J.C. Daniels Auto Auction

J.C. Daniels Auto Auction

The white Continental Mark II above sold for $26,500.  It may have been the best Mark II at the auction.  The other two photos above are some of the rows and rows of parts cars.

J.C. Daniels Auto Auction
Pampa, Texas, February 22-23, 2003
Introduction and Photos by Michael Black

Originally published in the May/June 2003 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 252).

Webmaster’s Note:  This is an historical recreation of an article originally published in the May/June 2003 issue of Continental Comments magazine.  The J.C. Daniels collection is not currently up for auction.

J.C. Daniels was a West Texas oilman, rancher, and, more importantly to this story, owned a Lincoln dealership in Pampa, Texas. And, although the invoices from the Continental Division do not support his claim, Mr. Daniels boasted that he sold more Mark IIs than any other dealership in the country. Until his recent death, Mr.Daniels claimed to own the largest collection of Lincolns in the world.

To my knowledge that claim was true. Although less than half of his 400 cars were capable of running, the number of his cars were authentically “Texan” in every respect.

Members of the J.C. Daniels family were smiling at the prices paid for the cars.

Similar to Jett Rink of Edna Ferber’s Giant, Mr. Daniels’ collection was larger than life and excessive to a fault. When I visited his collection about 10 years ago, the memory that is most vivid is not just the cars, but also the tires. In typical Texas fashion, Mr. Daniels had his initials or name on everything in sight. This was also true of the many different sizes of tires that he had stored in a separate building. Each of the tires (and there were many) were custom molded, instead of having the name “Firestone” or “Goodyear” in raised letters on their sidewalls, the tires bore the raised name of “J.C. Daniels”. I can’t begin to guess the actual cost of such vanity, but it makes for a great story.

Not only were there many cars, there were many LCOC members present to see them. Members came from Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, California, Illinois, and, of course, Texas.

Some of the buyers had never owned collectible Lincolns before, and they were told about the LCOC. The car buyers were mostly interested in the benefits of joining the LCOC; when explanations were given about the information that the club has available for members, several asked for membership applications.

– Michael Black

Originally, the estate wanted to sell all of the cars as a group, but after two years they could not come up with a single buyer willing to pay their price. Therefore, the cars were sold individually at a no reserve auction which brought $1.2 million plus another $30,000 for the rough, non running but restorable cars, parts cars and parts.

Saturday, the first day of the auction, the running cars were sold inside the auction building. On Sunday the parts cars were sold; it was so cold outside, about 20 degrees above zero, that photos of the cars were shown on a screen inside.

There were a lot of our members at the auction. Geoff Weiner bought two parts cars, a 1964 beige sedan and a 1961 convertible in prime. He got to the auction several days early and had plenty of time to look over the cars. In fact, one night Geoff and a few others were locked in the place and were ready to rip through the gate with a crowbar before somebody from the collection came to rescue them.

Here is Geoff’s story as he told it to Continental Comments about a week after he returned from the auction.

Continental Comments: Were there a lot of rusty cars?
Geoff Weiner: “Nothing you could see. Well, there were bondo jobs, so you didn’t know if they had rust or not. The bondo jobs were just awful. Awful sides. Awful paintwork. Awful everything. They were middle of the county cars. There were two fellows that had been under every 1956 and 1957 Mark II, and said that of all the Mark IIs, there were 42 of them, he believed that more than half of them had rotted frames.

The best Mark II brought $26,500. It was a white ‘56 with the wrong (vinyl) upholstery. Daniels never upholstered them in leather. The paint jobs were typical used car lot paint jobs. On the 1961-65 convertibles, when the tops were down, where the top sits on the top of the quarter panels, you could see where they hadn’t been painted with the top down. So you might have had a white car that was previously red, with red at the top of the quarters. It was just horrible.

On a lot of the slabside cars, if they painted the car on the outside they painted the engine compartment black. It was just not the proper color. The people doing restorations on these cars are just going to have an enormous job to bring them back to what they should be. But if you wanted a nice driver, probably they would be fair cars.

Every one of these cars had big fat wide whitewall tires which were all wrong for most of them. Daniels must have gotten a buy on new tires. (See Michael Black’s comments [above]).

Most of the cars were a number three at best. Of all of the cars that were there, probably there weren’t more than ten maximum that were really decent, nice cars. There was a red 1971 Mark III that was a very nice car. There was a nice 1969 Mark III that David Jenkins bought. It was turquoise with a white top and a turquoise interior in fabric. It had been repainted, but it was a very nice car.

There were a couple of nice Mark Vs. There was a 78 Diamond Jubilee in gold that was a 34,000 mile car, and I think the car brought seven or eight thousand dollars.

There was a 1977 or ‘78 Lincoln Continental just outside the door, an original car, with I think 30,000 miles. That car brought $2,000 and was well worth it. But cars like this were the exceptions.

There was a very nice ‘78 Lincoln Town Coupe, a triple black car, which had like 92,000 miles. It looked like it had been in a body shop and had overspray all over the car. It was sitting outside and was filthy. I was willing to pay $ 1,000 because a nice color sand and a buff and the car would have looked beautiful. But somebody else liked it and was willing to pay $3,000.

Most of the cars had not been running in about 15 years. I heard they spent two or three months getting them running. So most of the cars that went through the auction the first day were running. A lot of them were running but had no brakes when they went through. In fact, I think it was the 1967 convertible that had the grafted on front of the ‘77 Town Coupe, and it couldn’t stop. When it went through, the guy cut the wheels too hard and he hit the door. The fellow who bought it negated the sale and they sold it afterwards, on the parts day for less money.

There is a gray 1960 convertible that a fellow bought, and he is going to have Paradise Motorsport in Illinois restore it. Herb Sheffer bought a red ‘60 that is going with it.”


Continental Comments: Considering the condition of most of the cars, why were buyers willing to pay so much for them?
Geoff Weiner: “From what I could see a lot of people came and looked at the cars and left before the auction when they saw the condition of the cars. A lot of people flew in and flew right back out. They came a long ways for nothing. They were just awful cars. There were very few really nice cars there. But most of the buyers seemed to be overlooking that. There was one guy sitting beside me wearing painter’s coveralls. He had a cell phone, and he was buying everything, even the junk cars.

A lot of people did not do their homework. There was one guy there first thing Thursday morning in overalls. He had a note pad sheet, and he had every Mark II listed, including VIN number and color. He critiqued every single car and wrote it all down. He wanted to buy a driver Mark II for $10,000 or less. He asked Jack Rosen for opinions and so forth. He was walking around with his note pad for two days solid, Thursday and Friday. But I never saw him there on the days of the auction, and I doubt if he bought a car. The ones that were over $10,000 were more than he wanted to pay, and the ones under $10,000 probably weren’t worth it. But most of the people who did buy cars did not do their homework. I don’t think that most of the people who know cars would have bought most of them.


J.C. Daniels’ son bought 15 of the Mark IIs back to honor his dad, and they were not the best Mark IIs. He didn’t buy the two or three good ones. I think he bought 15 horrible cars” concluded Weiner.

Jack Rosen bought a good solid 1956 Lincoln Premiere sedan driver, a 1957 Lincoln Landau driver, and a 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan four-door sedan parts car. Jack came mainly to introduce himself to the people who bought Mark IIs because he felt they would be good prospects for his Mark II Enterprises parts business.

Rosen laughed about the deplorable bodywork on all but a few of the Mark IIs, and the vinyl interiors in the ones where the interiors had been replaced. He took all kinds of photos of all the wrong items on the Mark IIs—wrong rear view mirrors, wrong engine accessories, wrong hubcaps, etc. One Mark II had been equipped with dual headlamps. Another had permanent pillars put in front of the rear quarter windows. Rosen found it hard to believe why anybody would buy so many Mark IIs and then do such poor restoration work on them. Rosen noted the man who did the restoration work. He wore very nice suits which J.C. Daniels bought for him. The guy actually thought his restorations were good. “He just didn’t know any better,” Rosen mused.

Herb Scheffer of The Lincoln Old Parts Store in Clearwater, Florida, bought a lot of parts cars as did several other Lincoln dealers in the hobby. Herb commented, “It was quite a happening. It is my definite opinion that the overall quality and information given prior to the sale was inaccurate, to say the least. Many who attended were down right angry that correct and accurate information was not given.

The supposedly good cars were not very good with a few exceptions. The parts cars were just as you’d expect. The crowds were large with a reasonable number of bidders. It was the consensus that the prices for most of the cars in the Saturday auction were higher than the cars warranted. There were possibly two Mark IIs that were worthwhile, and maybe many of the suicide door convertibles were worth it. By and large the paint and body work on these cars was awful, they were generally incorrect, and none should have been driven home.

The weather Saturday was lovely. Sunday was brutally cold and windy so the parts cars were auctioned off inside the main building using pictures. All things considered, the entire auction went smoothly and was very much enjoyed, except for the weather.”

Pat and Bob Gee from California bought one of the nicer cars at a good price. It was a 1967 sedan in very good condition, and they only paid $2,750.

Pat wrote: “In our opinion, the cars were rough to average, nothing sensational. As always, the first few cars auctioned went for reasonable prices, but after that, 90 per cent of the cars went way over their value. We were fortunate to get a  1967 sedan in good condition with bucket seats, and very nice upholstery for a reasonable price.

The attendees from the west besides us were Jack and Linda Rosen, Jan O’Neal and Marv Wendt and Geoff Weiner. Michael Black from Houston was there, and from the east were David Jenkins and Margaret McClatchety, and probably more members we didn’t see. Various Lincoln supplier groups were represented.

Saturday we loaded up the car we bought as a driver and were all ready to head back early Sunday. We did hit a little snow outside of Albuquerque and Flagstaff, but it was not bad and we had a pleasant trip.

Pampa was a nice little town in the Texas Panhandle where people were friendly. The highlight was the Texas Rose Steak House Restaurant with very friendly waitresses, good food and the best on premises home made small, delicious cinnamon rolls that were served for desert. Yum, yum! With that and the good company we enjoyed the event.”

Linda Rosen seemed to enjoy the town and the people more than the auction. She loves to tell the story about the old man at the bank who had worked there since the thirties. She also enjoyed talking to Daniels’ wife.

Nobody, even Daniels’ wife and children, know why he bought so many cars. He was buying cars from his hospital bed just few just a few days before he died of cancer in January, 2000. Cars were arriving at the collection for months after he

In both life and death, J.C. Daniels was a legend. His fame spread far and wide among Lincoln lovers. Some of the best cars sold were a 1941 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet at $37,500, A 1938 Lincoln Willoughby at $37,400, a 1941 Lincoln Zephyr sedan at $19,500. actress Gene Tierney’s 1941 Lincoln-Zephyr convertible at $43,450, and what was reported to be JFK’s 1962 Lincoln Parade car at $16,500.

BELOW: Dick and Pat Slusser from Colorado with Joe (blocked from view), and Lana Hill from Texas, and Grant and Joan Milne from Colorado.

ABOVE: So many cars — so many missing parts!  A Mercury station wagon sans windshield.

J.C. Daniels Collection in Texas Up for Sale

Originally published in the March/April 2002 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 245).

Webmaster’s Note:  This is an historical recreation of an article originally published in the March/April 2002 issue of Continental Comments magazine.  The J.C. Daniels collection is not currently up for auction.

The J.C. Daniels Collection in Pampa, Texas, the largest collection of Lincolns and Continentals in the world, is up for sale. 450 cars were advertised in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal in late January. Continental Comments called the number given in the ad to obtain more information. Several days later that call was returned by Barry Peterson, an attorney in Amarillo, Texas who is in charge of the sale. He explained why the collection is being offered as an entire package of 450 cars, not 450 cars being sold separately or in smaller groups.

He said that there are so many cars, so many non running cars, so many parts cars and so many parts that the estate does not have the staff to sell cars and parts individually. He added that there are some 55 Continental Mark IIs, and they do not want to flood or depress the market by offering these cars individually all at once.

Peterson said the entire collection is being offered for about $1.75 million, a price which will allow a dealer or dealer group to pick out the cars they want to keep and then offer the rest of the cars and parts to the public at a profit.

We asked why the figure is 450 cars, not the 492 reported in The Way of the Zephyr in 1998. Peterson replied, “J.C. Daniels was known to exaggerate..”

The core of the collection is the Continental Mark IIs in good original unrestored condition, but they have not been started in five or more years and they are parked so close together that you would have to move all 200 of them to get at any one of them. These Mark IIs are housed in a dome-like building with many of the other earlier Lincolns. The building is about the size of two football fields. There are 50 to 60 Lincolns outside ranging from 1-956-57 to ‘70s and ‘80s Lincolns. Reportedly there are several other buildings.

J.C. Daniels, owner of the collection, died a year ago. He was the largest dealer in Continental Mark IIs in the country when they were new. Most of the collection is made up of Lincolns from the ‘50s and ‘60s. There are many Lincoln Continental convertibles from the ‘60s. There are some ‘40s Lincoln Continentals and Lincoln-Zephyrs but not a lot. There is one 1922 Lincoln sedan painted gold with burgundy fenders, and there is a 1938 K Willoughby limousine.

Daniels was not a stickler for authenticity, so many of the cars have strange repaint jobs. He emphasized collecting in sheer numbers, not for show, and many of the cars are parts cars.

Among the better cars, and there are hundreds of them, is Elvis Presley’s 1959 Continental Mark IV limousine and an open parade car in which Vice President Lyndon Johnson rode on the day that President Kennedy was assassinated.

J.C. Daniels started in the oil business in 1940. By 1960 his Sunoco Oil Corporation had nearly 300 oil wells. Between his oil wealth and Lincoln- Mercury dealership in Pampa, Daniels started building his collection in the ‘50s and it grew for over 40 years.

Daniels shunned joining car clubs and remained very much an old car recluse, but he did open the collection to car collectors on several occasions. LCOC’s Fred and Lynn Hunter, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, visited the collection five years ago. Much of the information about the cars contained in this article comes from Fred.

Pampa, Texas, where the Daniels Collection is located, is in the middle of nowhere in the Texas panhandle, about 100 miles northeast of Amarillo and 70 miles south of the Oklahoma border. According to Fred Hunter it is a town of wide boulevards but few houses or people. It is the only town in the US where Burger King had to close down! It is not even known for the J.C. Daniels Collection of Lincolns because Daniels shunned old car notoriety all his life.

There has been a good response to the ads in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal according to Peterson. Even Jay Leno called. But so far the collection has not been sold. If any of our members are interested in purchasing the entire collection, not one car or individual parts, the number to call is xxx-xxx-xxxx [redacted].

Why My 1947 Lincoln Never Made It to the 2001 Mid-America National Meet

Why My 1947 Lincoln Never Made It to the 2001 Mid-America National Meet

By Michael Calistrat

Originally published in the March/April 2002 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 245).

My 1947 Lincoln sedan was ready to show, or this is what I thought. The paint was beautiful, the interior was immaculate, the engine was running smoothly, so I decided to take it on the road.

The first trip, evidently, was to the gas station, only four miles from my home. I did not quite make it: the engine died one mile from the station. I cranked it, and it started, and made it to the station. I bought just ten gallons, and started for home. The engine died every mile, but I was able to restart it every time. When I got home I checked the level in the carburetor bowl, and it was okay. I let the engine run on the driveway for half an hour … no problems!

So I decided to just go around the block a few times … the engine stalled every mile or so. When I got home I installed a sight glass on the carburetor bowl, of my design. I took the car around the block, and every time it stalled. I opened the hood and checked the level; the bowl was empty! So I took apart the fuel pump, which I rebuilt during the restoration, and did not find anything wrong. However, I did find a restriction in the fuel line from the tank, which allowed enough fuel to flow at idle, but not at running conditions. It was easy to fix, so I tried again.

The car ran beautifully, except that the engine died at every red light! Back home, I checked everything, and found nothing wrong. So, if nothing works, read the manual. Aha! The idle should be 500 rpm, not 350 as I set it. You see, I was so fascinated by how smooth the 12-cylinder engine was running, that I loved to watch it running sooo slow! I readjusted the idle and tried again; no problems whatsoever. I was going farther and farther from home, showing my beautiful car to friends in the neighborhood, and enjoying every minute. Boy, will I get first place at the Mid-America Meet!

But after 88 miles, the engine died again, about six miles from home. This time it would no longer start. I checked the level in the bowl and it was okay; I checked the sparks, and there were none! So I called my son, and he came with a towing chain. I hooked the chain to one of the bars that holds the front bumper, and the other end to my son’s rear bumper. We made it half way home, and the bar that holds my bumper broke! I hooked the chain to another bar (there are four), and made it home. The first thing I did was to take off the front bumper, and had the bar that broke welded back together. I reinstalled the bumper, and started checking for electrical problems. I was getting panicky, as I had only five days left to drive to the meet, only 35 miles from my home.

Tests indicated that the points were no longer opening! Sounds crazy, I know. I removed the distributor, which is not an easy chore, and upon opening it I saw that one of the springs of the hammer points (I call them hammer and anvil) was broken, and shorted out everything. Well, very simple … or is it? I called my friend, and parts supplier, Earle Brown, and his lovely wife told me that he was in Hershey, and wouldn’t be back for a week. Now I panicked! I called my good friend Jake Fleming, and he happened to have a used one on hand. I asked him to mail it to me express mail, but it was Columbus Day, and the post offices were closed. More panic; this was Monday before the Friday meet! Jake showed me what a good friend he is, and went to the main post office, the only one open, and mailed the part to me. I got it Tuesday afternoon, and by the evening I had the system tuned and ready to install.

Here comes the last blow: I was tired, nervous, and concerned about the time left. So when I put the distributor back I did not properly align the tongue in the groove (the driving system of the distributor), and when I tightened the bolts all three ears of the aluminum housing broke off. End of distributor, and goodbye Mid-America National Meet. I called another friend, Merv Adkins, and he would send me a housing, which I got one week after the meet.

All along it seemed that the harder I worked the farther I got behind. The only good news I have is that we still attended the meet as we brought our 1975 Mark IV! And, of course, as anyone who attended this meet knows, it rained the day of the show and they had to do the judging in the parking garage!

The Lincoln Boano Returns

The Lincoln Boano Returns

ABOVE:  The Lincoln Boano was honored at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

By Tim Howley.  Photos courtesy of Frank Maffucci.

Originally published in the November/December 2002 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 249).

In Continental Comments #207, January-February, 1996 we reported on the near forgotten 1955 Lincoln Boano Coupe which was found and was slowly being restored by an LCOC member in New Jersey.

That restoration has now been completed, and the car made its first public appearance in 46 years at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d ’Elegance in California. The car is now owned by one Mr. Kerr of Pennsylvania, and was restored by Jim Cox and his crew from Sussex Motor & Coachworks in Matamoris, Pennsylvania. This latest information comes from our own Frank Maffucci who supplied many of the 1955 original parts for the restoration. Mr. Mario Boano, who built the car originally, is still living, and provided much helpful information so that parts could be fabricated to bring the car back to its original condition.



During the fifties, Ford produced a bevy of show cars, many of which influenced production car styling and a few of which still exist. The Boano Coupe was a special model built for Henry Ford II. While it was a fully operational car, it was never very influential or very well received on the show circuit, but it was one of the few that escaped the wrecking ball, passed through several owners over the years and finally was restored to see the light of day again, over four decades later.


The Lincoln Boano Coupe is also called the Indianapolis Sport Coupe. It is one of the most unusual looking Ford show cars ever built. No major Ford stylist was ever connected with it. The car was built in Italy to a different drummer. Since it was intended for Henry Ford II’s personal use and was only shown overseas it did not have to follow current U.S. styling trends. Then Mr. Ford decided to sell it to the dashing movie actor Errol Flynn. When Flynn died in 1958 his niece inherited the car. It then passed through several owners, ending up in 1972 in the hands of Chuck and Rita Hannah of Hawthorne, New Jersey. Hannah was a LCOC member and professional auto restorer. He restored the car slowly over a period of 25 years, then died in 1997, before the restoration was complete. Then Mr. Kerr bought the car and had the restoration completed.

The car originated with a 1955 Lincoln chassis that was shipped to Italian designer Mario Boano of Turin, Italy, and a former partner in Ghia. While the chassis retained the 123-inch 1955 Lincoln wheelbase, it was given all new steel body and was powered by a pre-production 1956 Continental Mark II engine and 1955 Lincoln powertrain. The power steering and basic assemblies are also 1955 Lincoln. The steering wheel is stock 1955 Lincoln. The instrumentation looks like a 1955 Thunderbird but it is more Lincoln and Mercury than Thunderbird.

The car was first shown at the 1955 Turin Auto Show and arrived in the United States in late 1955.

Back in the fifties, Henry Ford made a lot of trips to Europe. He struck up a friendship with Mario Boano who left Ghia  coachbuilders of Turin, Italy, in 1953 and formed his own coachbuilding firm, along with his son, which was operated until 1956. During this period of time, Boano made yearly trips to Dearborn soliciting business from Ford and Chrysler.

Even though Henry Ford II commissioned the car and its unique styling, the car was not well received on the European show circuit. It never was put on the U.S. show circuit, and received very little publicity in the U.S., none of it very good. Perhaps this is why Henry Ford II decided to sell it to Errol Flynn in 1956. Ford was known to hob-nob with movie stars and sell or give them special cars.

The car did not follow Ford design trends of the time. In fact, nobody in Ford styling from those years remembers the car. There was an erroneous story at Ford that the car was lost in the Ford Rotunda fire in 1962. Most likely the Boanos designed the car, and they may have been influenced by a 1949 dead end design for a Lincoln Continental. That particular car could never be developed because it originated from an earlier GM design and Ford might have been sued had they ever promoted the car. So the Boano Lincoln has a strange and mysterious design history.

A lot of Ford show cars were non-functional, many were even made out of fiberglass. The Boano is an all steel car with complete running gear and everything works. We can only assume that both Henry Ford II and Errol Flynn drove the car because when the Hannahs bought it in 1972 the odometer showed 12,000 km or about 7,200 miles.

When the Hannahs bought the car it still ran well but had been damaged by a dash fire. Immediately, Chuck Hannah took the paint down to the bare metal and repainted it to its original orange color. He had a glass maker in Wisconsin reproduce the original windshield and black glass. But because customers’ cars always came first, Hannah never completed the restoration.

The car had a lot of trim, much of which the final restorer found to be incorrect by contacting Mr. Boano. The front and rear bumpers, the headlights, tail light pods, and the front fender chrome strips were all custom made as were most of the other trim pieces. The roof is permanent, it cannot be removed. At the openings of the back of the front fenders are fake exhaust pods. The openings at the front of the back fenders are also fake. But these openings could be made functional, the front ones to release engine heat and the rear ones to cool the rear brakes. The full wheel covers on the car are made of spun bronze with smaller Mark II type fins separately attached. The wheel covers are attached to special hubs on stock Lincoln wheels by “spinning” them. Under the hood the engine looks pretty much like a stock Mark II with Mark II aluminum valve covers. The fan shroud is about 15 inches deep and is made of finned and polished aluminum. The firewall and fender wells are covered with polished aluminum.

A checkered flag is located in front of the Indianapolis crest on each front fender. Gold plated script on the back fenders identify the car’s builder, Boano Torino.

Behind the Boano Torino script is the Boano family crest .An interesting feature of the car is a drawer where the spare tire and jack are located. The drawer is below the trunk area. It is released by a lever from inside the car. The center of the back bumper functions as a handle that pulls out with the drawer for easy access to the spare tire.

The car is strictly a two-passenger coupe, ala 1955-57 Thunderbird. It has a one piece seat bottom and separate seat backs that fold forward to give access to a very small luggage compartment. The car has no formal trunk. The power windows are operated by an internal cable and pulley mechanism.

The car has a 12-volt electrical system which Lincoln did not have until 1956. The dash knobs and parts are 1953 Lincoln.

The car’s color is a unique orange which was never used on a standard Lincoln, but a color similar to it was used on Mercury in he mid-fifties. This color is carried to the interior on the dashboard and seats which are also trimmed in white leather. Any way you look at it, the Boano Lincoln is a stunning car, and more in tune with the times today than in 1955.

The 1955 Lincoln Boano Coupe

The 1955 Lincoln Boano Coupe

ABOVE:  The Boano Coupe as illustrated on the cover of Auto Age, November 1955

Originally published in the January/February 1996 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 207).

For years, stories have circulated in the automotive community that some, and maybe most of the 1950’s concept cars long thought destroyed, still exist. Joe Bortz, who collects and features concept cars in his Chicago “Blue Suede Shoes” museum, has at least one Ford Motor Co. concept car from the ‘50s that was supposedly found deep in the Michigan woods many years after plant employees certified it as having been destroyed. Because the ‘50s concept cars usually weren’t road worthy, or if road worthy, not thoroughly tested, they were often destroyed at the end of their perceived useful life. This was common practice at Ford Motor Co. It was felt best to literally “eliminate” any potential liability problem. Even at Ford Motor Co., however, no consistent policy was followed. The 1955 Lincoln Futura survived to become TV’s Batmobile and the 1953 X 100 is to this day on display at the Henry Ford Museum.

According to a popular version of the story, employees unable to watch these beautiful machines cut up for scrap, spirited them out the back door in the middle of the night, and ever since then have kept them hidden in the woods, or more likely in private garages. As these employees have retired, or so the story goes, a few of these long hidden concept cars have come out of hiding. Until more of these “lost” concept cars either show up or with the passage of even more time, fail to appear, there is no real way of substantiating or debunking stories about other concept cars that are said to still exist but haven’t yet been documented. Based on the concept cars certified as destroyed, but confirmed to still exist, the least that can be said is that there is some truth to the stories.

One of the concept cars long thought destroyed is the 1955 Lincoln Boano Coupe, also called the Indianapolis Sports Coupe. The Boano Coupe is one of the most unusual looking Lincoln concept cars ever built. Although most concept cars contain styling features later found on production automobiles, it’s hard to see where any of the styling cues on the Boano Coupe ever made it into production. It certainly doesn’t look like any production Ford Motor Co. product ever built. Because the Boano Coupe was built in Italy at a time that the Ford Design Studio was also turning out a whole series of concept cars that accurately predicted styling on future Ford Motor Co. cars, it seems probable that the Lincoln Boano Coupe was intended to be a fancy, sporty type car for the boss and nothing more.


Most of Ford Motor Company’s records on the Boano Coupe were destroyed in the Ford Rotunda fire in 1962. Records that do exist claim that the Boano Coupe was destroyed in the late 1950’s. Contrary to what these records say, and to  paraphrase Samuel Clemens, reports of the demise of the Boano Coupe were premature.

Since 1972, LCOC members Chuck and Rith Hannah of Hawthorne, New Jersey, have owned the one and only Lincoln Boano Coupe. As nearly as they can tell, they are the fifth or sixth owners. Although they have not been able to document what they have been told about what happened after it left Ford Motor Co., it was apparently owned, at one time, by movie actor Errol Flynn, passed on to his niece at his death, was for sale at another time on Ed Juris’ Nyack, New York Showroom floor, and was later sold by its New Hampshire owner to a friend of the Hannahs. The Hannahs’ friend bought the Boano Coupe to restore, but after getting the first bill from a local restoration shop, he quickly changed his mind and sold it to the Hannahs. Chuck has talked to a salesman at the Ed Juris dealership who remembers the car and to Errol Flynn’s niece, a lady named Smith, who confirms that she inherited it from the famed movie actor upon his death.

Boano Coupe Badge

Built in 1954 but titled as a 1955 Lincoln, the Boano Coupe was at least the third special one-off car that Henry Ford II had built for his personal use. One of these earlier special cars was similar in looks to the post war Lincoln Continental V-12 but it was built on a Mercury chassis. See Continental Comments #184. The other one was a custom Model A Ford Sportsman designed by Bob Gregorie.

The Boano Coupe looks very vaguely similar to a 1984 drawing done by Bob Thomas, a retired Ford Motor Co. stylist, of a proposed 1949 Lincoln Continental. See Continental Comments #179.

The Boano Coupe was named after its builder, Italian designer Boano of Turin, a former partner of Ghia. It was built on a modified 1954 Lincoln chassis and has a 123” wheelbase like other 1954 Lincolns. The body is all steel. The car is also fully functional. It is powered by what appears to be a pre-production Continental Mark II engine, that even has cast aluminum Mark II valve covers. The power steering and brake assemblies look identical to those on the Mark II. The car, which has a metric speedometer and odometer, showed 12,000 km (about 7,200 miles) when the Hannahs bought it; the mileage appears to be original. The rest of the instruments are stock 1954 Lincoln. The engine has never been apart; the valve covers appear to have never been off. The engine and transmission numbers match original Ford Motor Co. records. The Hannahs have rebuilt the transmission and in the process were able to confirm that the transmission is the same as was used in the Mark II. Whether the engine & and transmission were with the chassis when sent to Italy for body construction, or were installed after the car was returned to Dearborn, is unknown. (The car was first shown at the 1955 Turin Auto Show and arrived in the United States in late 1955.) The electrical system is 6 volt.

By the time the Boano Coupe was built, plans for the Mark II were fairly well set, and thus it seems unlikely that it was ever considered as a prototype Continental.

1955 Lincoln Boano

From 1959 until he retired in 1985, Chuck Hannah operated a full time automobile restoration business. Chuck says he has always been partial to Lincolns. The first car he restored was his own 1948 Lincoln Continental coupe. In addition to Duesenbergs, Rolls-Royces, and Pierce-Arrows, Chuck has restored several 1941 Lincoln Continentals, three 1942 Lincoln Continentals, his own 1942 Custom, several Mark IIs, including his own, lots of Lincoln-Zephyrs and so many ‘60s four door
convertibles that he has lost track of the number. He admits to having owned at least ten ‘60s Lincolns. Since retirement, Chuck has limited his collector cars to a 1954 Lincoln Capri two-door hardtop, a Jeepster, a 1965 and a 1966 Corvair, two Cadillac Fleetwoods, a 1950 Cadillac Derham limousine originally built for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and the 1955 Lincoln Boano Coupe.

Ford Motor Co. was surprised to find out that the Boano Coupe still existed, but was very helpful in supplying the Hannahs with the information still available. They also offered to buy the car back, if the Hannahs ever decide to sell it.

When the Hannahs bought the Boano Coupe, it ran well, but had been damaged by a dash fire. Heat or fire had scorched the dash and driver’s seat, and cracked the front windshield. The back window was apparently broken out to gain access to fight the fire. The carpeting was gone, probably removed as a result of fire damage, but there was evidence that the carpeting had originally been orange.

Chuck Hannah with the Boano Coupe

Right after the Hannahs brought the Boano Coupe home, Chuck began its restoration. The orange paint was removed right down to the metal. The metal finishing on the car is fantastic. All butt welds on the hand constructed body are finished so well, very little filler was originally used or was necessary during restoration. Chuck was able to match the original paint to a stock Lamborgini color. The car’s custom Italian made radiator was rebuilt, and all the chrome and 24 carat gold plating were redone. The original detailing was fabulous.

After months of trying to find replacement windshield and back glass, Chuck contacted a glass manufacturer in Wisconsin who agreed to reproduce them. Molds were made by putting stiff mesh wire into the rubber moldings in place of the windshield and back glass, and then making the form rigid by applying fiberglass resin to the wire mesh.

Because someone else’s car always came first, the Hannahs have never completed the restoration of the Boano Coupe. Consequently, it’s spent most of the time since 1972 in the shop and out of public view. Right now, it’s being repainted again. As soon as that’s done, and the car is back together, the Hannahs plan to get it on the road and to an LCOC national meet.

Contemporary articles published when the car was new don’t do a very good job of describing the car. Just above the front bumper in the center, the name Lincoln is spelled out in small block letters, and on the front just below the hood is a gold plated Lincoln crest identical to the crest used on the 1948 Lincoln Continental. The front and rear bumpers, the headlight pods, tail light pods and the front fender chrome strips were all custom made as were most of the other trim pieces. The roof is fixed; it cannot be removed. The gas filler is located in the center of where the trunk lid would otherwise be and is released by an interior lever. There is no exterior trunk or outside rearview mirror. At the openings at the back of the front fenders are fake exhaust pipes. The openings at the front of the back fenders are also fake. (Contemporary news articles explained that if the car was put into production the front fender openings would be used to exhaust engine heat, and the rear fender openings would be used to cool the back brakes.) The full wheel covers on the car are made of spun bronze with smaller Mark II type fins separately attached. The wheel covers are attached to special hubs on stock Lincoln wheels by “spinning” them on.

The hood is hinged from the back by chrome plated cast hood hinges. When opened, springs on the hood hinges hold the hood up without need for other support. The fan shroud is about 15 inches deep and made of finned and polished aluminum. The firewall and fender wells are covered by polished aluminum panels.



A checkered flag is located in front of Indianapolis script on each front fender. Gold plated script on the back fenders identify the car’s builder, Boano Torino. Behind the Boano Torino script is the Boano family crest. The same crest is also on the plate where the back license plate would normally be recessed into the center of the back bumper with a Plexiglass cover in the same shape as the bumper. (There is no provision for a front license plate.)

The most interesting exterior feature of the Boano Coupe is the drawer where the spare tire and jack are located. The drawer is below the trunk area. It is also released by a lever from inside the car. The center of the back bumper between the tail light pods functions as a handle that pulls out with the drawer for easy access to the spare tire.

The car is strictly a two passenger model. It has a one piece seat bottom and separate seat backs that fold forward to give access to a small luggage area behind the seats. The upholstery is orange and white pleated leather. The power door windows are operated by an internal cable and pulley mechanism. The door garnish moldings are painted metal shaped to appear as if a continuation of the instrument panel. The black steering wheel and steering column are stock 1954 Lincoln. The turn signal stalk and the shifting control are also stock 1954 Lincoln and are located on the steering column. The metal unpadded instrument panel is car color, but there is no radio (although one was installed aftermarket). There is no glove box either. The instrument panel face can be closed off by means of a metal panel that unlocks and slides down out of sight to reveal controls and full instrumentation finished in 24 carat gold plate.

1955 Lincoln Boano Coupe images

There you have it. A very unusual one-of-a-kind Lincoln long thought lost is really alive and well and awaiting completion of its restoration. If the truth be known, the Hannahs are probably a little puzzled by all the fuss others are making over the car that, to them, has never been lost.

What about the other “lost” concept cars? If they are out there, how do we encourage their owners to go public? There’s probably not one answer that fits all situations, but there are solutions. After 30 or 40 years, Ford Motor Co. is probably as happy as hobbiests to learn that these national treasures may still exist.

Webmaster Note:  A special thank you to David Moyer for sharing this color photo of the Boano Coupe taken at the 2007 Greenwich, CT, Concours d’Elegance.

1955 Lincoln Boano Coupe Color Photo

News from the Norway Region

News from the Norway Region

Originally published in the November-December 2003 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 255).

News from the Norway Region

By Birger Hoelstad, President (2003), Norway Region

In February, we had our first meet of the year. This was strictly a social event as very few Lincolns are out on the road during wintertime in Norway (in 4 feet snow). We celebrated the founding of LCOC Norway, (February 25th 1999).

Then, May 10 was our National Lincoln Meet. We met on the beautiful Frognerseteren high up in the hills surrounding Oslo. We have this meet every year, and normally about 30 Lincolns come. But on this day, we parked the 11 cars that showed up next to the snowbank, in a rainstorm and 45 degree weather.

On June 21 and 22, we had our LCOC Anniversary Meet in the v94 Olympic city of Lillehammer, celebrating LCOC’s 50 years and Ford’s 100 years. People showed up from as far as Trondheim in the north and Stavanger in the southwest, many driving together and turning quite a few heads along the road. (There are very few Lincolns in Norway, approximately 470 cars). The Radisson SAS Hotel was nice, and in the Lincoln-hall where we had our awards banquet, a Mark V Diamond Jubilee was parked under spotlights. All participating cars were awarded the same anniversary badge as the ones in Dearborn. Something that was very surprising to all the participants.

We also visited a car museum in Lillehammer, and saw a 1928 model Lincoln Limousine. The next day arrived with beautiful weather, and the “Most Outstanding Lincoln” was awarded to a beautiful ‘77 Mark V, owned by Berit & Kjell Bokseth.

On July 4, we had a meet together with other clubs, celebrating America. Approximately 3,000 American cars showed up for this “happening”. Our next Lincolns Meet was on September 7, this time on a big campsite on one of the other hills surrounding Oslo, a place with wonderful view.