7k: Old Dog, New Gears: 1997 Lincol Mark VIII, 5-speed

Lest there be any doubt of the Lincoln Mark VIII’s sole purpose in life, our answer to Matthew McConaughey’s often parodied Lincoln ads in October settled the matter for good. Its raison d’être is simply this: existence as the ultimate domestic personal luxury car – not slalom speed, volumetric efficiency, fuel efficiency, or randomly peppering conversations with French phrases like a complete jerk. But what it wasn’t pigeonholed into a one-dimensional use? With a handful of modifications, could it become an entirely new car and assume an entirely new driving experience? Probably not, but that didn’t stop this guy from trying. Find this 1997 Lincoln Mark VIII with five-speed conversion for sale in Peoria, IL for $6,500 via craigslist.

Because the Mark VIII shares its engine with the Mustang, the two also share an aftermarket. Oddly, the seller left the engine untouched, save for a full exhaust system. That’s fine when you start with Ford’s Modular 4.6-liter V8, an aluminum DOHC unit, good for 290 horsepower in all the right places. The old 4-speed automatic transmission and drivetrain were replaced with gear from a fifth-generation Mustang. That includes the Traction-Lok limited slip differential, now with 3.73 gears.

The Mustang parts sharing continues in the upgraded brakes, hubs, and rear shocks. Aftermarket subframe bushings and sway bars round out the suspension upgrades. If you don’t like the coilovers and chrome Saleen wheels appearance in some of the pictures, you’re in luck: the coilovers aren’t included, and more sensible Mustang wheels can be had instead.

Even with a custom tune to accommodate the transmission swap, this Lincoln has a bright orange CEL blemish in its sandy tan interior. The rear wheel bearings are shot, traction control and ABS are spotty, but this car is otherwise ready for daily duty. Or a rally course. Or Laguna Seca. Like an angsty teen determined to find a new identity, who knows where it will end?

See another car with a personality change? Email us at tips@dailyturismo.com.

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.