Jim Ayres’ gorgeous 1964 Continental convertible shared center stage with beautiful Lincolns of today at a gala celebration of the Lincoln Experience Center’s (LEC) 5th anniversary on July 11. Over the past 5 years since we were there for the opening, the LEC has hosted thousands of visitors, hundreds of new Lincoln test drives, connected buyers with dealers and held numerous public events from jazz music to wine tastings and even a meet-and-greet with senior Lincoln executives.
Although many things have changed since 1964 some have remained the same—most notably Lincoln’s reputation for advanced technical features combined with both power and luxury. In addition to the ice cream treats and custom drinks the cars—new and old—at the LEC anniversary event drew a steady stream of fascinated onlookers throughout the festive day. Numerous comments such as “my uncle had one,” “this was the first car I drove” and more than one “I wish I could have this car,” were directed at Jim and his classic convertible.
But the gleaming new Lincolns on display inside the LEC also drew a crowd. These included a top-of-the-line Navigator Black Label, sleek Nautilus, stylish Aviator and prototype plug-in hybrid Corsair among others.
LCOC members Jim Ayres, Nathan Koski and Elayne Bendel were on hand to help the LEC staff members promote the brand, appreciate the Lincoln tradition and heritage and plug both LCOC and some upcoming car-related events. These include the Aug 1 Huntington Beach Concours, and the May 4-8, 2022 LCOC Western National Meet.
Nathan, who drove his Mark VII up from the San Diego area for the event, was rewarded with a test drive of a new black-on-black Navigator Reserve, where Jim and Elayne were discerning passengers.
The test vehicle was powered by a 6 cylinder 213 cu inch twin turbo delivering 450 HP and 16 mpg city and 22 highway. Navigators come in three models—Standard, Reserve and Black Label and an enlarged wheelbase model is available. Despite its size and weight it was responsive and zippy from a standing start—a fun drive.
Amazingly our test drive version topped out at 210 inches long, 80 inches wide (without mirrors) and 76 inches high. That’s 6 inches shorter than Jim’s convertible, but a few hundred pounds heavier at around 5.700 to 5,900 pounds. But don’t be misled. The Navigator L can be ordered in the Reserve and Black Label trims that adds 12 inches to the overall length. Yikes!
But three rows of comfortable seats in the non-L with ample leg room even in the rear can accommodate up to 8 passengers. The Navigator has a tow rating of 8,900 pounds so could haul your boat, trailer or another vehicle in style.