Inspections, repairs, emissions testing, batteries, carburetors (remember carburetors?), suspension parts, oil changes, transmissions, tires. Lin Bethman & Sons Automotive in downtown Newtown has it all, except for—sadly—Lin Bethman, who passed away late last year.
Community booster Linford Henry Bethman founded the auto repair shop over 50 years ago. A naturally gifted mechanic, he saved the money he made rebuilding transmissions at Bill Marsh Ford to start his own business.
One of 10 children in a hard-pressed farm family, he literally started with nothing. With barely a 4th grade education, he began driving a feed wagon at the age of 14 and kept up the 12- and 14-hour days his entire life.
Business aside, he did make time for his family and to support local sports teams (Go! Council Rock North!). He volunteered as a driver for the Newtown Ambulance Service and took it upon himself to maintain the Grange Fair grounds and motor vehicles.
Lin loved all cars, but especially Fords. Among the Fords he personally restored were a blue-and-white 1954 pickup truck, a locally famous 1955 red-and-white sedan, and a 1929 Model A—black, of course, and boasting 40 horsepower!
He raced his Fords on the Enduro racing circuit, a last-man-standing race to the finish of mostly jalopies on an oval track. His efforts and successes earned Lin yet another nickname: “Enduro Dude”. Later on, he raced late-model cars at the Flemington Speedway.
The “& Sons” of the company name are Jeff Bethman (who currently runs the business), Kevin (mechanics and towing) and Andrew (who left the company years ago to join the U.S. Marines).