If we were to think about the first time we saw our bucket list-worthy car, perhaps our minds jump back to old action movies or magazine ad cut outs on the kitchen tables of our youth.
Well, Jim Davidson saw his first Lincoln Continental convertible in a shopping center parking lot. But the bright side is that even its less-than-glamorous surroundings didn’t dampen the vehicle’s effect on Jim.
“I was not old enough to drive (but) I was just awestruck,” he says. “In any other country, you’d have to be a head of state to drive a car that beautiful.”
A few years later, Jim was able to get a closer look at a Continental when his friend’s father—the vice president of a radio station—leased one.
“He had a ’66 version in blue with a blue top. And I thought, that is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen.”
But it wasn’t until 1973 that Jim found himself in the market for a Continental all his own.
“I consulted with a friend who was very knowledgeable about cars and said, ‘You know, I’ve always loved the four-door-convertibles, and I think I should get one before the price starts going up.’ And he said, “Well it already started going up.” And I said, “Oh gosh!’”
So Jim set about to scour the Los Angeles Times vehicle listings. When he found the breathtaking ’67 Continental convertible he’s standing next to today, it was running—but that was about all it was doing.
“I’ve spent the last forty years fixing it up,” he says. “The paint has been done, the top has been done, all the chrome has been replaced, all the stainless steel was taken off and straightened and re-polished. Nobody makes these white-walled tires anymore, to speak of.”
It’s a lot of work, to be sure, but the vehicle evokes a warm poignancy—it’s an amalgam of all the other Continentals Jim has seen along the way. Even the top has been painted to match the one owned by his friend’s father.
When asked if its restoration was done to his liking, Jim laughed and said, “Next month.”