The following piece came from Gary M. Hacker (which I
had to shorten, sorry Gary, and that’s the only Lincoln photo I could
get) and according to Gary is true. Having done all sorts of terrible
things in my youth, I can relate to this. Gary entitled it Driving The
Road Race Lincoln. Here is his story.
“I stood back in awe, as the Ford Motor Company
driver carefully unloaded the Mexican Road Race Lincoln that Friday
morning in 1954. It was to be displayed by my father at his Lincoln
Mercury dealership in Alameda, California, courtesy of the Ford Motor
was 18 years old, fresh out of high school, and thrilled and excited to
examine this authentic winning race car. It was bright yellow, had large
numbers on the side, a roll bar and a big metal gas tank in place of the
rear seat; and had recently won the widely acclaimed Pan American Road
Race in Mexico and the driver’s name, “Bill Stroppe” was still on
the driver door.
“I worked in the Lincoln Mercury dealership on
Saturdays, and was responsible for locking the doors when I left. That
Sunday morning, my two closest friends, Bob and Jerry and I talked about
racing, and how exciting it would have been to be involved in the Pan
American Road Race. We decided to drive into Alameda that night, to
closely examine the Lincoln race car before it was relocated by the Ford
Motor Company on Tuesday. “I wonder what it sounds like?” Bob said.
“Do you think it burns rubber?” Jerry questioned. “Why don’t we
find out.” We all looked at each other. We unstrapped the hood and
discovered a plate covering the intake manifold where the carburettor had
been. Plates also covered the fuel pump opening and that of the
distributor. It was not driveable. We sat on the showroom floor in
disappointment, imagining ourselves behind the wheel charging through
small Mexican villages with cheering onlookers along the road.
“Jerry spoke up, ‘Gary, we have a whole parts
department right there,’ as he pointed to the back of the showroom. We
made for the parts books. Jerry called out the numbers as Bob and I
searched the shelves. Opening the rear showroom doors, we carefully undid
the ropes enclosing the Lincoln and pushed it into the service area. It
was after midnight when we installed a battery, put gas in the metal tank
and pushed the starter. A deafening roar. Straight exhaust and an engine
tuned for racing, emitted a bark of authority. We were ready for a trial
“With no license plates, straight exhausts and
enthusiasm, the three of us jammed into the two bucket seats and headed
for Lafayette. We weren’t aware of the new Lincoln passing in the other
direction or of the shocked surprise of the Ford Motor Company Zone
Manager who was returning from a cocktail party and saw us. A desolate
area allowed us to step down and open it up on the long two lane
straight-away. 100MPH, then 110, the trees and poles flew by like teeth in
a comb. We switched places. Jerry was just reaching 80 when the engine
stopped abruptly and a terrifying silence ensued. Oh no, we were out of
gas. After hitchhiking for miles, refuelling and driving back to Alameda,
it was 5 a.m. The car was filthy. We carefully washed it, painstakingly
removed the new parts, cleaned them and returned them to their original
boxes. We replaced the metal plates and rewired the lead seals. By the
time the car was back on the showroom floor and the ropes re-attached, it
was 9 a.m. and we had to leave before someone came in and caught us.
“Monday morning the dealership opened for business.
The phone was ringing. An irate Zone Manager was yelling at my dad
claiming that he had allowed the display Lincoln to be driven. Dad looked
up from his desk and observed the car on the floor surrounded by the red
velvet ropes. ‘You are badly mistaken,’ he replied. The car has never
left this dealership. An hour later, two Ford Motor employees arrived to
inspect the vehicle. ‘The boss must have had too many cocktails,’ they
chuckled. ‘No one could drive this car.’ ‘It has been plated and
lead sealed at the factory and shows no sign of use.’ The Sunday night
sighting was discredited and the matter closed.
“Twenty years later, I sat with my dad and watched a
program on the National Automobile Museum. ‘Look Gary, there’s the
Mexican Road Race Lincoln that we had on display in Alameda back in 1954,
do you remember?’ ‘Sure Dad, I ran out of gas in that car in
Moraga,’ I replied. ‘Son, you’re losing your memory; that car was
only on display and never driven.’ I smiled and just looked at him. He
twitched and a surprised look crossed his face. ‘Son, did you actually
drive that car?’ ‘Dad, you don’t really want to know,’ I
Poor old Daewoo has been through the mill in recent
times. In this column (Pattaya Mail Vol IX, number 34) I put forward the
query, was Daewoo going down the gurgler? After posting a massive 71%
slide in half year profits from the same period last year, it seemed like
the last gasp for the ailing Daewoo Company. The net profit was $11.15
million but sales fell to $1.28 billion from $2 billion a year ago.
Operating profit fell to $12.49 million from $92.39 million over the same
period. To show the real picture of financial woes at Daewoo, the car
maker’s assets fell to $7 billion at the end of last year from $14
billion a year earlier, while liabilities increased by $3.6 billion to
$17.3 billion. About then was not the time to buy a Daewoo, new or
otherwise; however, things have changed for the better at the Korean auto
General Motors and its alliance partners (read FIAT)
have come to the rescue. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been
signed between the GM side and Daewoo Motor and the Korea Development
Bank, representing the Daewoo Motors Creditors Committee.
As we read this, GM have already sent a transition team
to Korea to ensure the continued supply of vehicles, parts and servicing
to (I quote from a GM press release) “enhance Daewoo Motor’s global
reputation for offering customers superior value.”
Now you can see why I say that today is the time to get
your hands on a Daewoo. The market is depressed. Everyone thought that
Daewoos were just about to become orphans, but no! GM rode in on a white
horse and there will be a dealer network, there will be spares and there
will be new cars.
GM and its alliance partners (read FIAT again) will
hold 67% of the new company, with the remaining 33% held by the creditors
(read the Korea Development Bank). The future of two manufacturing plants
in Egypt and Vietnam is not decided yet, but while I could see the VN one
being dropped, GM would probably like to have a little toe-hold in Egypt.
And what is the likelihood of Daewoos being assembled in the GM facility
on the Eastern Seaboard at some time in the future? There is capacity.
There is room for expansion. You read it here first.