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.

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