Last October I was able to purchase a car I had been swooning over for about 15 years: A ’98 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC. It has about 108000 miles and is my daily driver. During the summer months I generally prefer to ride a motorcycle, so I need to do something with this car. Selling it is out of the question, as it only has a few cosmetic blemishes (that will soon be tended to), so it will require some…more.
My question is, what do I go with first; Supercharger or 5-6 speed?
A good friend of mine can help me with either. As it sits, the car is completely stock. Money isn’t much of an issue, but I would like to keep total upgrades just under 10K. I am aware that sounds a bit ridiculous, but I have wanted this car since I was 12. I prefer to keep the motor I have; I want it’s heart to stay the same, but I am open to almost anything else mechanical.
This Lincoln-Mercury fanboi’s heart just melts to hear this. It’s nice to see someone join the madness, as sanity is overrated. The sad reality is that the Mark VIII’s release in 1993 was the last time I was excited about a new product hitting the showroom…and remained excited after the initial buzz wore off.
Sure, plenty of great iron came afterwards, but nothing that’d personally spin my personal-luxury crank.
Since I am in your shoes (sort of) with my Hot Rod Mark VIII, I can rattle off what you need to do. With that, your $10,000 budget for powertrain upgrades is unrealistic. I doubt you can DIY the whole thing, you’re gonna need to buy custom bits unique to Ford’s MN-12/FN-10 chassis and labor to make things that never existed for the Last of The Great Lincoln Continentals.
This isn’t a Mustang, making it all look/work like the factory intended will be…challenging.
The 6-speed swap: Temple High Performance supposedly has you covered (i.e. not an endorsement, I don’t know them) with a 6-speed swap for the low-low price of $7500 including installation. The 6-speed is better as it seems to fit in the factory location in the transmission tunnel: not so with the T-45 5-speed stick from a normal Mustang GT. While you can source most of the parts yourself, their electronic E-brake release sounds pretty trick. The only way to know how much effort is needed is to dig into the swap yourself…or write ’em a check and watch them do the install to your satisfaction.
Supercharger Exhaust: Your first problem is the horrible log manifolds and crush bend tubing on the exhaust. The mid-length Kooks headers are your first purchase. Then a custom, mandrel bent exhaust with fancy mufflers and hi-flow catalytic convertors from a local shop known for high quality work. When you drop the subframe (yes really) to install the headers, this is a good time to spend the cash on new engine mounts, and any worn rubber suspension bit you might find along the way. I’d also install Addco swaybars, personally.
Congrats! You’ve probably burned through your budget! I’d recommend doing the transmission/exhaust and the misc. bits that are easily replaced when tearing into these components. I’d rather address the transmission before the engine, because there’s a good chance that a worn out transmission behind a supercharged DOHC 4.6L** won’t last very long.
And once you’ve finished here, save your money for a Mustang Cobra whipplecharger kit, a computer re-flash and dyno tune!!!
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.
**Yes, the right answer is LSX-FTW, because it always is. But the DOHC Modular Ford V8 was a pretty interesting bit of kit with a better exhaust note, a similar powerband and the 32-valves respond very well to supercharging (pretty easily to boot). So let Justin have his fun!