BY MY reckoning, this incredible ’63 Lincoln Continental is the ninth car of Mark Sullivan’s that we’ve featured since 2005: “Not bad going for an individual,” says Mark, who then admits: “I’ve slowed down a bit actually.” Yep, it’s been about 18 months since we last featured one of his cars, but when you look at his latest creation – and the sheer size of it – that’s still pretty good going.
If you’re familiar with Mark’s previous cars, which are essentially muscle cars, you’ll notice this Linc is quite the departure, but still utilises the key styling cues of his other builds: big wheels, low stance, updated interior and killer bodywork and paint.
“The paint colour on it is pretty awesome, especially in the sun, because it’s a got a really heavy pearl metallic in it,” Mark says. “I put the coarsest silvers in it and put a raiser in it, which makes the metallic stand up, and I found it quite hard to paint. It’s almost like a candy to paint, so I put a litre of black tinter in it; that fixed the problem and it laid on nice.”
It’s been mentioned before in previous stories, but for those who came in late, Mark’s a bricklayer by trade, but he does all his own bodywork and paint at home in the shed. I guess he’s had plenty of practice, so it’s not surprising how nice this car turned out. Mark admits it was pretty good to start with – you know, the kind of car that you probably shouldn’t mess with: “A lot of people said: ‘Don’t touch it, don’t do what you do to them,’ but I just can’t help myself. It was a one-owner car; I had all the history and original purchase order for it. It was a really good car.”
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The bumpers, grille and trim pieces have all been powdercoated in wet-look black for a sinister look against the dark grey paint. Even the bonnet emblem copped the gloss-black treatment
While the purists may be crying into their soy lattes, there’s really not much to be upset about. Apart from removing the stock door handles and replacing them with modified Billet Specialties interior handles – a trick Mark also used on his 1972 Firebird, BAD572 – the body is essentially stock. He even left all of the badges on the car. “Normally I’d take all that off, but with the Lincoln you’ve got to leave that, especially the bonnet emblem,” he says. “It’s awesome driving with that on there, it’s like a gunsight.”
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While you can say the styling on the ’63 Lincolns is quite understated, there is still plenty of chrome and polished trim to glitz things up, but that wasn’t the look Mark was after. In keeping with the dark and brooding paint colour, the bumpers and trim were either painted or powdercoated gloss-black – not a problem for Mark as his business, PROcoat, specialises in that kind of stuff. “The car was good, but it still had dents in the mouldings, so to save me sending them off to Melbourne to get fixed, I just repaired them, and what I could I powdercoated,” he says. “Obviously, you can’t powdercoat over any fillers, but powdercoat will fill 80-grit sandpaper scratches.”
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Getting the car slammed on the deck was always part of Mark’s plan: “I imported the four-link rear end and airbag kit from BC Fabrication at the same time as the car. I wanted to get rid of the leaf springs; I did some research and ’bags over leaf springs aren’t that successful, so I just thought, stuff it.”
The wheels are KMC Skillet items and measure up at 22x9in, which sounds huge, but against the big Lincoln they are spot-on
Big wheels have always been Mark’s thing, right from the first car of his we featured, 1BADHK, which had 19-inch rims on the front – massive for the time and possibly the first early Monaro to wear them. But when you’re looking at rims for luxury cars such as Lincolns and Cadillacs, you’re a bit limited, as most styles focus on more of a race-bred look, and let’s face it, no one’s going to believe you’ll be carving canyons in a 5.5m-long land barge!
Mark has boxed in the boot to hide all of the airbag hardware, which means there’s only room for three dead bodies now
To that end, Mark chose 22x9 KMC Skillet wheels and 255/30ZR22 Dunlop rubber on all four corners. “I went out of step a bit there,” he admits. “Some people like them, some people don’t – more good than bad. You try to be a little bit different, but I’m actually going back to 20-inch rims because I’ve already got an egg in one of the tyres. I’ve bitten the bullet and gone with Raceline Manhattan rims, which look like a big Lincoln hubcap.”
The original 430 MEL big-block has been replaced with a 393ci Windsor topped with Edelbrock heads and intake. It probably makes more power and uses less fuel. The rocker covers were powdercoated gold, with the Lincoln script masked with a stencil then peeled off before the clear went on
With a little bit more meat on the tyre, it will be a tad more comfortable to drive. For those of you who went to Cooly Rocks On last year, you might have seen the car there. Usually Mark would trailer his cars to the event, but this time he chose to drive the 10 hours from the Central Coast, and absolutely loved it: “It was beautiful, never missed a beat.”
The exterior might be dark and sinister, but pop the door and bam! Golden orange vinyl and black tweed cloth make for an eye-popping contrast. A set of Dakota Digital gauges replace the stock units and mount into the original location. Neat!
Part of the recipe for the trouble-free cruising is an update in the powertrain department. While the 430ci MEL big-block was running like a clock, Mark didn’t want to be faced with an expensive rebuild down the track, so he opted for a 393ci stroker Windsor that has been built for torque to help push the 2.5-tonne beast down the road. “It’s got 465lb-ft of torque and goes heaps better than the engine that was in it,” he says.
Another thing Mark is known for is his updated interiors, and the Lincoln is no exception. The bench seats have been replaced by VT Commodore buckets, and a full-length console was fabricated with cup holders for everyone! The colour choice was brave, to the say least, with Golden Orange marine vinyl combined with black tweed cloth. “I went a little bit out of the circle with the colour of the trim because I couldn’t go with the beiges and tans again,” Mark explains. The dash was filled with a set of Dakota Digital analogue gauges that are a direct-fit replacement for the stock units but fully electronic.
Being a luxo-barge, Mark made sure to keep the Lincoln’s power steering and air conditioning, but he did replace all of the vacuum-operated accessories with electrics. “I did a lot of research, and the wipers run off vacuum and hydraulic oil, so I was looking for a 12V conversion and I found New Port Engineering in the States. They took six months, but they made me one and it’s the first one done for a ’63 Lincoln,” Mark says.
The door insert was hydro-dipped with a bunch of Benjamin Franklins, i.e. US $100 bills. The rear bench was replaced with VT Commodore buckets, and a custom console was fabricated. Cup holders for everyone!
We’re not sure whether there’s something in the water around Mark’s place or whether he just drinks a lot of red cordial, but there’s no denying he knows how to build an eye-catching car. How long before feature car number 10 hits the streets?
1963 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL
Paint: DeBeer custom charcoal
Type: 393ci Windsor
Inlet: Edelbrock Performer
Carb: Holley 650 DP
Heads: Edelbrock aluminium
Pistons: KB flat-top
Crank: Stroker 3.850in
Conrods: Scat H-beam
Radiator: Custom aluminium
’Box: C10 with Stage 2 shift kit
Converter: 2800rpm stall
Front end: Standard
Rear end: Four-link
Shocks: Airbags (f & r)
Rims: KMC Skillet; 22x9 (f & r)
Rubber: Dunlop 255/30ZR22 (f & r)
Clint at CMAC Custom Upholstery; PROcoat for powdercoating; Ben at Kingz Of Car Care for paint correction and protection