This is my 1935 Lincoln K club sedan, known in period Lincoln literature as the "five-passenger two window sedan" (impressive name, I know). I was attracted to it because it's a 12-cylinder Full Classic that isn't a frumpy limousine. I thought it represented something of a bargain. I like the way it looks, I like the idea of owning a 12-cylinder motorcar, and I've never seen another one like it, have you? The fact that it looks very much like the maroon 1934 Ford 4-door sedan that was the first old car my father bought in 1973 is purely coincidental. In short, I really wanted it so I bought it.
You may recall that I started a thread on this car once before, then deleted it right about when it started to get interesting. Sorry about that. A lot of things in my life were going sideways at the time and my mental resources were stretched thinner than I realized. I placed a lot (probably too much) hope that a thing--just a car--would mend my mental wounds, but you all know how that goes. Of course I knew it would be a project and that it would need a lot of TLC, and I accepted all that with my eyes wide open. In fact, sorting cars is one of my favorite things to do because it's so rewarding. Few things with old cars offer instant gratification, but fixing something small that's broken always lifts your heart. Sorting is a series of small projects that build into a larger success, but each one brings a tangible improvement that is very satisfying. It's distinct from a restoration which is a process whose payoff comes only at the end. With sorting, you fix one thing and you can enjoy the results right away. For someone like me, small successes bring big rewards.
I started addressing a few of the more notable issues: a hot start problem, a leaky water pump, overheating issues, a fuel system full of gunk, a wobbly distributor, bad wiring, and all the other little things that go into making an old car healthy. I'll try to re-create the projects I showed in that old thread , and I'll continue with some new ones, because as another experienced forum member wisely pointed out, it's worthwhile to show folks that even those of us with substantial resources hit roadblocks and need to overcome them. So I started down the path.
The snag, of course, was that shortly after cleaning out the cooling system with my 9-year-old son on a Saturday afternoon, he pointed to the side of the engine block and said, "What's leaking?" Uh oh. Sure enough, there's a hole in the block. A hole in a Lincoln V12 engine block. Dollar signs started spinning around in my head like the drums on a slot machine. The car I just wiped out my savings to buy had a hurt motor. I couldn't drive it, I sure as hell couldn't sell it knowing there's a hole in the block, and it could cost anywhere from $2000 to $35,000 to repair it, depending on what needed to be done. What's worse, someone had already smeared JBWeld over the damage and painted over it, so it was a known issue to someone. And that really felt like a sucker punch.
Here's what we found:
That, combined with all the other nonsense going on in my life at the time, put me in a particularly foul mood all the time. All. The. Time. I was a lousy husband and dad for a few weeks and I couldn't snap out of it. I'd invested too much in this car, and I'm not talking just money. It kept me up at night and it woke me up in the morning. I hated turning on the lights in the shop because I could see it in the corner. I had thoughts of just pushing it outside and hoping it would get stolen or hit by a truck. I thought about saving it for our open house next July and letting people take turns whacking it into scrap with a sledgehammer for $5 a throw. I even thought about turning it into one of those grotesque resto-mod hot rods--I've got a Chevy 454 and a 700R4 transmission sitting in the storage room, and I figured I could install those A LOT cheaper than rebuilding the V12 engine.
Important note: I should point out that I do not believe Tom Laferriere knew about this issue, let alone did the JBWeld job. To his credit, he is taking the car to his metal stitch guy to see if it can be repaired. After a rocky start to our discussions (mostly my fault), we spoke in person at Hershey and he owned the issue. A great weight was lifted from my shoulders and my wife says I'm a different person today, maybe better than I have been in years. A tip of the hat to Tom for stepping up and doing as much of the right thing as is possible under the circumstances--thank you, Tom. You are the person I hoped you would be.
Besides, despite hating the car with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns every second of every day between the discovery of the leak and that conversation at Hershey, I have come to really like the stupid thing. With luck, this big hurdle will be cleared without major expense or difficulty, and in the mean time, I've been getting it into good shape so that the leak can be properly addressed without being masked by other problems. In a few weeks, I'll ship it back to Tom, he'll take it to his metal stitching pro, and we'll all keep our fingers crossed. Sometime later, it'll come back, I'll finish sorting it, and I'll have a 12-cylinder motorcar for touring next summer. I'm not permitting myself to get excited about it, but at least there's a path now that I couldn't see before.
Over the next few days, I'll try to re-create the steps I took in that old thread and add those that I've taken since then. There's information from which others can benefit and I've learned a lot along the way, too. If I can help others, well, maybe that makes all this nonsense worthwhile. Thanks for bearing with me and stay tuned...