Even with the advent of Uber, Lyft and Prius, the model withdrawn in 2011 has its loyalists.
Not wanting to go to a specific place, some passengers – loyal to Uber or Lyft – feel the need for speed.
But I feel the need for Ameed.
Ameed Musleh is an independent driver for hire. Although it owns or has access to newer Lincoln Town Cars, its primary vehicle is the 1998 edition. With almost 400,000 miles.
Its back seat and trunk are extremely spacious and flows along the road as if you were on the lake without chopping. Its black exterior is perfectly maintained; its brown interior breaks a bit and smells like cigarettes, but it’s still comfortable enough.
If you want to ride in silence, 50-year-old Mr. Musleh will give you peace of mind, without having to specify it in the application. If you like your conversation, Mr. Musleh can work blue. Standing comics read the room; Mr. Musleh is reading his backseat.
Sometimes Mr. Musleh is available in a very short time. But more often you need to book it a few hours in advance, negotiating a rate that almost always exceeds the rate in the share-service.
At the end of the big night on the lively Seattle Ballard Avenue, while dozens of dump trucks are at war with their smartphones in the hope of landing a limited supply of Ubers or Lyfts in the immediate area, Musleha’s city car smoothly drives to where they stand on the side of the road. In rain it looks especially royal and has only eyes for you.
Even with the advantage of Uber and Lyft, many Americans are still asking them to go somewhere in “city car”. But every year the chance that it will be transported to the destination by a real city car decreases, the Lincoln model ceased production in 2011, which is already too old to qualify for the luxury offers of Uber and Lyft – or, in some large cities, their standard level of service.
And due to the deteriorating interior, many private paint companies are slowly withdrawing even new city cars, replacing them with large-format SUVs, Mercedes, Chrysler 300s or Lincoln Continentals sedans, a model that Lincoln launched again in 2016 after a 14-year absence in a new – a lot of cars, probably because Matthew McConaughey wanted to do strange ads about them.
“Many people will de facto say,” I need a city car, “said Colin Perceful, a former doorman at the Muse Hotel in New York and Four Seasons in Seattle, who currently runs his own travel company. , Totally Seattle Tours. “We will say” O.K. or maybe a luxury sedan? “. They say, “Yes, the same.” It’s like someone asking for a handkerchief instead of a handkerchief. The city car in a way sank into the transport lexicon. “
A native of Palestine, Mr. Musleh moved from a refugee camp in Jordan to the United States three decades ago on a student visa. He had a friend who was driving a taxi, so he tried for about 10 years.
But he felt he was being overcharged for renting his vehicle from a taxi company, so as soon as he had enough regulars, he spent $ 5,000 for that ’98 Town Car and left on his own after briefly considering driving 18 wheels to earn a living.
The business thrived for the first five years, he said, before Uber really took hold and cost Mr. Musleh about 75 percent of his regular business. Therefore, it is considering adding a newer Chrysler 300 to its fleet in order to increase its revenue by driving for Lyft.
“Fifty percent of my clients left because they got older and they don’t go out that much, 25 percent went to Uber and Lyft, and 25 percent stayed,” Musleh said. “Young customers feel like they are bothering me.”
Interestingly, when Uber began operating in 2009 as UberCab, it was primarily a black car service that relied heavily on Lincoln Town Cars. But with the arrival of UberX, a cheaper service, the company’s heavy hybrid has successfully eaten its father.
In a way, it’s just a story that repeats itself. Around the time when Geoff Puett entered the chauffeur industry in the mid-1990s, the industry’s preferences changed from stretch limousines to Lincoln Town Cars, which he said adopted a “smaller, more round style” in 1998.
Mr. Puett, CEO of Bayview Limousine in the suburbs of Seattle, still has five 2011 city cars in his fleet because, as he put it, “he has passengers who don’t want to ride anything else.”
By comparison, Bayview has 17 continents, and this number may increase when the company sells its city cars. He likes new continents, but he admitted that the trunk is not as deep as a city car, joking that “you can get five bodies” in this storage box.
When Mr. Puett had to sell stretch limousines to private buyers, he was struck by the number of families who caught them. It turns out that the window between the front and back seats is not only useful to hide morally questionable behavior among adults, but is also great to suppress the scream of screaming 6-year-olds.
While Mr. Puett pointed out that later Town Cars models were virtually “all fleet sales,” there are several enthusiasts of individual enthusiasts.
“They were and are missile cars that easily cover 300,000 miles,” said David Gustafson, 80-year-old communications president at National Lincoln and the Continental Owners Club. Gustafson, a resident of Burnsville, Minn., Added that “you just can’t kill” Town Cars, which he affectionately called “BarcaLoungers on wheels.”
70-year-old Pat Corbett is an industrial consulting engineer who lives in Manchaca, a suburb of Austin, Texas, and operates at the local Lincoln car club. His wife drives a city car from 2004. When his daughter, now 20 years old, needed transportation in high school, Mr. Corbett gave her a 91-year city car that he drove, and bought a car 94 from a California seller that he couldn’t see.
“I put new tires on her and returned to Texas without fear,” he said.
Explaining that he favors the “pure mass” of large Lincoln over airbags, Mr. Corbett said about his Town Car fans: “We’re older enough to be from an era in which driving was an event. We were not worried that we were trying to get from point A to point B as cheaply as possible. We don’t care about a car 40 miles per gallon, which is so small that it can be put in my Lincoln’s trunk. “
If you want to buy a used city car, a newer one in good condition will generally give you a refund of between 4,000 and 6,000 USD. Both Mr. Gustafson and Mr. Corbett think they have the potential to become collector’s items and therefore more valuable.
Jerry Seibert, 68, a member of the Lincoln club who lives in Springfield, Illinois, is also stubborn on the vehicle. “Every time I take my 2004 city car for service,” he said, “I get a call saying their CEO wants to make an offer.”