By Bob MacDougal
Originally published in the January/February 1996 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 207).
While vacationing in Cape Cod over Columbus Day weekend, I was reading want ads in the local paper, and came across an ad for an antique auto yard sale of 100 old cars, including 21 Lincolns, mostly Zephyrs and some Continentals. The sale started the next day at 10 am. Our son, Mike was staying with us for the weekend and said he would like to come along. So we borrowed some tools from my neighbor, packed a lunch and left at 8:30 am. so we would be there when it opened.
We were some of the first ones there, and the owner told us that his father had passed away and left him the cars and trucks, and left his sister the house and land. She had given him one week to remove the cars, as she was going to clear the property and sell it. By now, it was raining a downpour, so we put on our raincoats and headed into the brush and trees. The place was a disaster. The cars had been driven or pushed into a field, and the brush and trees had grown up around and through them.
I gave Mike a crash course in 1940 to ‘48 Lincoln grilles, and he went on ahead. I kept hearing calls of “here’s another one”, as I checked out the ones we had already found. I yelled back “keep talking” so I can find you. The brush was so dense that when I was checking out a 1941 five-window coupe and turned to leave, there was a 1942 Lincoln sedan only 15 feet away and we hadn’t noticed it.
The owner was very adamant that he only wanted to sell whole cars and not parts. The Lincolns were just rusted-out hulks and wouldn’t even make fair parts cars, let alone something to be restored. We came back the next day and managed to talk him into selling us some water pumps and exhaust manifolds off some V-12s which were lying on the ground covered
up with old car hoods. He told us that he might sell parts off the cars on Friday and Saturday if we wanted to come back then.
I returned on Saturday morning with fellow LCOC member, Howard Ryan and plenty of tools. Howard brought his trailer, as he hoped to get the Mark II that was there. The owner wanted $1,800 for the Mark II but was now down to $500. It was so badly rusted, it wasn’t worth that, so Howard salvaged some parts from the ‘42 while I worked on a pair of ‘41 sedans.
We were working less than 100 feet apart but still couldn’t see each other. We just yelled back and forth to keep in touch on our progress. After spending most of the day working on and checking out cars, taking pictures and talking to the owner, we called it a day.
All together, we counted 11 pre-war Zephyrs, mostly 1940-’41, including two ‘41 convertibles, three post-war Lincolns, three post-war Lincoln Continental Cabriolets, one ‘49 Cosmopolitan, two 1956 Lincolns and one Mark II. All of the cars were in such extremely bad condition that very little was salvageable. If you opened a hood or trunk lid it would break off at the hinges. When I tried to open the door of the ‘41 five-window coupe I found myself sitting on the ground with the door handle in my hand and the door still closed.
On the long drive home, I had time to think about how sad it was that all these cars, not just the Lincolns, had gone to waste. The owner told us that this was the second time the yard was cleared. During the Korean war, his father and uncle had sold for scrap metal a yard full of cars and then started collecting all over again.
Neighbors that we met while we were looking around told us that the father and uncle would never let anyone on the property or sell a part. The owner was going to save one of the 1941 convertibles and fix it up. He’s about 20 years late.
Out of respect for the owner’s privacy, I will only say that the yard was located somewhere in Massachusetts, and by now all the cars have gone to be crushed.