1967 Lincoln Continental convertible sedan
My first toy was a '67 Lincoln 4-door convertible that I purchased in 1978 from Ron Baker in Connecticut. The car was originally from Long Island, and had been well used before I found it. It was the only car in Ron's inventory that I could afford to purchase. It was completely optioned (AM/FM/8-track, climate control, cruise, tilt, dimmer, buckets and console, rolling power door locks, power vent windows), and seemed to run well. Every body panel on the car was either dented, scraped, nicked, chipped, or rusted. The floors were somewhat religious (lots of rust holes). The car was all black, which would be changed slightly during the restoration process.
I drove the car back to Chicago from Connecticut, and used it as a daily driver for six months. During that period, I took the car to numerous auto body repair shops collecting estimates on restoring the body and paint. The conversation would abruptly end when I asked if they would be willing to guarantee no ripples or waves down either side of the body (it is a slab-side, remember).
Then I asked Mr. Baker the same question. He said "Absolutely". So off we went, back to Connecticut, stopping at my first LCOC National Meet on the way. I had the only car on the judging field that had dents and rust, but I didn't care. I dropped the car at Ron's shop a few days later, and began sending money east on a regular basis.
Two of the doors received new skins. Two of the fenders (I don't remember which) were replaced. The copious holes in the floor were patched. The car received new black paint. The bumpers, door handles, and vent window frames were re-chromed. The black convertible top was replaced with a new white one (I thought an all-black car was a tad too much). The carpeting and trunk lining were replaced as well. A couple of the widgets were fixed.
I flew back to New England in the spring of 1980 to pick up the car. I drove up to Boston to visit some friends, then I headed west towards Chicago. The trip took eighteen hours, and I was so excited that I did it in one straight shot.
I played with the car for three summers. During 1980 and 1981, I drove the car 2,000 miles each year, storing it during the winters.
IN 1980, I ran the LCOC's Eastern National Meet down in French Lick, Indiana. I was young, foolish, and quite wired throughout the entire weekend. At one point, I backed the car up without looking, and dented the right rear door on a post. I was absolutely sick. Most of the dent responded to a thump from the inside of the door. The remainder I had fixed about a year later.
In 1981, I drove the car to Dearborn for another ENM. Coming home, I passed a truck weigh station, and decided to see just how much the car weighed. With myself, a nearly-full tank of fuel and luggage on board, the car weighed in excess of 6,200 lbs. No wonder the fuel economy was so miserable...
In 1982, I went back to school. I began to realize that I really didn't need a toy of that magnitude at that time, and could indeed buy another like it at some point in the future. It took me a month to find a buyer through word of mouth, and I ended up losing several thousand dollars.
The lesson learned here was: NEVER Restore A Car Yourself. I have remembered it.