Neil Young makes a classic car green

November 3, 2008 7:30:17 PM PST
Rocker Neil Young is branching out into the car business, or at least, the car conversion business.

He founded a company dedicated to finding alternatives to gasoline and he used one of his own cars as the guinea the pig.

What do salesforce.com's conference and Neil Young's 1959 Lincoln Continental have in common?

The answer is Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff, who can usually be found pushing ways for businesses to track and serve their customers.

"We're going to innovate the automobile industry and that's an industry that needs a lot of help," said Benioff.

Benioff and Young are friends. So, Benioff used his company's conference to help promote Young's new venture, Linc Volt Technology.

Salesforce.com is also lending a hand with technical support for the new company.

"We used to lead the world with our automotive designs. Lately, for the last five or ten years, we've been watching it go downhill, missed opportunities and everything," said Young.

Young's 1959 Lincoln doesn't use a drop of gasoline. With the help of Wichita mechanic and now business partner John Goodwin, the car runs on a combination of electricity and compressed natural gas.

It now gets 100-miles per gallon and they haven't had to sacrifice one bit of the 19.5-foot, 3-ton former gas guzzler.

"Now it has twice the horsepower, probably about 800% increase fuel economy and the reliability has went up probably at least a thousand percent," said Goodwin.

The car can power up with a plug and run on a battery-powered rotary engine and a natural gas generator.

Goodwin and Young hope to develop more new green auto technology and inspire people to convert their cars. Although, at a cost that ranges from $10 to $100,000, having a '59 Lincoln is not a requirement.


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