shively, Lincoln and Continental Comments Editor, lives in Kokomo, Indiana.

Our members write…
Originally published in the January/February 2024 Lincoln and Continental Comments magazine (Issue # 376)

To the editor:

I read with interest Jeff Shively’s article in the November-December issue of the Lincoln and Continental Comments, “Putting our Money Where Our Mouths Are.” This concerned providing scholarships to students who are studying in the automobile field. Thank you, Gene and Marlene Epstein!

Most of you are aware of McPherson College, which has a four-year degree program in auto restoration. One of the other car clubs I belong to is The H.H. Franklin Club. To ensure our club’s future and encourage interest in collecting and maintaining air-cooled Franklins, the club has a scholarship program.

We invite students to our annual Franklin Trek gathering at no cost to them. We also fund scholarships for auto restoration courses and contribute to McPherson College. Many of our young members who attended the Trek now have Franklins of their own. The H.H. Franklin Club has a presence at The Gilmore, as does The Lincoln Motor Car Heritage Museum.

John Harris is the proud owner of a recently purchased 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Town Limousine and a 1941 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet.

Memories of Dearborn and the First LCOC Meet – October 1954

Memories of Dearborn and the First LCOC Meet – October 1954

Photos provided by Neil Goeppinger
Originally published in the November/December 2023 Lincoln and Continental Comments magazine (Issue # 375)

In honor of the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club’s 70th anniversary, it is important to remember our roots. Neil Goeppinger sent a series of pictures that were made from slides shot by his father, Walter. The following collection of photographs taken at the very first LCOC national meet, held in October 1954 in Dearborn, Michigan. Enjoy!- Ed.

ABOVE:  The site of the show, Greenfield Village.  This appears to be the 1831-vintage Eagle Tavern.

ABOVE: In the early days of the LCOC, Lincoln Continentals were, at best, late-model used cars. Sometimes the interiors were modified to meet the needs of the current driver.

BELOW: The engines were upgraded too.

ABOVE:  Walt Goeppinger’s 1947 Continental was one of many great Lincolns in that long-ago parade in Dearborn.

BELOW: Modern engine swaps were not uncommon.

ABOVE: Linda Lipper’s Continental.  The car came from Boone, Iowa.

BELOW:  Who doesn’t love a parade?  And who wouldn’t love to see a parade of early Continentals?

A Father and Son Affair Restoring a 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV Pucci Edition

A Father and Son Affair Restoring a 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV Pucci Edition

By Sean Houck
Originally published in the November/December 2023 Lincoln and Continental Comments magazine (Issue # 375)

ABOVE: The apple of the author’s eye from a young age, perfectly restored. Photo courtesy of the author.

My love for Lincoln started when I was very young. When I was growing up, my dad owned a 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV Pucci Edition similar to my current one. The only difference is that the first car didn’t have a sunroof, which was one option that he always wanted on it. I looked for years, trying to find another one for him. Finally, in 2012, I found the Mark IV that I have now. When he bought it, I was 13 years old and instantly fell in love with the car. I’d wash it and help him work on it in our shop. In 2017, the engine failed. At the time, I was 18 and working in his shop and learning about cars from him. Knowing how much I loved this Lincoln, he told me that if I paid for the parts to rebuild the engine, it would be mine.

Of course, I took that deal, and together, we rebuilt the original engine from the bare block. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when we started it for the first time. Sharing that moment with my dad was priceless. Even though, mechanically, it was sound, the exterior began to show its age. Rust was evident under the edges of the vinyl top and around the trunk. The car was stored under cover in our shop for about three years as we tried to keep the rust from getting worse.

TOP: The brochure that was the fuel of many luxury car owners’ dreams in the 1970s.  Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

TOP RIGHT: The Designer Series Mark IVs for 1976.  The Pucci is on the left.  Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

TOP:  The passage of four decades had not been kind to the Mark IV, as seen by the condition of the vinyl top.

LEFT:  The extensive rear quarter work was completed and them primed.  The front fenders were off, revealing the massive 460 CID V-8.  The rot went very deep in the rear quarters of the Mark IV, necessitating serious metal working.   Photos courtesy of the author.

CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: With the body work completed and a fresh coat of paint, the only thing this Mark IV lacked was a new vinyl top. Time for the best part of any restoration…driving the fruits of your labor! Coat after coat of paint made this Lincoln look every bit as nice as it did when it sat in a showroom during America’s Bicentennial year. Photos courtesy of the author.

Now, I’m ready to start a new journey with the Philadelphia Region of the LCOC and the Continental Cruisers. This year, I received my first award for the top 40 in a show that registered 110 vehicles. This was completely surprising. I am not in this hobby for the awards but for the preservation and love of this beautiful rolling work of art, as well as the history and the knowledge that comes with being around other likeminded enthusiasts.

Sean Houck is an LCOC member from Baltimore, Maryland.

In the summer of 2019, my dad told me he’d help me restore the car. That’s another moment I’ll never forget. My biggest fear every time I’d look at my car was that he wouldn’t be around to see it when I could afford to have it restored. Working with my father to restore this Mark IV was a dream come true. After three years of searching for extremely rare parts and lots of hard work, the restoration was finally completed in October 2022. I’m truly blessed to have a car like this at age 24. Not only do I have a dad who gave me the car that he always wanted, but he helped restore it because he knows how much it means to me. As much as I enjoy going to shows with him, a small part of me would love to go back in time to when it all started. Back to being a kid riding with my dad, listening to his 8-track tapes. Back to seeing how happy he was when I showed him the car he always wanted, which then turned into the car I always wanted. This car taught me to enjoy not only the outcome but the journey.

La Grange 2023: The All-Texas Tradition is Back!

La Grange 2023: The All-Texas Tradition is Back!

By Glenn Kramer
Originally published in the Lincoln and Continental Comments magazine (Issue # 374)

ABOVE:  Ready for judging.  The Lincolns at the La Grange Meet were phenomenal.  Photo courtesy of the author.

One of the hallmarks of the LCOC is the respect for tradition. For over 30 years, the Texas regions have met for an All-Texas Regional Meet over a weekend in mid-April. For over 25 years, we met at the Historic Stagecoach Inn in Salado, Texas. The inn changed hands, and we moved to a local hotel. Even though we still had a great time, it was not quite the same. Couple that with the COVID- based two year pause, and this classic Texas tradition was in danger of becoming a memory. Gary Birk and Dean Forbes of the Texas Gulf Coast Region (TGCR) and Pat Corbett of the Lone Star Region (LSR) discussed what to do post-COVID. Do we continue at a Salado location or move the meet? The issue wasn’t finding a place; it was recovering a feeling.

Enter Russel Joseph. A longtime LCOC member who had attended a few TGCR events, Russ had converted his family’s old Ford dealership in La Grange into his personal car collection home. He invited Gary and Dean out to look at the place, and the idea of a new home for All-Texas was born.  The La Grange site was just being finished in April 2022 when we had our first post-COVID reunion. Well, it was a huge hit! Russ and his lovely wife Elise couldn’t have been more gracious, and the facility was elegant yet welcoming in the Texas tradition. Suddenly, it looked like we had the makings of a revival!

Segue to 2023 when Russ emphatically renewed his invitation and we accepted. The meet was held April 21-22 and was terrific. The weekend started off with a Friday night party hosted at Russ’s “showroom,” the old Ford dealer site converted into a beautiful collection of cars and memorabilia. Tables were set up amid the cars, and we all circulated through the Mexican buffet and then table-hopped with longtime friends. Gary Birk’s patented hospitality was evident throughout the weekend, thanks to those laboring behind the classy bar and the Forbes’ frozen margarita machine, which also worked hard. It was good to see returning longtime members. James Simmons, who moved with his companion Kent McClintock to San Antonio and joined the Lone Star Region, attended. Bill Culver and his wife Cheri came from New Orleans to join us. We were glad to see Mike & Frances McNeil. Mike was recovering from illness and was in great spirits.

Saturday morning brought a continuation of the beautiful weather, as well as the arrival of the last few attendees. The cars were positioned outside on the parking lot, and judging began. Our “relaxed” judging format starts at zero and adds points as appropriate. This format has been very popular and encourages more members to participate.

ABOVE: Part of the fabulous John Burkland collection.  Visitors got to see a diverse assemblage of automotive history.  Photo courtesy of the author.

This year our field consisted of about 15 cars, and the quality was excellent. Some of the many notable cars and owners were Dean and Diana Forbes’ beautiful Continental Mark II; Greg Alexander’s 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III; 1969 and 1968 Lincoln Continental Sedans owned by Craig Adams and Steve & Louise Sawyer, respectively; last year’s Best of Show, a beautiful, mildly-customized black 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible owned by Scott & Lindsay Aronstein; our host Russ Joseph’s 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V; 1992 and 1997 Town Cars owned by Leonard & Wendy Schulze and Pat & Linda Corbett respectively. Exhibition cars included Mark Ferrari’s 2012 Lincoln MKZ and Bill & Cheri Culver’s 2008 Lincoln Mark LT, driven from New Orleans.

After judging, there was a trip to an unusual car collection set up by Russ, with the cooperation of his friend John Burkland. After a short drive to the aptly named Five Garages Ranch, we were greeted by five buildings of mostly Corvettes, muscle cars, and assorted goodies. The assorted goodies also included pies and kolachkes graciously provided by our host, Mr. Burkland.

After the Saturday night banquet in the old showroom, we made our way to the awards ceremony, held in Russ’s second building, the beautifully converted former garage facility of the Ford dealership. We began with a moment to remember one of our stalwart members who recently passed, Gary Birk’s mom, 99-year-old Eileen Birk, who always contributed earnestly to our TGCR events and is sorely missed. The slide show of class winners highlighted each victory, ending with the coveted Best of Show, won by David & Bernadette Boullosa with their immaculate 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car Collector’s Series. The festivities continued long into the night.

This meet was a huge success. Many Texas LCOCers worked very hard to make it so- Dean & Diane Forbes from Texas Gulf Coast; Pat & Linda Corbett from Lone Star; Gary Birk with the trophies and registration. I’m leaving a lot out, but this dedication makes the meet and the Texas regions unique. Thanks to all.

You may remember how we’ve talked about the “Salado Spirit,” which highlighted the old meet for over 30 years. There was a real sense of camaraderie, with a great deal of time spent on meeting, greeting, and socializing. Russ & Elise Joseph, with their graciousness, hospitality and unparalleled facility in La Grange, helped recreate that spirit.

During the awards ceremony, it was unanimous that La Grange was, indeed, the new Salado, and Russ immediately put out the invitation to come back next year.

La Grange was truly special this year. Memories of old friends, gathering with new friends, and sharing the unique spirit that comes from being together and having a great time. Thanks, Russ & Elise, and we look forward to continuing the All-Texas tradition for a long time.

Glenn Kramer is an LCOC member from Houston, Texas.

BELOW:  Best of Show was David & Bernadette Boullosa’s  beautiful 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car Collector’s Series.  Photo courtesy of the author.

ABOVE: The converted dealership is a real treat.  Photo courtesy of the author.

ABOVE:  Our hosts, Russ & Elise Joseph.  Photo courtesy of the author.

ABOVE:  LCOCers Dawn Pirone, Trish & Brian Felt enjoying the festivities.  Photo courtesy of the author.