Bill’s 1947 Lincoln Continental
By Frank Goode
In the late 1940’s Bill Gerhardt was working for the Nickel Plate Railroad, providing vacation relief for part of a signal crew. While the crew was stationed in Hammond, Indiana, Bill would retire to the hotel each evening and see first one, then a second 1947 Lincoln Continental drive down the main street of town. Bill was fascinated with the car and vowed that he would own one someday.
It took almost 60 years, including five years of bargaining with a fellow St. Thomas More parishioner before Bill was finally able to satisfy that dream. The beautiful light green car is occasionally seen in the STM parking lot for the 7:30 AM mass on Sunday mornings.
Bill’s 1947 model is one of only 5,400 cars built by Lincoln between 1940 and 1948. Only 1,400 were built in 1947 and sold for the astronomical price of $5,400 (approximately $59,000 today). When the model run ended in 1948 it was the last production passenger car with a V12 engine manufactured in the United States.
Bill and his late wife Dottie were among the first members of the St. Thomas More family dating back to the first masses at Copper Creek School. When they first moved to the West Valley they were disappointed with the small number of parishes in the area (St. Elizabeth Seaton was the nearest Catholic Church for them) and Dottie began a letter writing campaign, imploring Bishop O’Brien to establish another parish in the Glendale area. Bill is unsure if the scores of letters she wrote to the Bishop were instrumental in the decision to establish St. Thomas More, but we are all grateful for the final result.
Bill will be displaying his beautiful 1947 Lincoln Continental at the First Annual St. Thomas More Car Show on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the church. Plan to bring the family and meet Bill and his amazing car along with dozens of other classic, custom, muscle and hot rod vehicles.
December 31, 2017