Day 4 Highlights of the 2022 LCOC Western National Meet

Day 4 Highlights of the 2022 LCOC Western National Meet

Day 4 Highlights of the 2022 LCOC Western National Meet

Written by Elayne Bendel
Reproduced with permission
The 2022 Western National Meet is now history but coming as it did in the “playground of the stars” it did not lack for drama. The spectacular scenery and setting at the DoubleTree Hotel and Desert Princess Country Club put us in the mood.

At first light early Saturday morning John Burge’s team of elves laid out the show field and our gorgeous Lincolns rumbled onto the Desert Princess fairway for a day of celebration of our collector car hobby. Lincolns ranging from first generation Continentals of the early 1940s to modern-day Aviators and everything in between were displayed.

How can we measure the thousands of hours of work owners put into their vehicles getting them ready for this event? A few photos below give a small flavor of our stunning show field. The oohs and ahs of the spectators testified to the spectacle.

A links-side condo served as a convenient meeting place for judges to tally results and a spot for cold water and brief rest for exhibitors. Kudos to Kerry Roscoe for organizing the refreshments there and at the hotel’s hospitality suite.

But Mother Nature had a few surprises in store. During our stay temperatures soared to nearly 100 degrees and toward the end of our show brisk winds began pummeling the show field. By evening they achieved gale force and the next morning we awoke to find fine desert powder clinging to our vehicles and invading interiors as well.

Fortunately, our lovely outdoor cocktail reception and buffet at the MonStore Garage on Friday evening was free of intrusive winds. And the DoubleTree staff were able to pivot quickly at our request and convert what had been planned as a patio reception prior to the Saturday awards banquet to an indoor event. Whew!

Host John Burge, left below, and LCOC President John Talbourdet presided at the awards banquet which also featured a brief video retrospective of Lincoln’s storied first century. Award plaques were presented to winners in the Touring and Primary classes, Lincoln Trophies to first place winners across several Primary classes and Emeritus and Senior class trophy awards. We will publish the list of award winners as soon as we receive it. At this time we can report that the Elliston H. Bell Founder’s Trophy for Best in Show was awarded to Jim Ayres for his 1988 Mark VII Bill Blass model.

But on Sunday when John Walcek set up his camera and tri-pod for photos of some of the trophy winners he and the camera could barely remain upright in the face of the wind. When the photos are published no one likely will notice but the elements did present special challenges to the photographer, subjects and the vehicles themselves.

No event of this scope is without its issues but the 2022 meet had some extra ones due to the Covid pandemic and the uncertainty involved in planning it caused. Meet co-chairs John Burge and Ron Cressy persisted and special thanks must go not only to them but to the entire Western Region Board of Directors and the Meet Planning Team, who also had cars in the show. Bazil LaRoche and Russell Harmon helped almost everywhere, including at least registration, silent auction, show field layout and a/v support at the banquet.

Stacy Roscoe was the assistant chief judge, conducted a judging seminar and helped with the trophies, while Mike Steiner, John Kiszla and Brian Kelegian also presented valuable technical seminars. Paul Temple and his team at LCOC National managed the trophies and helped with at least judging and event planning, structure and national publicity.

Our reception hosts for the three nights worked exceptionally hard to guarantee a great experience. Kudos to Wednesday’s hosts Frank Wenzel and Kent Vandenberg.

Thanks to Robert Reed and Rick DeRothchild, Andy Linksy, Barry LeBlanc & Michael McGee, Dennis Duca & David Peck, Steve Aaron and Paul Michelson.

Friday’s event at the MonStore Garage was led by Brad Prescott and Jeff Stork plus fellow collectors Aaron Leider and Michael Lewis, Chris Menrad, J. J. Johnson, and Wick and Allison, whom we sincerely thank and Lynn Hammond Catering, Scott King and Sandy Edelstein.

We also thank Ron Cressy and Ray Gonzales for opening their Vickroy collection to us during Thursday’s Yucca Valley driving tour.

This meet had its share of mechanical issues, breakdowns and unplanned emergencies. In all cases our members stepped up to assist and those who were aided sincerely appreciate the help. By now we hope most of you who attended are safely home—many of you with some shiny new hardware—-and are basking in the memory of our 2022 LCOC Western National Meet in the playground of the stars.

Day 3 Highlights of the 2022 LCOC Western National Meet

Day 3 Highlights of the 2022 LCOC Western National Meet

Day 3 Highlights of the 2022 LCOC Western National Meet

Written by Elayne Bendel
Reproduced with permission
Friday’s daytime agenda focused on two local landmoarks—the fabulous Sunnylands Estate in Rancho Mirage and the famous Shields Date Garden in Indio.
Sunnylands was first. This gorgeous 200-acre property was once the home of Walter and Lee Annenberg and hosted world leaders on numerous occasions as they relaxed and enjoyed the desert lifestyle while tackling important world issues. We walked the same manicured grounds where presidents Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama strolled in the sunshine and where Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles had visited among many other world leaders. An excellent film introduced both the Annenbergs shown at left below and with famous guests plus the storied history of the property.
Annenberg was a wealthy publisher, noted for his visionary publications TV Guide and Seventeen and for TV icon American Bandstand which was based in Philadelphia and gave Dick Clark his start. Annenberg and wife Lee were extraordinary hosts and established numerous charitable ventures to promote communications studies and harmony by bringing opposing sides together in Sunnylands’ congenial atmosphere to find common ground.

Today the Annenberg Foundation operates the $35 million Sunnylands Visitors Center we visited. The perfectly groomed cactus gardens and reflecting pools were irresistible attractions for shutterbugs and our own John Walcek was first among them. While positioning some of us for a group shot inside the garden he moved Jim Ayres a bit for better composition. Unfortunately, the sudden gesture made Jim stumble backwards directly into a barrel cactus. Ouch! Luckily he regained balance before landing on his rear. Being pricked in the leg was bad enough but I shudder to think of those consequences!

Next stop was the Shields Date Garden, a local institution since 1924, where patio dining and lunch awaited. Excellent cobb salad, cheeseburger or chicken sandwich plus drinks were on the menu. Behind the restaurant was a garden of date palms and other desert plants, a pond and Biblical references along the pathway.

The scene reminded me of the oasis in the movie Ben-Hur where he overnights and meets the sheik who owns the horses he drives in the climactic chariot race. Beautiful date palms formed the perfect setting for our Shields visit. The orientation film taught us it can take 15 to 20 years before date palms are commercially productive and that growing dates is a very labor intensive and specialized occupation. Some 48 female palm trees are planted and just one male tree among them. When it flowers workers harvest the pollen and then pollinate the female trees. When the young dates appear about half are removed so the trees can support the weight of those that remain. Shrouds protect the dates from rain. More than 95% of U.S. dates come from this valley.

Floyd Shields, who was a date novice when he arrived in California learned quickly. In just three years he began hybridizing the dates. Today numerous varieties are offered for sale and some of us enjoyed refreshing “date shakes.”

A self guided architecture tour of celebrity homes such as Frank Sinatra’s followed the Shields visit for some and for others technical seminars were held at the hotel at the same time. So much to do and so little time!

After a very busy day of touring and learning we enjoyed an evening hosted bar, yummy buffet and live entertainment at the MonStore Garage. The event at MonStore was led by Brad Prescott and Jeff Stork plus fellow collectors Aaron Leider and Michael Lewis, Chris Menrad, J. J. Johnson, and Wick and Allison, whom we sincerely thank. About 30 of our meet cars lined both sides of the large patio where guest tables were set up. Who could ask for a better setting and a way to greet our friends and make new ones? We dined in comfort as the sun went down on a great day, but not before we generously supported our silent auction fundraiser. The sandman beckoned for sweet dreams of Saturday’s concours.

Next will be our fabulous Lincoln concours and awards banquet.
Day 2 Highlights of the 2022 LCOC Western National Meet

Day 2 Highlights of the 2022 LCOC Western National Meet

Day 2 Highlights of the 2022 LCOC Western National Meet

Written by Elayne Bendel
Reproduced with permission
Day 2 of our very busy weekend began with a driving tour of mostly undeveloped desert landscapes along scenic Highway 62.

On a sizzling day with temperatures approaching 100 degrees we chugalugged up a long grade to the rural community of Yucca Valley, home of the very large and diverse Vickroy car collection. LCOC’s own Ron Cressy and partner Ray Gonzales have gathered over 150 cars there ranging from antiques to modern marvels. Some are housed in an old dealership facility that once offered both new and used cars for sale, while others are across the main road in nearby warehouses. There is also a very large library of brochures, manuals and advertising from this era.

Locals know that besides Vickroy Yucca Valley is home to the Lincoln Boys, a parts yard of ’60s Lincolns, where more than a few of us have come to browse and buy on other occasions.

Nowadays one can explore Vickroy and find anything from a group of Rolls-Royces to vintage radios, car models, motorcycles and bikes, mid-century cars such as Chryslers, Lincolns, Cadillacs, and many others including Country Squire wagons, Packards, Studebakers, Desotos, Imperials, Kaisers, Buicks and vintage trailers.
One rare finned vehicle was the last Packard model produced. Counting the fins one can probably see why!

Another fascinating find on our tour was a car that began life as a pre-1970 Renault but was converted many years ago to an electric vehicle by an enterprising engineer who named it after himself—the Mars II Electric. That is not a motor under the hood but a whole slew of batteries.

Our adventure at Vickroy including a very delicious and interesting pre-paid vegetarian lunch from the restaurant next door. We simply walked over there ordered off the menu of daily specials and brought it back to the facility.

Here is a small sample of the cars we saw.

Just up the road from Yucca Valley is Pioneertown which was established in 1946 as a “living, breathing movie set” and made famous by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in their popular 1950s TV series. Robin Cohen and Elayne Bendel ventured up there and grabbed a liquid refreshment at Pappy & Harriet’s before heading down the grade and back to the DoubleTree Hilton.

Robin and Elayne take the pause that refreshes at Pioneertown.

A hosted bar and hors oeuvres al fresco at the Valdiivia car collection Thursday was the evening capper. Members’ cars vied for attention with those on site. John Linvog’s 1962 Lincoln sedan was among the favorites.

Tomorrow read about our journey to Sunnylands, how one of us did battle with a cactus and how we learned about the sex lives of dates.