The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance is coming up November 1 and 2, and this year, it’s featuring three Lincoln Mark IIs with Ford family heritage.
The cars are currently in the care of Jim Schmidt and his son, Rick, from Ocala, Florida. They’ve provided great detail on their provenance:
“The blue William Clay Ford Mark II was discovered in the early 1980s by my father’s good friend Roger Hayman. Roger worked for Ford at the time, and has always had a knack for being ‘plugged-in’ to everyone and everything in/around Detroit.
“Dad had phoned Roger asking for assistance in locating a clean Mark II for my grandfather, and within several hours, Roger called back with “How about Mr. Ford’s Mark II?’ The deal was quickly done, and my grandfather flew to Detroit and drove the Mark II back to Florida. My dad attended to certain cosmetic and mechanical needs, and it lived with my Grandfather through the 80’s and into the 90’s, at which time he gave the car back to my father as he was getting too old to take proper care of it. It was at that time that my father embarked upon a long-process of further-improving the car to the level it is at today.’
“Once the blue Mark II was up-to-snuff for show duties, my father began taking it to various events. At a LCOC event (Lincoln Continental Owners Club) he met a retired Ford Executive named Edson Williams, who owned Benson Ford’s original Green Lucite Metallic Mark II. Benson was the older brother of William Clay.
“Ongoing from that point, my father discussed the prospect of buying the Benson Ford Mark II from Mr. Williams, but they were never able to arrive at an amicable price. When Mr. Williams passed on, his family approached my father about buying the car, as their dad had told them that he would have liked for the two cars to be together. This time an amicable price was reached, and my father now owned the Mark II’s of brothers William Clay and Benson Ford. Benson’s car was in very nice original condition.”
“After taking delivery of Benson’s car, and sitting at lunch with my father, he looked up at me after a moment of deep thought and said, ‘Well, I know where Henry II’s Mark II is, but it’s an absolute basket case.It’s been advertised for sale for over two years, but it’s so rough, nobody has been crazy or dumb enough to buy it…Well, I guess now I’m going to have to be that crazy and dumb guy.’ The black Henry Ford II Mark II had been advertised as a mostly-disassembled project car in Hemmings Motor News for quite some time, for all to see. But to say it was rusty and rough was an understatement.
“Its restoration would be challenging, extensive, and EXPENSIVE. But since my father had already accumulated Henry II’s younger brother’s Mark II’s, he felt compelled to have a complete set, so he set out with an empty trailer, and two days later returned with the ravaged remains of Henry and Anne Ford’s original car.”
The cars will be on display November 1 and 2 at the Port Royal Golf Club. For more information on the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, visit the official website atwww.HHIMotoringFestival.com. Tickets for the 2014 Motoring Festival are available for sale online at http://www.hhimotoringfestival.com/tickets.