By on November 6, 2012

Sajeev writes:

This is an update to a previous Piston Slap query about buying one of the last great American sedans. And there’s no Panther bias here, you insane Rotary guys are free to buy this beast and share your thoughts the same manner. We’ll listen to ANY great story.  And go vote while you’re at it…since our opinions can’t help us keep cars in production!

C.K. writes:

How TTAC inspired me to live the dream…or how a Lincoln Town Car changed my life…and how I stopped living in fear of the unknown and took the leap

On October 12, 2011, I took delivery of the very last, fully loaded, brand new, never owned, 2011 Lincoln Town Car Continental Edition left in the US. Vibrant white over black leather, my dream car down to the last detail. Built in the last few weeks of production, July 2011, in St. Thomas, at a factory that is no more. That built cars that are no more. A car of so many lasts. The last true Lincoln. The last body-on-frame luxury car. The last RWD, non fleet, bench seat equipped, chrome laden, no excuses version of a car that has roamed America for decades. Unapologetic in every way. The anti-Prius.

It was not an easy process getting to this point. Since May, the deal had fallen through about 3 times. First, even though I have a good career and credit, getting a loan with an interest rate that wasn’t an insult to my ego was like herding cats, or pulling teeth, or pulling cat teeth! Either I was turned down (by my own bank – the very idea!), or given Mafia rates (the dealer, big surprise), or given the ol’ bait and switch (the local credit union). It seemed like no one wanted to loan a 29 kid $44K for a car that had been sitting on a lot, out of state, for over a year. Maybe they have learned their lesson from the big bust!

Then a chance conversation with my insurance agent (when I was trying to get the insurance for the new car for deal #3) and how they did car loans, and well, the rest is history in the garage. Got the rate I wanted, and of course the dealer magically had a new rate that month that would beat my current rate…whatever jerks, you had your chance to finance me. All along they had been telling me 5 something percent, and then the day they found out I was getting 2.39 did they offer me 2.35. Car dealers suck, no doubt about it.

But how could he buy a car sight unseen like that? From a dealer that sucks big donkey balls? For a price that makes absolutely no economic sense? Well, the week I bought it I had a layover in New Orleans, and me and 2 coworkers made a road trip out to see the car. I had to know for sure. And secretly I wanted something to be wrong with the car. So wrong that it would make me change my mind and not want it anymore. Some damage, some missing detail, some fraud. I kind of wanted the whole thing to fail, crash and burn, to save me $44K, to make me come to my senses. I call it self sabotage. Of course the road trip was a blast. Can’t give any details, you know, what happens in rented Camry…but the car was perfect. It was new. Not a year old used car like JSC credit union said. Not 2 years old and disgusting, like my mom said. But just the way I had pictured it, and obsessed about it for weeks, months, years, well, my whole life! And when I saw it, I knew, I had to make it happen.

I flew out at 7am, barely got on the flight, due to weight restrictions and a life on stand by. If I didn’t get on that flight, I was never going to. Back pack full of CD’s (remember, no USB or ipod hook up thing, which i dont have anyway, and i asked about a cassette player, they stopped that on Grand Marquis in 2010), second biggest check I have ever held, fear, hope, nervous…who just passed gas behind me on this Express Jet metal tube? Talk about dream killer!

Within 30 minutes on the road, during awesome sight seeing for hundreds of miles due to the Cruising the Coast Car show, I pulled off for some breakfast at McDs at about 10a where I noticed a 2003 TC with 2 tone white and tan paint parked and Lovin’ It. I got out of my car and a 80 something year old lady panzer attacked me to talk about my new car. “What year is it?” she asked. “Brand new, ma’am.” “But dear, they stopped making them,” she further interrogated with skepticism. “Wow, you’re right, but mine was left over.” “Oh my, I love the dark interior!” And she told me how she was on her third, and best ever. How she only rode in Town Cars, how to use the cruise control because that is the only way to keep from speeding in them, how she has never had to take hers in for anything. And she told me how lucky I was. And she looked just like my grandmother who passed this year. And on cloud nine I floated in to McDs, feeling so great about getting such a warm welcome into the club of geriatric Lincoln owners, that I walked up to the counter to order breakfast, only to find that Miss Daisy had chatted to me so long about the joys that is the legend of Town Car, that they had stopped serving breakfast 15 minutes ago!

Did I make the right choice? Yeah, I think I did. The fight with my mom lasted about 24 hours. The older she gets, the shorter she can hold a grudge. I think it was mainly about her youngest finally becoming a man. She even was mad I didn’t bring it by when I saw her the next day. And I made her drive it to dinner the other night. She still doesn’t know why I wanted a car like that, but she did say it was nice, even though it is big and ugly! My oldest brother asked where Grandma Mary was when he saw it, and my middle brother said I could rent it out for funerals.

And in the biggest surprise of the whole ordeal, I sold the Sebring to the first person who saw it. I had clayed and detail every inch of my former dream car, bought a plethora of for sale signs and poster boards, and parked it on the main drag of my town. Within an hour, a family had seen it, driven it, and then had think about it. I was asking $7200, after being insulted by Carmax with a $4000 trade in offer, for a one owner, warranted, top of the line Chrysler. I mean, come on, 150K mile Corollas and Civics go for for that much! Because they were very nice and lived blocks away, I told the father my rock bottom price was $6500. I had fixed the electroluminescent gauges, it had new tires and battery, all receipts, brochures, manuals, window sticker, etc, and was the cleanest Sebring, heck used car anywhere to be found locally. It needed nothing, just a new owner. And so that night, they called, said it was for their daughter, $6500 seemed fine to them because she needed to replace her 1993 Mustang Convertible. A Fox! Just like the Granada!

When they picked up the car, I showed them pictures of it when I first bought it. A young, skinny kid with a big grin standing by his first brand new car. Now, I am older, not so skinny, but still have a big grin with my second brand new car. My mom kept telling me I was going to be sad when it was gone. No, I said, it was just a car. But when I saw it round the block and leave my life forever, I chocked up. They might just be cars, but they somehow become an extension of who we are. A part of our lives because of how much of our life they make possible. I loved my Sebring TSi and now I love my Town Car.

I have decided to keep the Granada for a while. I have had multiple offers on it, so I know the opportunity is there, but I still enjoy it. And it will help keep the miles off the new car.

I had the dealer order a new window sticker to replace the one they damaged. And I took the Town Car into Bayway Lincoln to get the front license bracket put on, wheel balancing and alignment, order 2 sets of new Continental floor mats (one to keep packaged and one for use for special occasions, lol, I’m OCD), a new driver side wood grain power window switch cover since mine looks bowed, for some reason the fuel filler shuts of the pump when you start filling up the car and cuts off early when the tank is almost fuel, which they ordered parts to fix, and to check into a slight rattle in the dash. They said it was because the visor wasn’t clipped in, but the ting sound is still there. I think they are use to dealing with elderly people who will believe anything! The loaner they gave me was a MKZ, which further proved I bought the right car. It rattled in the A pillars, dash, and doors with 14k. The V6 sounds anemic and agricultural when driven sanely. The SYNC is soooooo distracting. This is definitely not a Lincoln. But, I did like the back up camera and how fast it was when you got on it. My Town Car has back up assist, so it beeps when you get close to something, which I ignored and plowed down my trash cans last week. I am learning to trust technology!

Even with the quibbles, Bayway is fixing everything on Lincoln’s dime. No, I am not getting the experience of buying a luxury car. Yes, Lexus would have wiped the floor with the Lincoln experience. But the car is well made. Everything is soft touch, the leather looks and smells great. It has a controlled float and sounds great when you push it. It is silent to the point where you hear the clock tick at all times. Everybody who has ridden in it has remarked at how luxurious it is, even if they laugh because it that doesn’t have navigation or a USB port or air conditioned seats or SYNC or more power or more gear ratios or come standard with a blue wig. It is like me, flawed but American. And yes, I know it was made in Canada!

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24 Comments on “Piston Slap: Of Panther Love, and a Fox Love Supreme (Part II)...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    All hail the anti-Prius!

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Quite the story! I don’t understand the love of this platform, but you know exactly why you love your car and how it is different from any other you could be driving, so kudos.

    $44K? Jeepers. But if you love it, you love it.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      30 mile, find yourself some long stretch of ‘Murican highway, fill that 22 gallon tank with PREMIUM, load up on pork rinds and RC Cola, and set the Cruise Control for 82 mph while Sinatra blares from all ten speakers as you set upon CUSH such as if you were piloting your living room couch. Absolutely the last bit of the 20th Century that you can enjoy without seeing it in a museum.

      • 0 avatar

        Premium not necessary…unless you do a high octane tune.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          Need advice. Recently purchased a 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis with 23,000 miles. Mr. Friction has barely touched it, but bad old Mr. Oxidation has been at work for 15 years. Previous owner replaced tires, hoses and belts. My mechanic replaced dirty filters-oil, fuel and air as well as a goobered bushing. It is ready to modify, I think.

          I don’t want a cop car. P71′s handle fine but are too rough on the freeway and interstate. I want a smooth highway ride with as little wallowing as possible. Internet research suggests three things: really good tires, Bilstein shocks and Addco aftermarket anti-sway bars front and back. What do you think, Oh Master?

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    “80 something year old lady panzer”

    LMAO… C.K. is a great kid.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Gotta admit, I’m a little jealous, even with a ’13 Charger R/T in my garage.

    Even if you could have gotten basically the same car with less than 100k on the odo for almost 1/10th the price, this one is yours from the start, and could be forever with simple maintenance.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    A perfect ride for flyover country. It’ll eat up miles of interstate and be comfy on the state highways built in 30′s and little improved since then. Canyon carver? You can watch your dog run away for three days it so flat. Tasty off camber curves on the antiquated state highway? Only in the wee hours of the early morning/late at night; the rest of the time you’re stuck in slot-car commuter traffic. It’s like docking a barge? Who cares the parking lots are striped for dual-cab dually trucks. An ideal ride for the hinterlands. I-70 west of Dayton? I-64 west of Louisville? I’d take one of these.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I thought a long while about buying a 2009 Lacrosse. It would be my final shot at owning a new car with a Buick V6 and my last chance at owning a new BOP car with a divisional engine.

    But it was still a W-body so I passed.

  • avatar
    pharmer

    You made the right choice, hands down, if only because it’s one of the great joys of life to put in the work and get EXACTLY what you want when you want it.

    I will never personally understand the people who count the dimes on their bank balance as life passes by. Why work so hard if you’re not out enjoying the fruits of your labors? You’ll only regret what you don’t do! Great reminder for the rest of us!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It’s really about balance. We all need joy in our lives, we don’t always need instant gratification. I’d say he made a fine choice for himself in this case.

      I count the dimes in my bank account, and when the ratio of dimes to metal in the garage and yard becomes unbalanced, I make an exchange.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I was in a Lincoln taxi with 292,000. I was surprised, it could have passed for new. Quiet, no rattles. No wear and tear. The cab driver said it still had lots of miles left. As in several 100k.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I was in a livery one with 446k. Chatted up the driver about it and he said it was quite reliable, original engine and stressed the frequent oil changes which kept it from breaking down. He shouted at me “Oil changes” “Oil changes” like “Cheezburger Cheezburger”. Though he did say it was on it’s 3rd transmission and needed occasional front suspension work.

  • avatar
    alan996

    As one of my Granddaughters would say “good on you” and I’ll add kid.

    Keep up the maintenance and stock the larder with backup wear out items and you will be driving it 25 years from now (if they let you).

    From an old guy just back from a 1400 road trip in a a 95 TC.

  • avatar
    noxioux

    I have to admit, after some experience with a friend’s Crown Victoria, I’ve been shopping panther Town Cars. I’d take one in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    The hipsters can gnash and wail all they want, but BOF vehicles and McD’s are inherently good things. C.K. has somehow withstood all the politically correct brainwashing and realized this. Gives an old guy hope.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Love the Panthers. I’ve had my 1996 Grand Marquis for 10 years, longer than I’ve ever owned any other car, and I’ll likely never get rid of it.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    You go C.K.! Interesting color combo — I haven’t heard of a TC with a black interior other than a black exterior livery car for a long time. I wonder if at the end of the production run Ford was trying to use up whatever parts were around.

    I just did a 1400 mile round trip last month in my 2005 TC, Savannah to Baltimore and back, and averaged 24.7 MPG for the entire trip, including a 90 minute traffic jam on the DC Beltway on the way up and a somewhat shorter one on the way back.

  • avatar
    Micah

    I understand your love of this car, but I think you overpaid.

    Where I am, you can’t give one of these away. I tried to help a friend sell a 2004, sub-60K mile, minty example only driven by an elderly gentleman in Texas on Sundays. I couldn’t sell it for 1/2 of blue book price. These are simple enough to age well, and used, low milage versions are way, way easy to find. Can’t imagine paying “new” price.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I like panthers, but I do not like having to deal with expensive power windows that fail at 90k, riveted door panels, a weirdly laid out engine, nor wallowy suspension.

    Thats why I decided not to buy one, they’re fine cars and they’re good for road trips.

    But the quality issues combined with a wallowy suspension make me question the love for these cars. Yes they’re body on frame, but that just means that you can tow trailers with it.

    I don’t consider bof construction to be remarkebly better than unibody, I know someone with a Ford truck that got a twisted frame in a light accident, and it is a bit harsh over roads.

    I have driven a panther before though, enjoyed the ride but couldn’t stand the body roll nor the cheap worksmanship.

  • avatar
    markholli

    C.K.: your irrational panther love inspired me to investigate why this cult following exists. This week at the auction I found a 2011 Town Car (I think was a Hertz fleet vehicle) with around 30 grand on the clock. I took the liberty of doing a few laps of the back lot where I could open it up a little.

    I understand now what panther love is all about: the huge hood extending out in front of you, the hood ornament out in front announcing your arrival, the “floating on clouds” ride, and the big V8 sending power to the rear wheels. I liked it…a lot.

    I can’t see myself buying a Town Car as a daily driver, but I can respect why you would.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Congratulations, man. I had a 93′ Executive and as a young guy all my friends thought it was the coolest car ever. A truly marvelous tank/limousine.

    Keep yours forever!


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