Project 1964 Lincoln Continental : The Saga Begins

It's been almost a month since the announcement of the '64 Lincoln Continental Personal Project Car. The madness of preparing for, traveling to, partaking of, and returning from the Tokyo Motor Show consumed all of our blogging powers and there have been exactly zero progress-update posts. This is not to say there has been no progress. Indeed, to the contrary, big, rusty things are happening.

Putting a car back together from buckets of bolts and a trunk and cabin full of parts can be gently described as a mixture of mild sport and rectal violation. I think it can be generally agreed that the first step in any project car is to see what the hell it is you've got. The shortest path to accomplishing that task is obsessive cleaning and best-guess reassembly. The second step in that task is then tearing everything apart to see what you don't have.

Entering the garage on "the day after" without a plan of attack is a bad idea. This is how automotive ADD kicks in. "Ooh, that's shiny and interesting, let's figure out where that goes. Hmmm, there's some grime. WD-40 to the rescue. What is this thing? Oh, that goes here. Wow, I didn't see that dent before. Let's clean this bolt. Shoot, why doesn't that work? Where did that leak come from? Wanna go ride bikes?" And so on, and so forth.

Project 1964 Lincoln Continental : The Saga Begins

At the end of day one, the following tasks had been completed:

1) All interior and exterior parts put in their respective places. This means all that cool brightwork along the top of the fenders, the bumper reinstalled, all the interior chrome trim put up, the random engine bits that had been removed, and the tail lights, hubcaps, etc.

2) Declaration of destruction for parts that cannot be salvaged, which include the following: Lens for rear tail light, fender cap trim on rear passenger side fender, drivers side lower body trim between front wheel well, and bumper, fore/aft drive cable for front power seat.

Project 1964 Lincoln Continental : The Saga Begins

With the work of assembly and cleaning completed to an acceptable level, it was time to tear things apart. The plan was to remove the inner fenders to take a look up her skirt. Then remove the carpets and either run them through a cleaner or make a decision to toss them. Inner fenders on the Continental don't work like those on a modern car. Instead of cosmetic felt and plastic panels Christmas tree'd in place, these are heavy, tar-covered plates designed to protect important things like vacuum hoses, fuel, and brake lines. They are also apparently designed as an excellent place for various critters to store used nutshells. Whereas the passenger side was in pristine shape, the drivers' side revealed a mix of acorns, walnuts, and moist muck behind the inner fender panel. Great. After I hoovered out a solid five pounds of sick and let it air dry, I put the panel back hoped for the best. This would later prove to be a mistake.

Now we move on to the interior. Taking a carpet out can sometimes be a horror show of a struggle. This car is equipped with a two piece carpet that's matted beyond belief and stinky. You can imagine how heartbroken I was when I pulled it out and found gnarly stains and more grossness than even anticipated. That got thrown in a box for burning after the new carpet arrives. I'm thinking of going from the stock cut pile to a looped carpet that was standard on previous models.

Project 1964 Lincoln Continental : The Saga Begins

With the carpet out the pain was about to begin. An ominous discoloration on the fiberglass floor insulation was staring me in the face. I couldn't help but pull back layers of fiberglass and tar sound deadening until a spot of garage floor was winking at me. Cue cursing. Apparently one of the Ford designers thought it would be cool to locate a floor drain hole right over one of the main chassis rails. As a result, that hole was plugged, and the rest is history. Fortunately, this is far from a death knell. The rust is fairly well contained, with some cutting wheel action, a little elbow grease, a nicely shaped steel plate, and some welding, this one will be easy to repair.

Another item, added to a rapidly expanding list.