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Needed a new shop cruiser. Checked everywhere but couldn't find the right one. Decided to concentrate on other projects for a while.
Shortly later a car appeared for sale at the gas station down the block from me. It was in rough shape but I quickly became enamored with it. It would catch my eye every time I drove by.
After seeing it multiple times a day for a month I called the guy and made an offer. Ended up getting it for just over a grand. Its a 1958 Lincoln Premiere, the longest car ever made at just over 19 feet. One of the first uni-body cars, these came with a massive 7L MEL V8 engine. There are 7 ash trays and just as many cigarette lighters. The owner was never able to get it to start, just crank over. It needed a new ignition cylinder and a resistor and was able to start and roll back and forth. There are no brakes at the moment so I haven't actually driven it anywhere yet. I have all the brake components, just waiting for some nice weather to rebuild them.
It needs a tune-up, ignition system, etc. There are rust spots appearing in a lot of places, and the front driver fender is bad, but the floor pans are solid. My current plan is basically to get it running well, throw a mexican blanket over the seats, and cruise as is. Bodywork will come eventually, as well as reupholstered seats, maybe an air suspension
I tore all the old carpet out, while the floor is scaly in places it seems fine. I'll grind all the rust/glue/etc off and repad and carpet it.
Why did I replace the Miata with the most un-miata like car ever? I've owned several great handling cars, and some fast ones. Due to the roads around here most of the fun driving I do is simple cruising. It was fun to have the potential to beat someone at the light on Woodward with the Mustang but it was overkill most of the time. I loved driving my Dad's 76 Eldorado, it made any trip fun and interesting, and this will provide a similar experience. It will be a blast going for a spin with up to 6 of my friends comfortably seated in the huge cabin.
Even though it is ratty it still has a grandeur about it. I saw one of these driving down Woodward and it is one of the few cars that stopped me in my tracks, it had so much presence. Its not beautiful, and some of the styling seems overly ornate, but the overall effect embodys big 50's American luxury. The rear end in particular looks like a spaceship. I've been reading the Kustom and Delux hot rod magazines since I was a kid. This will be my first car I've had that can be in that style.
One thing I found out is how quickly styling changed in those years. The 57 Premiere is totally different, and the 59 has different fenders and taillights, grille, and probably other things I'll discover.
Here is a couple videos, one is a walk-around of a pristine 2 door example, the other one has giant wheels but you can see how it looks in motion.
To Do List:
Install brake parts already ordered - lines, wheel/master cyl, pads, drum springs and clips.
Get the correct carb (a cadillac one is currently installed and isn't great)
grind floor clean, coat it, install carpets
Got some parts in the mail! The -30 wind chill is going to be keeping me inside this weekend though. Warm weather needs to get here soon.
Took advantage of the nice weather last weekend. Game plan is to tackle all the things that are keeping it from running/driving safely first then expand to any restoration/refinement work.
Tires are really bad and mismatched so I had them taken off and the rusty wheels sandblasted. Found some slightly used whitewall tires for $300 on CL. Picked the wheels up yesterday and they look great. Plan is to paint them, don't want to put a lot of money into new wheels when the car isn't drivable yet. Should have pics of those this week.
The brakes are totally shot so I started dis-assembly. Although things are pretty crusty and some of the bolts were tough to get started I was able to loosen all the bolts without braking them.
I have all the replacement hardware/springs/pads but new drums are hard to find. I'll have to see if I can grind the rust off and refinish these.
Rear wheel cylinders are less than $10 on rockauto. I couldn't find front ones at the time so I bought rebuilding kits. Doesn't look like these are worth rebuilding.
Found a site with old Lincoln parts, surprisingly new front cylinders are $75 :eek: what makes them worth 7x the rears? who knows. Looks like I'm buying them though.
Stripped the rest off.
Suspension parts are covered in crud but don't look too bad. Bushings are there but most probably have to be replaced. From what I've seen the bushing costs are similar to other cars. I'll strip/clean/repaint the suspension parts eventually. I read the car was originally designed for airbags. It looks like they'd be easy to install as far as I can tell, but that is a ways away.
I did the door test (jacked up one side, opened/closed a door on the other) and it worked which was a relief. One of the front jack points was a little crunchy so I lifted by the "frame" on the other side.
Current short term plan:
Prime and paint wheels, have "new" tires mounted
Disassemble rest of brakes, look into restoring drums/brackets
Order new front wheel cylinders
Have shoes relined, hopefully they can check the drums as well
Install new master cyl which I already have in possession
Hire someone to run new lines, seems like a pain to do myself
Parts I have that need to be installed:
uncracked driver side window
grind and seal floors, dynamat, pad and carpet
grind and seal undercarriage, potential rust repair
refoam and cover seats
Found a guy on ebay with a "new" driver fender (worst one on this car) shiny rear bumper, and uncracked steering wheel. I could potentially get them all for about $1g but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. Parts don't seem to be in demand so hopefully they will still be there when I'm ready.
Hit a wall and looking for some advice. Was going to take the rear drums off. The front had an axle cap that you pry off. This doesn't appear to be a cap, diagrams make it look like it is part of the axle. The technical manual i have says it is held on by timmerman nuts which are the thin clip style that youd push on. There weren't any on the lug bolts. Other parts of it say remove the nuts not specifying the kind. There is nothing else on it that seems to be securing it. I'm guessing its just rusted stuck to the hub but I don't want to break anything trying to crank it off.
In other news, had the wheels sandblasted and i painted them. Looks pretty good they are at the tire place now getting mounted.
The some of the old tires were from Sears and they all had the old style tire size numbers. The new tires are lower profile and should lower the car about an inch. They are whitewalls of course, I'm excited to see how they look on the wheels.
Its been a busy month but she's finished!
Just kidding. Saw this one at the shop by my house. Its a Continental and I believe a 59 due to the headlights not being separated from the grill. I had to take some photos.
Another nice car there
Thanks for all the tips about the brakes. It looks like I'll have to use a torch to get them off. Luckily my friend has a nice one I can borrow.
The weather has been crappy lately but I spent some time putting this sandblaster together which I'll get some good use out of.
I ordered a front suspension rebuild kit. I figured I'd continue taking things apart, clean up what parts I can and replace any worn bushings. Like this nasty home-made sway bar bushing
It wasn't too bad to take apart. I was afraid a lot of bolts would be hard to break but there was so much gunk caked on they came off easily.
Everything except the front A arm bolts. I was able to remove the rears easily but the fronts are stuck so I can't yet remove the arms. The head of the bolts are not far behind the front bumper so they'd wet when the car drives in the rain. Another job for the torch when I get it. A crusty mess.
Now that its warm out there will be more constant updates. Thanks for all the comments. Seeing the nice and shiney version of the car has me motivated.
Got the @%*#$ rear drums off a couple weeks ago. The car is parked behind my friends glass shop so she has stuff like this I can borrow.
It is basically a roofing torch but can be used for glasswork. It worked quite well. Torched the crap out of it, hit it several times with a heavy ass hammer. Used the pry bar a bit, and it separated!
Got the other side as well and stripped all the brake parts off.
The brake fluid has turned to dust.
This torch was too diffuse to use on the front A-arm bolts so I tried a smaller torch with MAP gas which burns a little hotter than propane. I still couldn't get those bastards to budge. Maybe the bolt is too large and the heat is escaping too quickly. There are a couple other little bolts on the front suspension that are stuck as well. I'm thinking I'll take my angle grinder to everything this weekend and destroy all these bolts with extreme prejudice. All these little mickey mouse problems are delaying this project too much.
So once I have all the front suspension and brake parts free from the car I'll clean them up and rebuild it with the new bushings I received and the new brake hardware. I'm also going to take a wire wheel to the exposed rails and beams underneath and paint/seal them. I need to fix the left rear stud that broke off too.
I have the replacement master cyl and brake lines. Once that is run then the running/stopping gear should be good.
The engine turns over, I have all the ignition replacement parts to install and a fuel pump as this one is probably toast. I'm sure I'll find more crap along the way but things are slowly progressing.