Wide-Eyed

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“It started out when I was a patrol boy in the third grade,” Stacy Roscoe says, his banana yellow 1958 Continental convertible idling right beside him. “(I was) holding up the sign and, out in front of me, this car stopped and it was the most magnificent thing I’d ever seen—a ’58 Lincoln.”

The experience was so impactful to him that he passively followed these particular vehicles from that point on.

“As I grew older and started thinking about getting cars, I thought—wouldn’t it be cool to have one of these cars that I really loved when I was a kid?”

He looked for three decades, but it wasn’t until he retired in 2002 that one “came up”. And by came up, he means that he found it under a tarp behind a car parts shop in Santa Fe Spring— where it had been, he thinks, since 1964.

“The good news was that it wasn’t deteriorated structurally, but it was almost white as opposed to the yellow it is right now. There was no top. There was nothing but springs and the carpeting was all rotted out. And so it was pretty rough—crunched fender, concrete splattered all over it—but it was solid.”

“To see people actually see this magnificent car— that’s satisfaction.”

The work of restoring his dream car wasn’t the only hurdle to ownership. Stacy had to pass two tests before the vehicle was his. The first was an interview with the previous owner.

“I made the case for why I was the one that could bring it to life and be the best home for it.”

The second was with his wife.

“(She) had told me—because I have a number of cars—that before we get one more car, we have to redo the house,” Stacy laughs. “But she was with me when we were going down and, you know, we had the whole discussion that it was such a compelling story about being able to get that car, and finally she said, ‘I’ll give you one pass.’”

It took Stacy about three years to collect all the necessary parts to bring the car back to life. This includes the Tri-Power carburetor—a setup that Lincoln produced only 100 of—which increased the engine rating from the standard 375 horsepower to 400. He found it on the Internet in its original 1958 packaging and, alone, it cost him more than the entire car. The piece was so beautiful and rare that Stacy lovingly refers to it as the crown jewel of the vehicle.

“People would just look at this thing—and when you haven’t got it together it’s very weird—like a disproportionate mass of metal,” he says. “And then, all of a sudden, bumpers go on, (it) gets painted—to see people actually see this magnificent car— that’s satisfaction.”

Sitting at 19 feet long, Stacy’s finished vehicle carries the confident presence and grandeur of the early Space Age during which it was originally conceived—its frenched headlights opened wide as if with wonder. He never actually confirms this, but maybe those headlights are representative of a memory much more personal to Stacy.

“I carried that vision [of this vehicle] around for 40 years,” he says. “I’ve always wanted it and now I have it and it’s been a joy to be able to show it and that’s where we are.”

 

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