There's something deeply satisfying about an old car getting a bath for the first time in years, especially when those years are measured in decades. Whether it's a rare barn find covered in dust or a neglected family sedan that's being saved from the crusher, seeing the paint shine again can bring back memories of being handed the keys for the first time.
Such is the case with this 1963 Lincoln Continental, a car that spent half its life parked in an old chicken coop. Three brothers recently reached out to Larry Kosilla of Ammo NYC to see if he could help surprise their dad by reuniting him with his long-lost Lincoln—mainly by treating it to its first true scrubbing in almost three decades.
First, a quick backstory on what made the car so special to the family and how it ended up parked away for so long.
It was Mother's Day in 1995 when the Zlotnicks' 1963 Lincoln Continental last moved under its own power. Brothers Mike, Greg, and Pete had lost their mother. Mr. Zlotnick loaded up his boys into the Continental to visit their mother's grave, and on the way home, they were pulled over.
Mike recalls it like it was yesterday; the wrong plates were on the car since it wasn't registered or insured, the Lincoln's top was stuck down, and the car had to be towed home. That was the last time it was ever driven, and the land yacht spent the next half of its life hidden from the sunlight.
While Mike and his brothers sent their father out to golf for the day, they carefully extracted the Lincoln from storage. The nearly 18-foot-long sedan was stored with a car cover on top but was still in rough shape. Its paint was faded, chrome dull, tires flat and dry rotted—plus, the entire car was covered in mouse droppings and reeked of urine.
After the car arrived at Kosilla's shop, the expert detailer began by giving it a first wash. He then treated the oxidized single-stage paint and later performed a second deeper wash with special attention paid to the top and chrome bits.
Then came the interior, which was littered with acorns, feces, dust, and mold.
Kosilla broke out the steam cleaner for the seats, door panels, and dashboard—a necessity given all the nooks and crannies in the Lincoln's interior. The work was completed with a small brush and microfiber cloth. The seats were beyond saving due to the age and wear, but Kosilla still cleaned and conditioned them as best as he could.
Quite a few rodent bungalows were discovered along the way. A huge nest in the glovebox was found while cleaning the dashboard, and another surfaced behind the carpet while vacuuming it out. Afterward, the sedan's beautiful red carpet was shampooed to restore its former velour-like appearance.
The 7.0-liter, 320-horsepower V8 also received some special attention. While any tuning up would be left to Mr. Z or his trusted mechanic, Kosilla washed the engine bay and even removed a few mouse carcasses along the way.
The detailing job took about four days to complete. When it was finally wrapped up, the Zlotnick brothers presented their father with the car at Ammo NYC. Mr. Z says that one day the rare Lincoln will be passed down to his boys, and Kosilla hopes his detailing can help convince the family to go all-in on a full restoration.
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