Piston Slap: My Pappy's Driven to Drinkin' Edition

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Piston Slapper Theodore writes:

OK, you talked me out of putting any more money and effort into the Thunderbird. But that’s no reason not to own another old Ford, is it?

Today’s discovery: a double-black 1992 Lincoln Mark VII with just 73,000 miles. It’s not perfect—some of the electrical gadgets don’t work any more, there’s some rust on the front fenders, the clearcoat has burned through in places and the paint underneath is fading. The biggest concern is a broken front passenger seat; the power part is fine, but the seatback is lying flat and will not stand up. I am unsure how to fix this, or even if it can be done in a way that will make it safe for passengers. And for reasons that will be readily apparent to anyone who read about my Thunderbird, I am leery of Ford automatics of this vintage. Is the one in the Lincoln any better than the one in the ‘Bird?

On the other hand, even with fading paint the Mark VII still looks pretty sharp. There’s a hint of what was—and maybe of what will be. It’s a Fox-body car with a 302 motor; there have to be plenty of go-fast parts available. What would it take to turn this old LSC into a badass beater and gen-u-ine Hot Rod Lincoln?

Sajeev writes:

What does it take? Money, stupidity, stubbornness and a lot of forum searching on LincolnsOnline.com. Speaking from experience, there’s little you can do that hasn’t already been covered there.

The Mark VII LSC is a great American Gran Tourismo, a perfect blend of Lincoln swagger combined with easy WOT burnouts, going sideways at opposite lock with a shit–eating grin on your face. My favorites are the 1988-89 models, because of their combination of awesome bucket seats, firm(er than the later models) steering and suspension parts and the sweet 5.0 HO motor.

But there are problems galore after 18 years of use: expensive and somewhat hard to find ABS parts (this was the first car in America with four-channel ABS), rotted air springs, worn out air suspension compressor from said airbags, faded paint that plagues all cars made in America at this time, and any problem normally found on a neglected 5.0 Mustang. That includes the transmission, but at that mileage you might be fine if you change the fluid and keep it up.

If you’ve lost your marbles, go ahead and pull the trigger, especially if it’s the monochrome black Special Edition. And here’s my gift, to get you started: the flat seatback is probably from a bad power recliner switch. Remove it (on the door insert’s padding) and spray contact cleaner in there.

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2 of 13 comments
  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Jul 07, 2009

    Oh boy. These seat frames are spot welded (or so I've been told) in a few places, so pulling back the fabric/padding, unbending, and rewelding is in order. Or get another seat. Unless they have receipts for new(er) air springs, assume they are way too old, or are aftermarket units that could be on their way out. And assume they replaced Ford OEM LSC bags with the reman Bill Blass (soft) bags. The conversion to stiff Roush (yes, Roush made parts for the Mark VII) bags is only a click away, on Lincolnsonline. If the interior is close to perfect (aside from the seat), dash isn't brittle or cracked, $2000 would be a generous price.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Jul 07, 2009

    I was thinking more in the lines of $700.

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