Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Queen Mary

September 1987, Wixom, Michigan. Fall was in the air I would assume. In a sprawling factory just south of Wixom along Interstate 96, pieces of metal, plastic, fabric and glass would slowly work its way down the assembly line. Craftsmen and women would bolt, weld and fasten parts to the frame as it passed. Finally emerging as a 1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature series 4 door sedan. She would be given the VIN # 1LNMB82F6JY669370. 69,369 others had preceded her down the line.

This one was special; she's now mine. I celebrated her birthday this week, as do not know the exact build date, but do know from the data plate that she was built in 9/87.

20 years is not really special for a car, it is too soon to be an antique and is beyond being a new car or even a reasonably new car. But when you think about it, a lot of her sisters didn't make it this far, although you still see a lot of them on the road. But these cars were well built, reliable and still somewhat simple. Easily fixed with parts a plenty, they will be around for a long time to come.

My Lincoln, which I quickly named the "Queen Mary" as a nod to her size and nautical bearing, is still a beauty despite the blemishes of time. She has some scratches, some dings, even some rust that is well hidden by the wide chrome rocker panel covers that are a sign that she is a top line Signature Series and the paint is getting thin. But damn she turns heads still with her graceful crisp lines and dark deep "Cabernet" wine-red color. Her velour interior (how 80's!) is a matching Cabernet as is her vinyl coach roof. The white wall tires (getting hard to find these days) are fitted to stylish turbine spoke wheels, she used to have the optional aluminum wire wheels, but they were in sad shape and missing their caps. She sported an optional leather wrapped steering wheel and automatic load leveling so as not to scrape her bottom when loaded (I hate when that happens). I would have loved to have seen her fresh from the factory, she must have been a stunningly beautiful machine.

Her first owner treated her pretty well, but the rigors of snowy central Illinois took a toll on her undercarriage and she has some rust issues. When I got her, I was the 3rd owner, a 2nd owner had her for a short time. I found her in Bloomington, Il on ebay and bought her to her new home in Kansas City in July 2005.

She has had work done, like many older ladies. New exhaust, shocks, various engine parts, gas tank, fuel pump, drive shaft, alternator, and valve cover gaskets; all the things that wear with age in these beauties. Since a lot of those parts were from junk yards, my cash outlay has been little actually. I would love to get her painted, but the rust precludes a paint job, it would be a waste of cash I do not have.

Starts every time, comfortable (like driving your couch down the highway), powerful and not really all that fuel thirsty, she is a wonderful car.

That is the Queen Mary in the middle with her sister 1989 Town Car on the right and 1987 on the left.

Happy Birthday Queen Mary! Long live the Queen!

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