Classic 1964 Lincoln Reaches “Rebirth” Milestone; Who Can Relate?

By Elayne Bendel

Few activities in life can match the excitement of recording those first few miles on a brand new car and I had that pleasure twice—with a beautiful 1978 Buick Regal and a 2013 Nissan Altima. It was love at first sight for the Buick which knocked me out on the dealer’s lot with its gorgeous powder blue exterior, white textured vinyl top and spectacular real wire wheels! From that first moment it pleaded “take me home” and after a sleepless night with visions of spinning wire wheels I came back to claim it the very next day! It had 2 miles showing when I took the wheel the first time. What a thrill!

Beautiful Buick Regal like this with real wire wheels had 2 miles on odometer when purchased new.

It was a little different with the Altima, which was ferried down the freeway from another dealer and had interior modifications once delivered. But that old feeling came back when I brought her home. New car thrills took over once again!

While everyone who has ever bought a car new can relate to these experiences, this post is really about another milestone event equally as exciting and a lot more rare.

Back in the long-ago when many of our classic Lincolns were new, costs for vehicles were much lower and most were traded in for new models within just a few years. Unlike today, cars wore out long before anyone could achieve 100,000 miles driven. So relatively few owners ever had that satisfaction.

In fact, even the manufacturers weren’t touting longevity. Back in the early 1960s most warranties were 12 months and 12,000 miles. A few increased them to 24 months and 24,000 miles. Odometers only had 5 places. Once your car surpassed 99,999 miles the odometer rolled over to 5 zeros, starting the mileage cycle all over again.

I can pretty much guarantee that when my car was bought new at Miami Lincoln Mercury sometime around the end of 1963 by a pilot from Eastern Air Lines, he had no thought of ever seeing that odometer roll over Nor did owner number 2, who owned a construction company in south Florida and couldn’t wait to sell it. So it came to me with 63,000 miles showing back in 1975.

The odometer, as many other things, was broken for a long time so there is no telling how many miles she has really traveled. In fact, some think the 63,000 was already the second time around. Whatever the case, membership in LCOC has been the catalyst that inspired both restoration and rebirth. In 2017 major rework was in full swing with about 92,000 miles showing. Since then despite a lot of down time somehow I looked up one day recently and saw that rollover was in reach.

Yesterday, I took the car out for some exercise, only to notice that rollover was imminent, with just 6 miles to go before the magic moment. I was glad to be close to home and not on the freeway where there would be no chance to record the event for posterity. As it was, my trusty cell phone was almost out of juice and with poor planning on my part it looked like I was going to miss the big moment anyway. Luckily, I had my plug in charger at hand. But would it fry the phone if I plugged it into the high amp cigarette lighter?

Unable to pull over and with no time to think it over I plugged it in for a few seconds. The results are below. It worked! So whether it was for the first, second or maybe even the third time—after nearly 60 years my car arrived at its rebirth milestone. Enjoy and I hope you are inspired to do the same with your classic!

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