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Friday, January 20, 2012

New Lawsuit Says Neil Young's Fire-Starting Lincoln Continental Hybrid Was Unsafe

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Neil Young and the LincVolt - JACKRICKARD.BLOGSPOT.COM
  • JackRickard.blogspot.com
  • Neil Young and the LincVolt

Only a crazy (read: legally negligent) person would convert a 1959 Lincoln Continental to run on a hybrid of gasoline and electricity.

That's the argument in a new lawsuit filed against a firm owned by Neil Young, whose custom-built hybrid is being blamed for a 2010 warehouse fire in San Carlos that caused more than $1 million in damage. The blaze burned a great deal of Young's music memorabilia -- including rare guitars and photographs -- and left the car a mere shell of burned-out steel.

The hybrid Lincoln was a project of LincVolt, a company of which Young is an officer. Unigard, which insured the warehouse Young rented to store the car, says that building it -- a project that was the subject of a four-part film series in 2008 -- was not a smart thing to do:

"The altering of a gas-powered 1959 vehicle and its components is an extreme departure from what a reasonably careful person would do," the company claims in the suit, which was filed Tuesday in San Mateo County Superior Court and first reported by Josh Melvin at the San Jose Mercury News. (Young did not respond to the Merc's request for comment.)

A charging malfunction with the LincVolt set off a three-alarm blaze on Nov. 9, 2010. But the fire didn't deter the legendary Bay Area musician from trying again to make a statement by putting environmentally responsible mechanics inside classic American sheet metal. As the Merc reports:

Young opted to have the vehicle rebuilt, and the progress has been tracked by posts on the website devoted to the Lincoln. As of Friday, the car was in Orange County undergoing driving tests. It will be headed back to Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco before heading up to Sacramento for painting.

The website promises that the rebuilt version will be as unique as its precursor.

"LincVolt has been redesigned in and out," the website says. An aerodynamic cover on the Lincoln's underside will help in "reducing drag and allowing LincVolt to cut through the air more efficiently than ever before at high speeds."

[Mercury News]

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