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Just bought my first classic...


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I just bought my first classic car off my grandfather a few weeks ago. It's a 1959 Lincoln Continental that his dad had and then gave to him. Its got a few spots that are eaten through in the body and a lot of surface rust. The engine works and has turned over quite a few times, but I think most of the body is in pretty bad shape. I have all the tools at my disposal (gramps has a home repair shop with lift and everything in Georgia).

Im a huge classic car lover and have been since I was 7 when I first saw a 1942 Merc. So my question is, Where do I begin?! Im a programmer by profession for one of the largest internet companies in the US and I feel that I have the patience and possibly might have the skill to repair this car. The only thing is I want to do it the RIGHT way. From ground up!

Ive been looking for shop books, parts, pretty much everything possible, but I come up empty. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I also hope to join the members of South Florida AACA with my Husband. He owns a 1972 Super Beetle which is also in the works.

Pics of my baby:


Thats the left front end of my 1959 Lincoln Continental


Left Side View

I know it looks bad, but I want this to work!

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What a cool car you have there! Whatever you do...take lots of photos of the car before and during disassembly. Bag and tag ALL nuts and bolts and pieces. Even the broken nuts and bolts will tell you what you need to look for. Never throw anything off of the car away until the car is finished and even then, question yourself when you go to do so. Research, research, research!!! Go online and type in 1959 Lincoln on GOOGLE and see what comes up. There are old car libraries out there to go to for information. Go to old car swap meets. Join an old car club like the local groups near you so you can find parts and people with like interest in your car. Be certain that you have the space to take the car apart and store large pieces like fenders and doors and wheels. These things explode into many assemblies. Above all, make certain that you are and will be excited about the car for a long time so that if you have to keep it, you will enjoy it. Don't look at the overall picture of what you have to do. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming. Look at each assembly and work on it until done and go to the next one. Good luck with your new baby and HAVE FUN WITH IT! That is what the hobby is here for.

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From those pics, she looks do-able but then again, I have helped save cars from riverbanks and junkyards! ANYTHING can be restored if you apply enough $$$. It really does look nice to me. Surface rust does not scare me at all.

First document the car with as many photos as you can. Get a digital camera and don't be conservative. Take closeups of details, inside under around everything. Locations and routing of wires, cables, hoses and special hardware too. I average about 1000 photos min for a resto start to finish. Not all are good, but it only take one sometimes to save you many hours later.

Get service manuals if possible to familiarize yourself with the car. The AACA has an extensive library that may be of help. Find clubs to get familiar with the car and the people around that make. Not all clubs are equal! Speak to a few before joining. We (in my specialty brand) had a great club at one time but it is now de-volved and so many are dissatisified. Most of the folks are super helpful, it's just a handful that ruined it. This does happen so try to be objective and informed before choosing.

Talk to others who have restored the same make and model to get an idea of what you may have. Your car may be 1 of 3 in that color or other special options that make it unique. Hopefully you will find somebody nearby with a like car. Then a larger fridge in the garage is required to hold extra beverages of choice! Why? You will now have a new circle of friends that will grow.

Because of my Amphicars, I have friends around the world. I have been lucky enough hook up with famous people (just sold one to a former playboy bunny and currently speaking with a huge collector I know you would recognize), wealthy people, poor people, and basically just people. Everyone of them are car folks!

NEVER take any part no matter how small for granted. Treat everything as if it's the only one in existance! Most often it is the small pieces that are toughest to replace. Buy boxes of zip-lock baggies and sharpie pens to mark each and every nut, bolt or part where it came from and what it is. Disassembly should be methodic and careful. The extra time you spend on careful dissassembly will come back to you many times over later. The photos you take will help during reassembly especially if you have "Teflon brain" as I do.

Ask a million questions! Any professional you have do work for you will have no problem when you check their work out. Speak with customers to get an idea of how they were treated, pricing and quality.

Ideally you will need at least 3+ parking spots to restore the car. One for body, one for chassis and one for parts. This is not required, just helpful. NO garage is ever big enough.

Of course it will all depend on your situation and budget. I do full on nut/bolt restorations and you may be only interested in getting it road worthy as is. You can do things slowly or go nuts. Basically, document everything, save everything, and have fun in the process! Decide on your desired final product and work towards that end. NEVER HURRY!

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Welcome to the land of monstrous cars. There are a number of that era Lincoln owners that hang out at The Lincoln Forum and are very knowledgeable on the subject.

Before you begin this journey you need to get that car way up in the air and start tapping on its bottom. It's the largest of the unibody cars of the era. There is no frame. It gets all of its strength from many layers of sheet metal that can't be peeled back and reinstalled, like a bolted-on fender. If the sheet metal is too badly eaten away, it's a parts car.

If the tires went flat and the belly sat on the ground for any length of time it may be too far gone. Sorry for the bad news potential but it's best to know before you get your hopes up.

These cars were shunned by collectors until recently. Since few of these cars were saved, parts are very hard to find and there are virtually no reproduction parts.

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Welcome to the Forum Kidpinkers.

You'll get good advice here, as many, if not most, of us here have gone through a lot of hands-on work.

I hope this car is not "rotting," as Barry pointed out. I know there is a lot of sentimental value to the car, being in the family for a long time. Be sure to weight the sentimental value with the amount of work that will be involved, and decide if you want to spend five years restoring each and every little piece.

If this is your first car to restore, get as much advice as possible from experienced amateurs who have restored 1958-60 Lincolns, so that they can give you sobering information on just what you're up against.

Good luck. I hope to see you here often. Please post progress in the Our Cars and Restoration Projects Forum (http://forums.aaca.org/ubbthreads.php/forums/84/1/Our_Cars_Restoration_Projects).

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Guest Debby Soucia

When you take the pictures take a little book and write down each picture of what it is. I know that sounds dumb but it helped when we put ours back together and you were not sure what the picture was. Also tell if it is front the back, front, left side, right side, from the motor any thing will help. Also we marked each bag and marked it with marker that was water proof.

Write down a list of all the stuff you want to replace so when you go to swap meets you will have a list of what you need. If you are not sure on some thing add a picture of the trim or what ever it is so you can match it easyer.

Good luck!


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My approach may be different that other but, first you have to decide what your realistic outcome for the car is 400 point trailered show car or something you can drive to local shows and have a good time with on weekends and cruise-ins.

I would think the latter would be more practical.

If that is the case you need to clean and or paint stuff that is working, clean, fix and paint what is broken and replace only what you have to.

This is where I may differ from other. First thing I would do it get the car running and operating, find out what works and what doesn’t, give it a full evaluation,

doors, windows, heater, radio, lights, transmission , etc, the whole car, if the brakes are totally shot you may not want to fix them at this time but you can still drive it around the yard and test things.

Then follow the instructions given by others only now you have a OK shelve and a needs fixed pile, it also saves you time and money by knowing what you need up front and getting the parts you need when you find them and not buying the parts you don’t need.

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GOOD advice, Jay!

It's always good to be able to drive a car and get to know it before restoring it. I've heard many stories from people who had never touched the steering wheel of a car until it was completely restored, then afterwards found out they didn't like driving it, or it wasn't comfortable, or (in at least once case), they couldn't even get in the car because they were too big (Jaguar XK 120 roadster).

We had a 1929 Packard phaeton that we were desperately trying to make into a great tour car. We got so frustrated with the water pump that we never went to the next step to restore it. (It was an early car that never got retrofitted with the more reliable belt driven pump.) In hindsight, we probably should have just searched for one of those retrofitted pumps in the beginning, but we were determined to get the original working properly with new technology.

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