Lonnie Shelton went to Dallas in search of spare parts for his car collection. The long-time baseball fan came home with the collector's item of a lifetime.
Shelton, 61, a Pampa, Texas resident, heard that Babe Ruth's 1948 Lincoln Continental was on display at the Texas Museum of Automotive History. Upon visiting, he learned it was also for sale. The two-door hardtop coupe remained in immaculate condition.
He couldn't resist.
"To know somebody had enough foresight since 1948 to keep that car in that kind of shape is amazing," said Shelton, who would not disclose the purchase price. "I respect that. And I can tell you that car will be maintained and kept in better shape than it ever has. I love old cars."
Ruth, one of the greatest home-run kings that has ever played the game, received the car as a gift from Ford Motor Company in appreciation of the work he had done with Little Leaguers since his retirement from the game in 1935. Shortly after receiving the gift, Ruth succumbed to cancer on August 16, 1948.
Shelton has documentation confirming the authenticity of the vehicle, which has 81,000 miles on the odometer and spent the past 35 years on display on several museums in Minnesota and Texas. Shelton is working on arrangements with a local baseball team, the Amarillo Sox, to share the car with baseball fans.
"I want to share the car with baseball fans," Shelton said. "And the greatest thing will be if we are able to use this car to bring relief for kids who have special needs, even adopt a kid to help them out. I'm on board for that."
The car is a beautiful item from Lincoln's past. To see what Lincoln has in store for the future, check out this story that details the opening of the brand's first dedicated design center since the 1970s.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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