by Rufus Flywheel
Despite challenging weather, the 2016 Annual Lincoln Homecoming, held August 11-14, was a success. The event was held at the Lincoln Motor Car Heritage Museum on the campus of the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.
The weekend exemplified “Murphy’s Law.” Following weeks of drought in Michigan, the rains came on and off throughout the weekend. However, the rain didn’t affect most attendees, who drove and displayed their Lincolns--rain or shine.
The star of the show was the only surviving Road Race Lincoln, a 1954 Capri, which is on loan from the National Automobile Museum/The Harrah Collection in Reno, Nevada. The car went on display at the Lincoln museum on July 15 and will remain there until September 15.
This year’s event was hosted by one of the four major Lincoln clubs, the Road Race Lincoln Registry. RRLR leader Mike Denney was ably assisted by LMCF annual gathering regulars Dennis Garrett and Bob Johnson, both LCOC members. Their team of volunteers did a superb job handling weekend details. The four-day event began on Thursday, August 11 and concluded on Sunday, August 14.
On Thursday, the first driving tour took place — to Fennville, Michigan, to visit Crane’s Pie Factory, where participants enjoyed a delicious lunch in historic surroundings — and, obviously, their choice of pies. That evening, a buffet coupled with Las Vegas-style gaming, took place at the host hotel, the Four Points Kalamazoo by Sheraton.
Friday offered a choice of two driving tours — one group visited the U. S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, where attendees spent the day watching a variety of vehicles make their warm-up runs for the weekend’s drag races. They enjoyed lunch at the park.
The other group drove to the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, the Kellogg Manor House and Bell’s Brewery. The group enjoyed a plated lunch at the Kellogg Manor, followed by a guided tour of this unique mansion by knowledgeable docents.
A tasty Texas-style barbecue was held on Friday evening. Highlight of the evening was an engaging talk by John Emmert, Group Marketing Manager, Lincoln. He offered insights on his personal connection to Lincoln as well as the future of the Lincoln brand. Afterwards, an auction was held, offering a variety of Lincoln parts and memorabilia..
Saturday was show day! Despite early showers nearly all cars were displayed. There was no formal judging at the Homecoming event but several awards were presented on Sunday.
The Long Distance award was presented to George and Joanne Mumro, who drove their 1940 Lincoln-Zephyr coupe from New Hampshire.
The People’s Choice award was presented to a 1949 Lincoln 9EL convertible owned by Tom and Debbie Lance. The Ladies’ Choice award was presented to a 1999 Lincoln Town Car owned by Thom and Roberta Liston.
And, other activities took place. On Saturday afternoon the museum formally unveiled a restored 1925/26 Lincoln display chassis. The impetus for the project and the majority of the funding was supplied by the Nau family, headed up by past LOC President Gene Nau, in memory of his father, Gerry Nau (who restored the 1923 Lincoln phaeton in the museum). Starting with an incomplete chassis donated by LOC member Arnold Schmidt, the restoration was completed by LOC member Paul Van Stratton and his three assistants. Parts were donated by LOC members Greg Bilpuch, Joe Rogers, Jim Fox and Paul Van Stratton.
Also taking place on Saturday was the formal acceptance by the museum of a 1941 Lincoln Continental cabriolet by the Dale Schaefer family. The late Mr. Schaefer was one of the founding members of the Lincoln Continental Owners Club. His family decided that the best place for his car was the Lincoln Motor Car Heritage Museum.
That evening another buffet dinner took place. Following dinner there was an excellent presentation by Andrew Layton on Ray Crawford of Road Race Lincoln fame. Layton has authored a book, Ray Crawford: Speed Merchant. The presentation included many historic photographs and was enjoyed by all.
On Sunday, an “All Ford Product Car Show” was held, which was open to anyone owning a Ford-built product, including the Lincolns. The meet concluded with the presentation of awards and photos of all cars.
The 2017 Lincoln Homecoming will be held on August 10-13. Mark your calendar.