Press play below to listen to the NPR story on the Stinkin Linkin.
You should listen to this while you look at the pictures.
The Stinkin Linkin is a flooded out 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII that is being transformed into a land speed racer. New Orleans bartenders , JT and Andy, were given a Lincoln Mark VIII which had been flooded during Hurricane Katrina. The Lincoln was its former owner’s pride and joy so the guys decided to make something spectacular out of it. Though neither had much experience building race cars, JT and Andy decided to create the “world’s fastest Lincoln” and set their sights on Bonneville’s 2007 World of Speed event.
Bienville Studios is now home to the Stinkin Linkin, so named because of its history with the Katrina floodwaters (and brother let me tell ya, it smelled like a sack of dead rats!). JT and Andy hope to inspire the New Orleans community with this project, its not a car its a metaphor. The idea is not to just restore, but to improve. Anyone could make the Lincoln run again, but only the truly determined could make it into something amazing. With the help of their friends and occasionally passersby who wander into the open doors of the shop, the Stinkin Lincoln is slowly being transformed into a race car. With only tips earned from bartending and the small donations from friends and family, the Lincoln will not be the fanciest car on the salt, but hopefully it will be one of the fastest in its class.
Life is an adventure, we have no idea what’s going to happen next…
The work begins with a full tear down!
Completely rebuilt 4.6 with forged pistons, h-beam rods over sized valves, and super hot cams. All set up for super charging with 8.6 to 1 compression ratio. Powder coated by Allan Kirkfield.
Andy prepares the bracket for mounting instruments while JT tacks together the roll cage and racing seat mounts.
With the arrival of the impressive dry sump system from ARE, a test fit of the engine to determine possible crash points for sump and headers was performed. It was found that some serious modification to the engine sub-frame was necessary. A lucky break, the sump barely cleared the steering rack when we finished removing material from the sub-frame, the beautiful stainless steel headers with 3in collectors fit just fine!
Andy and Graham flexing the might of their collective brain trust to solve the problem of converting the stock Lincoln pedal mount from automatic to manual with the addition of a clutch pedal. Their ingenious solution to cut the mounting bracket off of the stock bracket and weld it onto the manual style bracket was wholly conceived and executed while JT was incapacitated due to back injuries.
More on this next week…
Well the back’s all better and the first order of business is to reattach the firewall bracket to the manual clutch pedal assembly. Next, Andy receives a lesson in how to purchase a correct brake booster for the manual bracket.
Squeezing Mustang 3.8 brake booster and master cylinder into position.
Back to work on the roll cage structure with a little help from the H.R. Geiger school of tube bending, while Trevor puts a finish polish on the headers.
With the motor nearing completion, some questions arise concerning how much actual power we’re going to be making. We put together a little chart to try and determine (total ballpark!) the relationship between the supercharger and the compression ratio. So let’s make with some heavy duty cyphering and head scratching! We have a range of supercharger pulleys and here we can see their effect on horsepower and compression ratio. We were very conservative with the numbers and only factored 20 HP/LB of boost. At Bonneville, we will be running high octane racing fuel which should allow some extreme compression ratios.
The serpentine accessory belt, supercharger belt, and dry sump oil pump belt all got worked out this week. The engine cooling system was revised with coolant ports coming from the back of the heads to the water pump.
Dedicated fire suppression systems (one for engine compartment and one for the cabin) get installed between the seats with a really nice fabricated bracket. Graham took the lead on this project. The Stinkin Linkin’s really starting to look like a race car now! Cavemen sending rockets to the moon!
The day for power train installation has finally arrived. JT installs the heavy duty clutch, mates it with an ebayed five speed T-45 transmission from a 1996 Mustang. The motor went in a lot easier than it came out! We opted for the five speed because of its higher final drive ratio and since we’re not running the stock engine management system, the AODE automatic just wouldn’t work.
Neal has worked up an interesting chart for selecting final drive ratios. The stock Mark VIII runs 3.07 gears. That doesn’t stop us from trying on the rear diff housing as a groovy hat! The team finished the day with a roll out of a pretty darn close Stinkin Linkin.
Ground Speed to Engine Speed
MPH @ RPM with 28 inch tire diameter and overdrive of 0.67:1
Trevor builds a battery box, and realizes that repositioning the battery means cutting a big section out of the wheel well. Really dig Trev’s Hazmat gear!
JT constructs a full stainless three inch dual exhaust with crossover
Andy works out the dash and shifter.
A stainless restaurant iced tea brewer gets a new lease on life as the oil tank for the “Stinkin Linkin”!
Andy flushes out the gas tank while Max and Neal sort out the wiring.
A tremendous amount of effort was applied to finish welding the roll cage. Surrounded by hot metal, cramped, sweaty conditions, and the occasional spark in the armpit JT completed a full heliarched roll cage. As per regulation the cage is made of both 2″ and 1 5/8″ DOM 120 wall tubing with appropriate gusseting and pads. Painting might have been messier but it certainly wasn’t as painful!
Those little things they mean a lot! There’s about a gazillion small jobs to be completed. Such as brake lines, tracking down wiring problems, system tests, oil leaks, coolant leaks, etc, etc.
Construction of the front skirt means a lot of awful work and head scratching. The air dam (front skirt) provides tremendous aerodynamic advantage. The bracket to hold it onto the front bumper of the car was finished and everything bolts up great!
A clever little bracket here, parachute cable release, and on/off switch accessed externally by the safety crew. The skateboard wheel on the back of the parachute bracket is so the car can be pushed around in Bonneville.
To pass tech you have to have SFI rated blower restraints, fire nozzles in the engine compartment, and heavy steel shielding on all fuel lines that pass through the plane of the flywheel.
Goodyear made us a set of Eagle LSR’s. These tires are rated for 300 mph! Interestingly enough they resemble motorcycle tires more than car tires with 4.5in wide rounded profile, heavy sidewalls, but very thin outer carcass. Billet Racing Wheels complete the package. On the front struts we replaced the mushy springs that came with the strut conversion from airbags. Went from a 320 to a 600, we had to reshape the springs to fit on the perch of the strut, and made a bitchin’ lift kit that we can remove when we get to Bonneville to lower the car!
Check out the fill panel between the hood and the windshield! This gives us huge aerodynamic gains. This just in: The Rock Star finally got his stage outfit in! Seriously its an SFI 20 fire suit, the highest rating available. The next update will of the completed car running at Bonneville!!! Wish us good speed.