ORCHARD PARK, NY - A 2 On Your Side viewer, who is also a car enthusiast, wrote to us about what he described as and "unusual sight" in the Southtowns
What we found when we went to take a look really represents an end of an era.
On a non-descript lot across from Leisure Ice Rink there are 103 identical Lincoln Town Cars, Executive L models, representing approximately $5 million in inventory.
The sea of black also represents what's long been the gold standard among livery services and funeral homes...coveted for their wide rear doors, extra leg room, and durability.
They belong to Towne Auto Group, one of only a handful of dealers across the country catering to the needs of those who buy fleets of such cars.
Soon this iconic industry standard will be no more, once new federal environmental and fuel economy standards kick in.
"Unfortunately the Town Car did not meet those standards," said David Bastian, Towne Auto Group's Director of Commercial Sales.
Bastian, who also hosts a radio show on the limousine industry, says rather than spend millions to convert a car for which there's no longer much of a retail market (where car makers make their largest profits) Ford Motor Company decided to end production of the Town Car after a 30 year run.
"Final production ends next month, in August, and after that, the Lincoln Town Car is gone," Bastian said.
However, while the Lincoln Town Car may soon be gone, it's certainly not forgotten...especially by its loyal commercial customer base.
"It's like an old pair of shoes for that industry," Bastian explained. "They're very comfortable with that pair of shoes...and most people in that industry are unsure of the next vehicle that's coming."
This is why demand is high in the Town Car's final days....and why Bastion figures to double his inventory to roughly 200 in the next couple of weeks.
"As a matter fo fact I had two today head to Nashville, two that are going down to Atlanta, and next month I've got 19 going down to New Orleans and more going to Las Vegas, so these vehicles will definitely go all across the country. And they're not just purchasing one or two cars. They're buying three, five, ten at a time...so if I have 200 cars here I don't anticipate they'll last very long," Bastian said.
Just don't expect to walk up to the lot and buy one for yourself.
"You have to have a Ford fleet number to purchase these and unfortunately I cannot sell you an Executive L. But if you wanted a Town Car Signature Limited, those are available and they're available until supply is gone."
The Town Car is made in St. Thomas Ontario, and the end of its 30 year production run has a more unfortunate impact locally, as it will result in the layoff of 150 workers at Buffalo's Ford Stamping plant, which produced body panels for the Town Car.
Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Dooley O'Rourke.
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