Some cars simply command attention. Jonell Laxa’s 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible is one of them.
It’s an absolute unit—and it’s absolutely amazing. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
It’s an amazing machine!
[tgp] Introductions: My understanding is you’re into one of the most elegant machines to ever come out of Detroit—the Lincoln Continental. Is that correct? Anything else you’d like to mention?
[jl] Yes, probably one of the most beautiful cars to ever come out of Detroit. I always loved the look of the Continental and its suicide doors, but I did not truly fall in love until I owned and built one. Once you go through the pains of building one of these classic luxury machines, you fall in love. I started off with a 1964 hardtop. Then a 1965 hardtop. And finally at one of my dream cars—the 1964 convertible.
[tgp] The most important automotive opinions are those of real, actual owners. As a Continental owner, could you share a little unvarnished truth with the rest of us? What do you love about them? What do you not love about them?
[jl] Suicide doors. Iconic. One of the very few cool 4-door vehicles out there. If you own a convertible, it is one of the small handful of 4-door convertibles in automobilia.
I love the lines. The beautiful slab sides outlined in stainless peak moldings and sharp edges. The 1964 has a distinct grille. Everyone has a different opinion on which grille is their favorite, but the ‘64 is my personal favorite.
The interior is all luxury. An elegant flowing dash that only came on the 1964-1965, unique door pull handles and space for six people.
However, one of the things I love most about this classic beauty is how you feel driving her down the road. I have owned a lot of cars. Euro, Japanese, domestic, classic—but driving or riding in a Lincoln just feels right. There is no need to go fast—just cruise.
What do I not love about them? A lot.
Lincoln Continentals are probably the hardest vehicles I have ever built. Hard because there is almost nothing reproduced. These cars are from 1961-1969, and every year is different. Very few parts are interchangeable. The parts are hard to find, and when you find them there’s always the “Lincoln Tax”.
A lot of the systems are run on vacuum, too, and those lines are usually 60+ years old. The old motors were not that great. And there is not a whole lot of information out there to guide you through building one.
[tgp] How did you end up in this camp? Why have you stuck around as long as you have?
[jl] I had a chopped 1951 Ford Custom Deluxe that was getting paint and body. Since that was taking a long time to finish, I needed to occupy my time. I looked around for a while and stumbled across a 1964 Lincoln Continental. I thought it would make a good project, so I brought it home.
I went through the growing pains building that car. That car is the one that really taught me patience. Once I finished that car (26 miles on the full build), a local guy approached me to buy it. I ended up selling it.
After a few weeks, I realized how much I really loved that style of Lincoln Continental. Since I now knew what I really wanted, I went out and found my 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible. I have been building her ever since. I have a vision of what I want for my end result, and I am getting close.
I have stuck around with the Continentals because I really do love the look of the car. This is one of the few cars that are timeless and elegant. Some cars are just iconic—and I feel that this is one of them.
The Lowrider Community
(or Lincoln, not sure if you consider the car a lowrider)
[tgp] How’s the lowrider community doing these days? Where do y’all hangout, share tech, and whatnot?
[jl] I don’t know if I fall into the Lowrider community. Maybe I fall into the restomod group… or lowrod group? Either way, I have been lucky to be accepted into most groups. C’mon… Who doesn’t love a slammed Lincoln Continental with suicide doors?
There are meetups and pop up meets all around San Diego. The community is strong. With the lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions, I see more people buying and building classics more than ever. A lot of the tech talk happens on the forums or groups on Facebook. There are a lot of communities people can join to share knowledge or just hang out. It all just depends on where you want to spend your time. Time is one of the few things you can never get back, so I choose wisely when allocating my time.
This Gearhead Life
[tgp] When you think about automotive culture in general, what stands out as being the biggest issue we should be working on together? What’s your biggest concern and what should we be doing about it?
[jl] I think we should be working together to keep this culture alive. I see too many people knocking other people for their cars, their styles, and their brands.
I am a car guy. I like all cars. I am not loyal to a single brand. There are plenty of cool cars by every manufacturer. I think we all should just keep the classics alive, build cool cars and show our kids the beauty in automobilia.Jonell Laxa
I am just a guy who likes to build cool cars in his garage in his spare time. I think more people need healthy hobbies to keep them occupied.
[tgp] Who’s made the biggest difference in your life with cars? How so?
[jl] My wife has made the biggest difference in my life with cars. She is always supportive. She knows way more than she wants to know about cars, engines, motorcycles, etc. She is the one I go to when I have to work out a problem. She usually gives me encouragement—and the time to work it out. She has seen dozens and dozens of cars go through my hands, and she never questions me… just as excited to see how the build turns out.
Restomod? Lowrod? Continental.
I’m not entirely sure how to classify Jonell’s amazing machine. It’s low, but it’s not what you’d expect to be a lowrider. And it’s definitely a restomod, flexing the fine line between stock and modified. So what exactly is this machine? The answer is simple—it’s a ‘64 Lincoln Continental convertible.
What else do you need to know?
Thank you to Jonell for making time to share his amazing machine with us. I mean, wow.