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1970 Lincoln
Mark III

MPG?  We don't need no steenkin' MPG!

March 10, 2006 - Been a while since I updated information on the Lincoln.  She's been sitting most of the time time since November.  The manifold fix worked great - I drove the car a few times to work and around the area, and there's no sign of a leak.  However, the power window quit going up.  I thought it was just the switch, but turns out the motor itself was bad.  I got  new motor off of eBay that same night, but then took more than two months to get it installed.  With the driver's door all apart, i let the car sit in the driveway.  Anyway, I finally got the new motor installed tonight.  The job was very easy, as someone had replaced the motor in the past.  See the three holes?  They allow access to the motor mounting bolts, and are NOT factory-supplied.  Happily, I remembered how to get all the pieces of the door back together,  and the window rolls up and down great.  Now I can drive her again!
November 6, 2005 - Ken dressed the manifold at the machine shop and got it all back together.  We had an old car tour this weekend, but I decided not to try the Lincoln out on a long trip (I'd registered the Studebaker, anyway.)   We came back from the tour tonight, and gal-friend Jeanie offered to drive the Lincoln home for me, since we were going to be close to Ken's. It fired up on the first click of the key and ran great - smooth and quiet.  We got her home with no incident, and I just pulled her into the driveway for the night.  So far, so good.  She's ready to drive!  This weekend was a busy one for Lincoln purchases on eBay.  I got a rebuilt carb and some literature, and located the missing 'Continental' script for the driver's side headlight cover.
October 29, 2005 - Drove the Lincoln out to my friend's this morning - I put the one good bolt back in and took it easy - surprisingly, the exhaust leak didn't get any worse despite having three bolts broken off.  Ken wasn't there, so I left the car and came back home.  When I checked back later today, he'd already gotten the manifold off!  The broken bolts are not accessible to his angle drill, but he recommended trying the manifold with the 5 remaining bolts.  The 460 has a metal-to-metal manifold mating surface, and the manifold itself gets warped.  He is going to take the manifold to the machine shop and finish it off, then we can put it on with a gasket and 5 new bolts.  He thinks it will hold as-is.  If it works, great.  If not, the worst I am out is one gasket. 
October 24, 2005 - Things may not be as bleak as I first thought.  A friend in the old car club used to own a machine shop, and told me to bring the Lincoln over to his place.  The exhaust bolts are apparently a common problem on the 460 engines.  There's a chance we can get the rest of the bolts out intact using heat, and then either work out or drill out the two snapped-off studs.  Almost anything beats pulling the head.  I'll drive her out this weekend and see what we can figure.
October 22, 2005 - What's wrong with this picture?  Ummmm - let's see.  Could it be that two bolts are short and one is long?  Could it be that they all started out the same length?  Could it be that I am in deep doo-doo?  Well, it's not all THAT awful, but those are three of the eight bolts that hold the Lincoln's left exhaust manifold on.  I tried replacing the manifold gasket today, and the 36 year-old bolts just did not cooperate.  The Lincoln has solid lock washers, and the bolts threads were completely enclosed, which meant I couldn't use penetrating oil.  The first bolt came out fine, but the next three snapped - one had the top break off, but the other two snapped at the block.  Which means I have to pull the head and have the bolts drilled and tapped.  So much for a simple job.  The Lincoln will be laid up a while - but that's all part of old cars.  Nothing disastrous, just disappointing.
October 20, 2005 - The Lincoln got new tires today.  I took off a bit early from work and got her fitted with new 225/75R15 whitewalls.  The old tires were so dry and hard that the shop had to practically beat them off the rims.  It's a relief not to have to worry about a blowout.  The new rubber rides great and looks good.  Too late for pictures - I'll try for some this weekend.  I am going to see how hard it is to do the manifold.  I'm still in the cast until next Friday, but I might be able to manage.

(Note - got a picture today.  No big deal, but they do look nice. It was actually hard to find whitewalls in this size - most vehicles running 225/75 tires these days are trucks!)

October 17, 2005 - Day 3 of Lincoln ownership (at least, at home).  The battery has been suspect since it wouldn't start the car on Tuesday, and it has been troublesome off and on - I went ahead and replaced it tonight.  So far so good.  I also got the car up on jack stands hoping the exhaust donut was easy to get to.  It was - but the leak is at the manifold.  Drat!  Looks like I'll have to either wait a few weeks to get my cast off, or pay a shop to replace the gasket.  On the plus side, the exhaust system looks good.  In fact the entire underside of the car is remarkably clean for 36 years.  No rust I can see, and the oil pan is clean and dry.
October 16, 2005 - I had company in today, so all I managed was a quick trip to Pick-N-Pull (formerly U-Wrench-It) to see if they had anything useful.  There's a couple of 1970's Ford products there with hideaway headlights - might be worth picking up a spare diaphragm.  No luck getting seat switches, but I have some located on eBay, and also have the phone number of a Lincoln Specialty salvage yard that may not be too bad.  I gave the interior another treatment of leather conditioner.  The upholstery is in beautiful shape.  I also discovered that the car has an Aoogha horn!  Gotta explore under the front end - there are other buttons under the dash that may activate lasers.  Didn't Matt Helm drive a Mark III?.
October 15, 2005 - Long-time friend Charlie rode up with me this morning to bring the Lincoln home.  I was prepared for the worst - I took the truck, with a tow bar setup, air tank, oil, brake fluid, and my tools.  However, the car made it home with only one problem - the right rear tire (at right) started to come apart, but I pulled over and change it before it blew.  Other than that, the ride was smooth and pleasant.  The suspension and steering are tight, the car has no rattles or squeaks - all in all, it feels as solid as the day it was made.  She needs tire and that #$@! exhaust leak has to be fixed.  I'm hoping it's the donut, but it could also be the manifold. In any case, the car drives great, and promises to be a great ride for car club tours.  Don't know if she'll make the Fall Tour, as that's just a couple of weeks away, and my broken wrist has me really limited.  Not so limited, however, that I couldn't spend all day cleaning.  As soon as I dropped Charlie back off at his house, I  got to work.
As you can see by the picture of the hood (left), the long-neglected paint is still in excellent shape.  I went over it with Maguire's Paint Cleaner, then polish, then wax.  No sign of any thin spots, and the color is really nice.  A deep metallic brown.  It's the same color combination they used in advertisements.  As far as I know, the car was repainted only once, in 1980.  The color is a perfect match for the original paint in the jambs, and shows no fading at all.
One part that DID show fading was the vinyl top.  The Mark III has a special fabric with light padding that is distinctive, and expensive to replace.  While I figured I could clean it up some, one coat of Armor-All restored even, like-new color!  The chrome is excellent all over - no rust or even noticeable dings or scrapes. After spending most of the day washing, polishing, and waxing, the Lincoln is really looking good. 

I decided to attack the interior while I still had some light.  Out with the trash, the paper floor mat from the moving company, and everything else loose.  Then I took out the dead aftermarket 8-track player, and Pep Boys compass and altimeter.  The water injection switch taped to the turn signal lever also went away.

There is a bottle of leather conditioner in the trunk, and it's pretty obvious that the previous owner used it.  The car's upholstery is in amazing condition - leather and vinyl are still a perfect match, with no damage or obvious wear.  Even the original brown shag carpet is still excellent, with no sign of sun fading anywhere.  The clock is still working - but the time isn't right - it may be stopping and starting.

The passenger side power seat switches are bad - I was able to get the seat all the way forward, but it wouldn't go back.  Happily, I was able to open up the armrest and jump the switch contacts to get the seat back to a normal position.  I disconnected the switch for now.  It got too dark to get interior shots tonight - I'll post one tomorrow.  Considering I have only spend one day, and am working with one arm, I am very pleased with progress.  The car looks really beautiful!

October 12, 2005 - I was going through receipts from the glove box, and figured out that the car was owned by a Clifford Larson from new until 2000, when TJ's grandmother bought the car.  There was an old address, so I tried Google and actually got a current address and phone number!  Since it was only 7 p.m. their time, I decided to call.  Mrs. Larson answered, and after she found out I had the Mark II, put me on with her husband.  Mr. Larson, now 86, was terrific - he told me all about the car, and the work he had done while he owned it.  He had a fleet of Mark Lincolns for a while - a 1942 Mark I, a 1956 mark II, the 1970 Mark III, and a 1980 Mark V.  He started to trade the Mark II in on the 1980 model, but the dealer wouldn't give him enough for it due to bad paint and exhaust.  Luckily for me, he decided to have the repainted and kept it as a fun car for twenty more years!  He answered one mystery - the pushbutton switch taped to the turn signal is a home-made water injector system he installed!  Water injection was the nitrous oxide of the 1950s, and you could get a power boost by pressing the button.  It also cleaned the heads.  He rigged up his own system using windshield washer parts.  Sounds interesting, but I expect I'll pull it all out when I get it.
October 11, 2005 - I took the afternoon off and drove up to Ashland to see the Lincoln first hand.  Despite my confidence in 'the feeling,' I've been a little nervous about this latest purchase.  Happily, I seem to have done well.  The car is clean and solid, with no rust.  I can't find any appreciable dings or dents, and the vinyl roof is intact, if faded.  The inside looks good - better than I expected.  Nice leather, no cracks in the dash, and while it has some junky accessories like a compass and after-market 8-track, they were carefully installed using existing holes and hardware.  Should be easy to remove.  The tires look OK - some cracking around the rims, but they should get me 100 miles to Norfolk. 
The battery was low - she wouldn't crank.  I jumped her with the Olds and she fired up and smoothed out.  Good oil pressure, runs cool.  There's an exhaust leak - manifold gasket or donut, I think.  Nothing serious.  No smoke, and even the AC compressor is kicking in.  I decided to move the car 5 miles to my cousin's house.  About halfway there, I glance down and discover that the gas gauge is on empty.  $76.82 later, the tank is full - and my wallet is empty.  Well, I knew it wasn't an economy car.  Other than the bottomless gas tank, the car drives great.  The steering is tight and alignment is good - brakes feel great, and the transmission is smooth.  I went ahead and grabbed the receipts from the glove box.  Might be able to figure out some of the car's history.  After that, I took my cousins to dinner at Outback (cheaper to feed all three of us than to feed the Lincoln!), and rolled home.  I'll be back up Saturday to get her.

October 10, 2005 - The Lincoln arrived in Ashland today, a week ahead of schedule!  At least, that's what the tracking information from DAS is telling me.  The DAS representative at the depot has already gone home, and the person who answers the phone doesn't know how to look up the car.  I'll call in the morning.  If it is in, I may drive up after work for a quick look.  What?  Me anxious?  Naaaah.
October 3, 2005 - DAS picked up the Mark III today, right on schedule.  They had to flatbed the car from Ferndale to their depot 100 miles away.  I've started getting literature on eBay.  Got a complete factory shop manual set tonight, and picked up sales folders and some car magazine articles over the weekend.  The car is due in October 17th.  Gonna be a long two weeks!
September 30, 2005 - Good news today - DAS Shippers, the company that moved my 1951 Studebaker Land Cruiser last year from Omaha, can pick up the Lincoln Monday (Oct. 3rd)!  Better yet, the one-week delay pushed the move into October, and their rates dropped substantially from $1500 to $1222!  So I end up with the car for $3,000 total after all.  I overnighted the check yesterday, and TJ got it today.  Whew!  Well, the car is mine and should be on its way soon.  I might have it ready for the car club Winter Tour the first weekend in November!
September 25, 2005 - I bought a 1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III last night!  WHAT WAS I THINKING!?!?!  :grin:   I saw the car on eBay early last week while I was vacationing in Massachusetts.  It's in Washington State, about 20 miles from where the Centaur Scooter came from.  The car looked really clean, and was the triple brown combination - very pretty.  And it gave me 'The Feeling.'  This probably sounds silly, but I get a connection with a car every now and then.  So far, that feeling has never let me down - those cars have been great.  Even so, the Mark III was on the other side of the country, and I really don't need anything else with wheels - especially one that gets 10 mpg.  So I made a token bid that did not meet reserve, and forgot about it. 
TJ, the owner called me after the auction ended - he'd dropped reserve to $2,000.  Turns out his grandmother gave him the car when she stopped driving, and it's just not his kind of car.  But he wanted it to go to a good home.  I was interested, before finding out shipping was $1500.  That pushed it well over the $3,000 limit I had set for 'stupid, useless purchases.'   I got back in touch and said 'no thanks', then forgot about it again.  Until last night, that is. 

I had just gotten back from the Emergency Room after breaking my left wrist and thumb crashing the Centaur scooter (it wasn't hurt, happily).  He offered the car for $1700, and while my brain was saying "You don't need another car!" my mouth was saying 'Yes."  They don't always connect.

Anyway, what's done is done.  And I can't say I am unhappy, though I have to admit to being nervous.  The car sounds OK, and looks pretty good in the photos.  If the main components are OK, I'll be fine.  And as for the mileage?  Well, I didn't buy it as a daily driver.  Time to start getting shipping quotes and checking out eBay!  Plus, I need to figure out where I'll put the car when it gets here.  Gonna take some creative shuffling to find room for 20 feet and 4600 pounds!

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