GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 1962 Lincoln Continental Film Shoot
This is Rich Plavetich’s grandfather’s car, the same one he used to see regularly when he lived across from his grandparents when he was growing up in Pittsburgh. His grandpa was a strong and positive influence on his life, and the 1962 Lincoln that he bought when Rich was just two years old became a symbol of sorts of everything that the young Rich adored in him. In the garage, the two would spend time tinkering with the car, one relative passing down knowledge to a budding member of the next generation.
The basics of mechanical function and upkeep got Rich interested in automobiles in general, and the Continental in particular. Back then he says, there was little else as advanced as the big Lincoln, and still today the fourth generation stands as a hallmark of American style and confidence with the best connotations. An elegant and slightly alien or at least futuristic machine, Elwood Engle’s creation is a paragon of goodness from a decade with no shortage of landmark cars.
Rich was enthralled with the car, and when he left Pittsburgh he quickly ended up in the automotive business in Detroit, and not as a used car salesman. At 19, Rich found himself at GM Design. He then went to California in 1987 on a vacation, and packed his bags right away when he got back to Detroit. He’s lived in California for the last 32 years, living the dream, designing cars.
Rich led the design and engineering of the Eclipse Concept E for Mitsubishi about 15 years ago which became the production Eclipse, and he also worked on projects with Mercedes-Benz among other companies. Today he’s working with Nissan.
His grandpa was a lawyer, the kind of person to take extensive notes as his professional habits became mixed with his personal ones. Rich has an exhaustive written history of this car as a result. His grandpa had bought a different “brand new” Continental before this car, and brought it home from the dealer lot to find that it felt, just, off. Not like a new car at all. A closer inspection showed that it had obviously covered more than just delivery miles—too much wear on the tires, too many bugs in the radiator, all in all it seemed like it’d done more like a few thousand miles.
From his fraternity days, Rich’s grandfather knew the general sales manager of Lincoln and Mercury in Dearborn, and he relayed the story of how he’d purchased a “new” car with at least a few thousand miles on it. He was able to return the used Continental for what turned out to be an executive demo car in return. It had 2,000 miles on it, and the Plavetichs have put on every single one since.
His grandpa passed away in 1973, but rather than pass the car along to a new owner, it stayed in Rich’s grandma’s garage. A few years later and Rich has his driver’s license, and the car that was always meant for him finally became his at the ripe young age of 16. He’s kept it with him ever since, almost 50 years now.