In July 2001, I went to see Charlie and was very impressed with him. He had over 20 years experience restoring old cars, and when I asked around, I found out he had a good reputation. All he does is restorations; no insurance stuff. His personal car impressed Jay Leno at the Atlantic City Car Show, but Charlie wouldnít sell. He told me up front that he would take the car, evaluate it and let me know what he thought the cost would be. He also told me that he would not be able to do anything for at least 3 months. I was OK with that, and told him to make arrangements to have the car moved. So in August he had the car moved to his location. Over the next few months, I was introduced to Ebay. What a concept! You could find anything you wanted. My wife found a few Lincolns on Ebay, and one was close. There was a running 63 Sedan in Saugerties, NY. The auction had ended, but I was able to make a deal with the guy. So in November, I rented a truck and dolly and drove the 5 hours to pick it up. Charlie told me that the parts alone should be well worth the $2,500. By that time, he had a chance to look at the car and put together a plan of action. We decided to restore the parts car instead of grandpop's car because the parts car was in better shape.
In December, Charlie told me he was moving to a larger garage on my side of town. As a result of the move, he wasnít able to start the car until January 2002. He took the car apart and sandblasted the body. There was a ton of rust, so we decided to restore the parts car. The parts car needed alot of work, but not as much as grandpop's car, so the surgery began. He painstakingly cut out all the rust and welded in newly formed parts. Basically, the entire floor pan had to be rebuilt from the gas pedal to the rear seat. He remade the bottom of the doors and welded in new sheet metal as needed on the body. The deck lid was trash, so I had to find one.
All the while, I had been searching on Ebay for parts. Iíd print off a list of parts and ask Charlie if we could use it, and how much it was worth. If I got it at the price, I was happy. If it went for more than what Charlie though it was worth, I passed. As time went by, Charlie worked on the car and I amassed parts. I found a deck lid at Lincoln Land in Florida, bought weather stripping and leather for the seats from Bakerís in Connecticut. Charlie finally had the body done to the point that he was ready to paint. After looking at manufacturerís paint chips and the original color chips, we found a match. In the meantime, the car was gutted. The engine and transmission were out being rebuilt, the seats and dash were in his storage garage, and I spent the entire moth of October working on 2 sets of trim. Then in November, he drops a bombshell; heís having health problems and wonít be able to finish the car. Heíll get the bodywork completely done, but Iíll have to get someone else to put it back together. Just my luck!
I started calling friends who had cars, asking them if they knew someone who could complete the job. After talking to a few people, I got disgusted and decided to have it done right. I called Steve at Bakerís and asked him for his help.