An ad popped up this afternoon, it was a car disguised as a lemon or maybe the other way around. Then I remembered my dad’s best friend. A Red Headed Mexican, Eddie Campos. I loved Eddie and his wife Carlotta. He is a fair, freckled man with red hair and she was a beautiful blonde, they had a few boys, and I love to hear Eddie talk, his accent was warm and he was a funny man who was always smiling. He was always a part of our family. He and my dad were life long friends, companions and fishing partners until the day my dad passed away eight years ago.
Eddie was a plasterer in those days and he worked and saved to buy a 1970 Lincoln Continental. The sticker price was $6500.00.
The 1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III
The 1970 model year cars included the formerly optional vinyl roof and Sure-Track anti-lock braking system. The interior wood trim was upgraded to genuine walnut wood trim (all 1969 models featured either East India Rosewood or English Oak wood appliques depending on the interior color). The Continental lettering on the decklid was bolted on (instead of glued on for 1969). The seat and door trim pattern was changed to a simpler design (instead of the diamond-pattern, button-tufted design of 1969). Also new were a locking steering column, rim-blow-horn steering wheel, map light off delay device, concealed electric windshield wipers with adjustable intermittent feature, and a three-point restraint system for front outboard occupants.
Shortly after the purchase it seemed that it was nothing but trouble. After two years of fighting with Ford Motor Co., and around a dozen times in to the dealer for repairs that never worked, Eddie came up with a plan of his own to get the company to pay attention.
We didn’t do a lot as a family outside of the river and camping trips. But I will never forget the day my dad came home and packed up the family and drove us over to Pico Rivera to the Ford Plant, I was 7 years old. There was quit the crowd in front of that building that evening along with the local news.
Eddie rolled his Black 1970 Lincoln onto the vast lawn outside of the Pico Rivera plant. doused it with gas and lit it on fire. Shortly after that yet another car came in on a trailer, a red one with lemons painted all over it. For a buck you could take a whack at it with a sledge-hammer. My dad took a few swings and made the evening news. And “his plan” brought about some very important changes and laws in our country, we call it the Lemon Law.
The Lincoln was towed back to his home, where he parked it in front of his house, cut a hole in the top of the black car and planted a five foot lemon tree. The last time I was at his home, the tree and the car were still there. It gave off plenty of lemons for the neighborhood and passers-by are free to take what they need.
Eddie’s plan didn’t get him a new car, and if I remember right he didn’t get his money back. Instead, we are the beneficiaries of his deed, two years of a headache and a car that did nothing more that provide a nice pot for a lemon tree. Because of this unassuming man we have the Lemon Law to protect you and your investment.
Eddie’s plan brought about consumer protection, not just here in California, but throughout the country and the world. Eddies plight made the news all over the country. He was interviewed many years later and he went into detail about the car and his plight with Ford Motor Co., but I was unable to find it. There are many news clippings from cities around the country here is one.
So… Now you know.