The Hybrid and the Damage Done to Neil Young's Garage

Rocker's customized, battery-powered Lincoln set off million dollar blaze

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010  |  Updated 1:30 PM CDT
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A warehouse blaze that  destroyed $1.1 million worth of rocker Neil Young's music equipment and memorabilia broke out in his custom hybrid 1959 Lincoln Continental, a fire official said.

Young's pride and joy, which he calls LincVolt and which runs on electric batteries and a biodiesel-powered generator, caught fire Nov. 9 and the flames spread to the warehouse, according to Belmont-San Carlos, Calif., Fire Marshal Jim Palisi and a website devoted to the car.

Young had the car converted from gasoline to hybrid power, a transformation captured in a four-part film series.

While the exact cause of the fire is still being probed, it seems "to be an operator error that occurred in an untested part of the charging system," Young wrote in a statement. "We are investigating the components involved with plug-in charging," Young wrote.

The flames severely damaged the car and the 10,000-square-foot warehouse that contained guitars, framed photos, film canisters and crates of musical equipment.

"How do you put a price on that vehicle?" Palisi added. "To me, it's priceless."

Firefighters managed to save at least 70 percent of the building's contents, which included five other classic cars.

They saved  "a lot of archival items were threatened and the fire department did a first-class job protecting them," Young said of the firefighters.

Young, whose beloved car even had its own website, had just returned from an appearance at the Specialty Equipment Market Association car show in Las Vegas, where he delivered a talk on the hybrid.

"I love my car," he told the audience.

Selected Reading: Mercury News, Lincvolt.com,

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