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LincVolt LLC sued over warehouse fire

Company founded by Neil Young sued over warehouse fire sparked by hybrid car
By Joshua Melvin
Posted: 01/20/2012 07:28:31 AM PST

The company founded by rocker Neil Young to convert his one-of-a-kind LincVolt hybrid electric car is being sued for nearly $500,000 after the vehicle sparked a fire that seriously damaged two San Carlos warehouses in 2010, according to a lawsuit.

The suit, filed Tuesday by Unigard Insurance Co., says LincVolt LLC, which lists Young as an officer, was negligent when it converted the 1959 Lincoln Continental to run on electricity and a biodiesel-powered generator.

“The altering of a gas-powered 1959 vehicle and its components is an extreme departure from what a reasonably careful person would do,” Unigard Insurance Co. claims in the suit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court. [1]

A malfunction while the car was charging set off a three-alarm blaze on Quarry Road on Nov. 9, 2010, that caused about $1 million in damage. Most of the damage was done to a lifetime of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia — instruments, photos and film footage as well as the Lincoln — Young had stored in the warehouse.

The La Honda resident did not immediately respond to a request for comment, which was routed to his management.

Unigard claims it paid out $482,000 to Al Schick, the owner of the building, to cover damage caused by the fire. The blaze started in the neighboring warehouse, which also belongs to Schick, and was rented out to Young. Unigard is suing to get that money back from LincVolt LLC.

Attorney Peter Lynch, who lodged the suit on behalf of Unigard, didn’t respond to a phone message seeking comment. Schick, who continues to rent a warehouse to Young, declined to talk abut the suit but said he and Young are on good terms.
“I’ve never had any problems with Neil,” he added. “They were very responsive” after the fire.

One of the biggest casualties of the fire was the Lincoln itself. Young assembled a team of workers in 2008 to convert the 19½-foot, 2½ ton behemoth from gasoline to hybrid power, an effort he chronicled in a four-part film series. But after the fire, it was left a burned-out shell.

Young opted to have the vehicle rebuilt, and the progress has been tracked by posts on the website devoted to the Lincoln. As of Friday, the car was in Orange County undergoing driving tests. It will be headed back to Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco before heading up to Sacramento for painting.

The website promises that the rebuilt version will be as unique as its precursor.

“LincVolt has been redesigned in and out,” the website says. An aerodynamic cover on the Lincoln’s underside will help in “reducing drag and allowing LincVolt to cut through the air more efficiently than ever before at high speeds.”


[1] if it wasn’t so much fun, this is hilarious! “what a reasonably careful person would do,” Unigard Insurance Co. claims” hahahaha! Those lame staticians from an insurance company would know what a risk is?

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