This regal blue 1948 Lincoln Continental two-door hardtop coupe is not a restoration project. It’s been kept in pristine shape all these years, and was recently sold to car collector Lonnie Shelton (no, not the ex-NBA player). But it’s not just any 1948 Lincoln.
“The first time I saw the car,” Shelton said, “I fell in love with it. There are several 1948 Lincoln Continentals out there, but none like this one.” That’s because this one was owned by baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth before his death on August 16, 1948.
Earlier that year, Ford Motor Co. presented Ruth with a new Lincoln Continental as a measure of its appreciation for his tireless devotion to Little Leaguers and baseball. Before he died of cancer, Ruth spent many of his final days traveling across the country in this Lincoln, giving speeches and hitting lessons to kids.
The car is in perfect shape, with original interior and car color — “I call it Yankee blue,” Shelton said. The speedometer reaches 110 miles per hour. The radio works and takes about 15 minutes to warm up the glass tubes used in that era. The doors and windows work by hydraulics. The steering wheel is huge by today’s standards. The license plates are black and feature the orange words: THE BABE.
“To know somebody had enough foresight since 1948 to keep that car in that kind of shape is amazing,” Shelton said. “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.”
Shelton said he plans to use the car to help raise money for charities.
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