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Broken Dreams And Hot Rod Lincolns

April 16, 2010

Rock & Roll’s Romance with Classic American Cars

I’m editing an interview with Frank Cloutier, Director of Future Vehicle Technologies, a serious competitor in the Automotive X-Prize competition. The interview will be posted next week. For Friday Fractured Flickers this week we feature a few fragments and some furious songs about Neil Young’s LincVolt project, an X-Prize dropout. And we’ll look, learn and listen a little to America’s long-term love affair with cars and rock & roll.

Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, film director and activist Neil Young is better know for driving blistering electric guitar riffs and enigmatic lyrics than driving his hybrid 1959 Mark IV Lincoln Continental. But, like a number of movie and music stars Neil backs green vehicles and alternative energy projects. He is also an ardent admirer of classic Detroit iron and hot rods. He has spent several years and lots of his money pursuing, what some would say is an impossible dream.

Neil Young on Gas Guzzlers: Long May You Run

Entrepreneur Johnathan Goodwin (left) and rocker Neil Young team up to increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Leave it to Neil Young to make green technology cool.

The rock legend has created a company called Linc Volt Technology to promote the conversion of existing gas-guzzling cars into vehicles that run on alternative energy.

But we’re not talking about boxy little e-cars here. Young, who likes his cars old and big, is launching his effort by converting a 1959 Lincoln Continental to run on electricity and natural gas. He’ll be at’s Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center this morning to show off his ride. Read full article from SF Chronicle…

The LincVolt is essentially a high-tech car conversion of an American iconic convertible, to a series hybrid vehicle powered by batteries and CNG (compress natural gas). The gas engine recharges the battery but does not drive the wheels, similar to the Chevy Volt.  Neil gets a lot of PR and media attention, well beyond the dreams of ordinary entrepreneurs. Take a look at this presentation hosted by’s founder Marc Benioff. Marc is so enthusiastic and such a fanboy of Neal’s that it it’s embarrassing. Benioff is a very smart guy and savvy software entrepreneur, but he either knows nothing about machinery or is simply star stuck. Neil Young is actually the more realistic of the two.

November 19, 2008 — LincVolt makes a personal appearance at’s DreamForce Global Gathering in San Francisco. Neil Young and Johnathan Goodwin discuss the car with a giddy Marc Benioff.

I too have a  have an  automobile with Sophia Loren like classic beauty. Body design by Pininfarina, it’s a burgandy 1987,  Series III –  XJ6 Jaguar. It’s big, solid and sexy like a Mark V. I would like to do an EV conversion on my Jag. But it will be some time before any kind of reasonable range (>100 miles between charges) will be achievable with such a massive vehicle. And, I’m not keen on carrying a CNG or other gas engine as supplemental power source.

I do believe that in five years or so, we’ll be able to strip the gas engine, transmission and rear-end out of the Jag , and other old world classic cars, and will be able to retro-fit electric wheel motors and advanced batteries and controllers to drive the rear wheels to get reasonable driving range. That will give us the best of both worlds, classic beauty with clean, efficient and powerful performance.

Because as Morrison sang. “Before we sink into the Big Sleep, we want to hear the scream of the butterfly, come back baby. I hear a very gentle sound. We want the world and we want it…

Photos from the LincVolt  Motor Report

"The main ingredient for working on this project is refusing to believe that some things are impossible," Uli said.

Neil Young has used his own money as well as sponsor and investor support to pursue his dream. I also have a fondness for Lincoln Mark Vs, my mom had one when I was a kid. But, it’s a hard and Thunderous Road ahead. So I wish Mr. Young and his courageous Hotrod LincVolt team well on their perilous quest. Dragons ought to be challenged and no one wants to lose the race or be chicken.

Continue for Neil & Ning News…

LincVolt Withdraws from X-Prize

Goodwin-Young realized their plates were too full with projects (including Young's music) to fully participate. "They remain a big supporter of the X Prize

Don Quixote You Can Call Me Al

July 22, 2009. Neil Young’s evolving Lincvolt project – a 1959 Lincoln Continental that weighs 2.5 tons and is 19.5 feet long that is being converted into a “bio-hydro-electric series hybrid vehicle” – today officially announced it will no longer participate in the Automotive X Prize. The split seems to be friendly. The Lincvolt news page says:

The Goodwin Young team thanks the X-Prize for the valuable support they provided during the last year. Good luck to all of the contestants!  Read more on AutoblogGreen

“We have withdrawn Lincvolt from the X-Prize because of the conflict between providing the energy and resources required to develop a viable business plan for the Lincvolt technology, a requirement for X-Prize contestants, versus providing the resources and time required to focus on our main goal.

The development of Lincvolt technology is ongoing. We have always been in a race against Time, not a race against other contestants to win a cash prize.” We’ll see you down Highway 61.

LincVolt Moves to Capstone Micro Turbine Generator

The Capstone 30 KW Micro Turbine is a clean and efficient solution.

After 2 years working on a Rotary solution, we have elected to change direction and move up to a micro turbine. The Capstone 30 KW Micro Turbine is a clean and efficient solution to our needs that will yield reliability and the future promise of better fuel efficiency than the rotary.

We are proud to be using a clean and efficient Capstone Micro Turbine as the charge sustaining power for Lincvolt. We anticipate 60 to 70 miles on an overnight grid battery charge before the Turbine fires up to sustain the charge as Lincvolt continues on longer journeys.

Read the full post…

Now, Nasty Ning News

Another broken dream story, Ning has announced the end of the free ride…

The company, which hosts 2.3 million social networks, says that it will shut down its free version and require network creators to either switch to a paid plan or leave Ning. Read about it in PC World

Nicer Nearby News

James B. Johnson, CEO of Tripwire and all-around nice guy, has been named Oregon’s Executive of the Year by Tech America

Only One Week Left to Order Tickets!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Portland Art Museum

As we celebrate our industry, the night will also provide an opportunity to invest in our future innovators with proceeds from the evening going to support math and science education. The 2009 TechAwards program generated over $12,500 for the Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program (ORTOP).

Get your tickets before the 4/23 deadline!…

That’s all there is, cause there ain’t no more…


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