- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2004

Have you ever wondered what happens to those cars that are donated to charity?

One such car, a 1972 Lincoln Mark IV, was the answer to a plea by David Karmol.

While Mr. Karmol was attending high school in Toledo, Ohio, his friend’s father had a Lincoln Mark III and, occasionally, he would get to use the car. That’s when Mr. Karmol and his pal would go cruising.

Miles travelled in that Lincoln were like heaven.

Those happy memories lingered with Mr. Karmol throughout his years at Miami of Ohio and long after graduation.

Years later, he owned a Mark VII Lincoln before trading it for a Mark VIII model in 1993. Unfortunately, his last Lincoln was totaled in a wreck in 2000.

During the summer of 2002 Mr. Karmol was Internet surfing when he came across a 1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV advertised with 89,000 miles, a perfect engine and a perfect interior and some body rust. When new the car had a base price of $8,640.

He submitted an electronic bid and surprisingly was notified that he was the high bidder. That’s when he discovered that the car was in Maryland and it had been donated to the Kidney Foundation.

He asked for a realistic summary of the mechanical condition of his prize and was told that the brakes might need to be bled. He decided to have the 4,999-pound Lincoln trucked to his Great Falls home.

Once the 18-foot, 4-inch-long Lincoln was in his driveway he discovered the 460-cubic-inch V-8 indeed was a smooth, quiet engine. “It doesn’t have a lot of low-end punch,” Mr. Karmol says.

The Sure-Track brakes needed to be replaced and the horn didn’t work. The rim-blow feature permitted the driver to merely squeeze the two-spoke steering wheel to sound the horn. “I took the wheel apart and replaced the faulty relay switch,” Mr. Karmol says.

The white Lincoln had been parked for some time on a nonpaved surface, which resulted in rust eating away at the bottom edges of the car. “It had some rust,” Mr. Karmol acknowledges.

The white vinyl top was most certainly in need of replacing. He was advised to rip off the old and replace it with modern vinyl because he would never be able to find the original pattern vinyl.

He popped the top trim off, removed the vinyl, treated what rust was there and, after an intensive search, located the original pattern vinyl in Massachusetts.

The chagrined upholstery shop was happy to install the calvary twill vinyl top, carefully tucking the material around the oval opera windows.

The advertising about the excellent interior was right on. The dark blue Lamont cloth upholstery shows virtually no wear.

All of the power accessories were put back into working order with a minimum of effort including:

• Power locks.

• Power brakes.

• Power steering.

• Power windows.

“I put new spark plugs in it,” Mr. Karmol says, “the first in about 20 years.” The 212-horsepower engine responded gratefully.

Sales literature from 1972 boasts that the 1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV is “the finest car built in America.” The claim goes on to say the 1972 Lincoln “insulates and isolates the occupants from the boorish reality of the road.”

Mr. Karmol says, “It’s not that bad on gas,” while reporting a mileage figure of about 12 miles per gallon. The Mark IV does have a 22.5-gallon fuel tank to provide a reasonable driving range.

With the odometer now having recorded 92,000 miles, he is proud to say, “I bought this car to drive.”

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