Car Culture / Cars / Sweet Builds

SEMA Lincoln: Built For Burnouts & Disturbing The Peace

The best project cars start with sentimental meaning. Some conjure childhood memories, others are the stereotypical dream car, and some scratch an itch and become the memory machines or dream cars for future generations. Meet the latest addition to our family.

This car is significant to me because it was a car my mom talks about. She was driven to school in a ’60s Lincoln as a little girl. She has conveyed that her friend’s dad who owned it was of questionable character and could have been a mafia guy. Put it this way… it was not known how he came about his money… and that adds more “cool” to the story.

Fast forward to 2014, I moved into an old, mid-century modern house and got some historical photos of it and there was a picture of the house from 1967 with a pair of Lincoln Continentals in the carport. One was a black ‘62 convertible and the other was a white ‘63 hardtop. Oddly, 10 days after moving in I found myself buying a ’63 Lincoln Continental from a guy in Maryland.

I wanted to restore the car and give it to my mom for her 60th birthday. In the process I talked to my father who is a terrible influence and I also reached out to the shop that built our SEMA car for last year’s show, J-Rod & Custom. They chimed in about how they’ve always wanted to build a Lincoln and make it hot rod-esque. It sounded like a perfect blend of my personality. I appreciate the design of the car but it’s a little floaty going down the road and not nearly aggressive enough when you open up the throttle to interest me from a performance standpoint. Once I started walking down that path, considering whether to put it on air bags or not and figuring what’s the biggest wheel we could run, I was hooked. The two prerequisite big asks I had for Jared Hancock of J-Rod & Custom were, “I want to do burnouts and I want it to disturb the peace,” but I also wanted the look and feel of a Lincoln.

With this project we got a rowdy, subtly modified yet well-executed restoration that will definitely annihilate rubber and wake up the neighbors.

To me the most impressive build aspect of the car is the paint. Looking at the length and flatness of the sides of this car and having developed an eye for good paint following my dad around through the years, I understand how difficult it is to pull off an unforgiving color like black on a flat slab like the Lincoln and make it perfectly consistent all the way down. Along with the paint, the alignment of the panels and the gaps are simply incredible.

The stance grabs you too. I love how we’ve widened the stance of the car significantly without cutting into the body. We tubbed the fender, moving outward instead of tubbing inside like many drag racers do. They’ll shorten the axles up and run a narrowed rear end and bring the wheels and their rotational mass inward, toward the center of the car. By going the other way with the tubs, we are able to push the wheels out to the edges of an already wide car and gain width on the car’s stance. I hoped this would give the big Lincoln better balance for enhanced handling. We put the car on scales and found it had nearly perfect weight balance side to side. There was only an eight-pound difference in the rear and a 20-pound difference up front. So, there are all kinds of driving dynamic advantages to us rethinking how to tub and put a bigger, more modern wheel and tire set on there. The Lincoln has quality hard parts under it to make the most of the wider track. J-Rod fabricated a fully custom triangulated 4-bar rear suspension with Ford 9-inch rear end and RideTech coilovers. The front suspension is relatively stock featuring refurbished custom shock mounts for the RideTech coilovers. Stopping power is provided by Baer brakes and the Lincoln’s rolling stock consists of 20-inch Forgeline CF3C wheels and Pirelli P-Zero tires.

Anybody who builds a Lincoln will understand the challenge of this and for it to be as well executed as this is quite impressive. Without a doubt there is some serious wheel tuck. While it was a performance exercise initially, when you see how close the wheel is to the edge of the body line, it looks sick. Usually you’ll see 22 inchers on there with four inches between the wheel and the fender edge. This car has about half an inch… you can barely fit your finger in the gap. Most Lincoln builders will notice these mods right away.

Looking past the body, a stout small block Ford lurks under the hood. The Lincoln runs a Ford Motorsport 427-cubic-inch V8 rated at 535 horsepower and 545 lb-ft of torque. This engine is loud and proud, and it’s backed by a Kerry Holmgren-built Ford AOD automatic. The interior is the handiwork of Jamie McFarland of McFarland Auto Upholstery. It’s supple black leather is designed to play off the original ’63 look. Jamie used French seam stitching as well as pleats in the door panel and seats to add a touch of class. A custom carpet was needed to accommodate the car’s new transmission tunnel. We also called on Common Fibers to cook up some amazing carbon fiber inserts to replace the dated, original wood panel inserts. It is a subtle, yet distinctly Lincoln interior.

The finished product was delivered on a Wednesday and shipped to Las Vegas the next day, so I barely heard the engine run. My first order of business when it returns from Sin City? The smokiest burnout on the planet. The car will go on tour to select Goodguys events and other car shows. This exposure is a testament to the quality of work J-Rod is capable of and they definitely deserve to show that off, but I really do want to drive and enjoy the car because I don’t view it as a museum piece. It’s more road ready than that, ready to make some memories one burnout at a time. Mom will get some flashbacks when I take her for rides in the Lincoln but not ownership of it… I’ve promised her 60th will be something special and will have to come up with a real whopper to top this car.

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