Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
January 14, 2003

The ability to combine different and cool in one car is difficult. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that one person thinks the car is cool while another considers it merely different. Both are subjective judgments by each individual. To illustrate this point, during a recent Mustang chat-room conversation, the topic of owning a Mustang and doing something different with it came up. One keyboard jockey said it was impossible to be different with a Mustang because there are so many on the road.

While somewhat agreeing, yours truly countered by saying there are things that can be done to a Mustang to make it stand out from the usual big-'n'-littled, cowl hood-wearin', rear wing-sportin' Fox or SN-95 Mustang. Then, in an effort to be really different, this person suggested we find an AMC Javelin and throw a turbo on it. To which yours truly replied, "There's different, and there's stupid." No disrespect to the AMC crowd (actually, one of my dream cars is an SC/Rambler), but why would you do that--except to be different. Would turbocharging a Javelin make it cool in everyone's eyes? Of course not! OK, back to the subject of our story--Dennis Reinhart's two-ton-plus Lincoln Mark VIII (or Mark Eight for those Roman-numerically challenged). Has he bridged the gap between different and cool? We'll let you be the judge. "So, why a Lincoln?" we asked Dennis. He told us the car already had a Four-Valve engine in it, and it would be different. "The car was basically a detuned Cobra," he says. However, it's no longer detuned--it now runs 11.70s at 118. Did we mention Dennis' car has a 4R70W automatic? We know a lot of supercharged Cobra owners who wished their cars ran 11.70s.

Of course, the Lincoln didn't run 11.70s overnight. As a matter of fact, it took Dennis more than three exhausting and frustrating years to get the car into the 11-second range. That was because the list of qualified modular motor experts was much shorter than it is today. Dennis' engine and transmission carnage almost reached Factory Stock heights after going through two engines and three transmissions before arriving at the car's current state. His first two engines were lost to poor tuning, according to Dennis.

For three years, Dennis searched high and low for someone who possessed the tuning prowess necessary to make the Lincoln run right. He finally found that person, and although the man prefers we don't mention his name, Dennis is now able to tune the car himself using the gentleman's software. He has even starting marketing a line of chips through his Reinhart Automotive [(904) 276-5003; www.reinhartautomotive.com] digs in Orange Park, Florida, a suburb of Jacksonville. Dennis teamed up with the gentleman to partner tuning prowess with marketing magic. Through this new venture, Dennis has chips for an assortment of Ford performance vehicles, including one for a Mercury Marauder that's reportedly worth more than 25 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

With the help of his silent partner, Dennis' three years of frustration turned into 450 hp at the rear wheels and a fist-full of 11-second timeslips with trap speeds at more than 118 mph. In our book, an 11-second Mark VIII is both different and cool.

Horse Sense: The 4.6 Four-Valve engine made its debut in the Lincoln Mark VIII, which first appeared in 1993. Production of the car ended in 1998. In Lincoln-form, the 4.6 Four-Valve made 280 hp, with a 4R70W transmission and an IRS rear to round out its drivetrain.

138_0301_1z Lincoln_Mark_VIII Front_Passenger_Side
Dennis would like to send out many thanks to Mesa Balancing, SpeedCraft Engineering, and Hector at Central Florida Motorsports for making his three-year-long dream come true.
138_0301_2z Lincoln_Mark_VIII Rear_Driver_Side
Do you really think something this big and luxurious is capable of running deep into the 11s? We didn't either, but Dennis has a fist-full of timeslips to prove he's not just running his mouth. The only exterior clue to what's under the hood is a pair of Mickey Thompson ET Streets mounted on factory Lincoln rims out back. This alone should tell you Dennis isn't one to putz around looking for a game of shuffleboard.
138_0301_3z Lincoln_Mark_VIII Engine
The engine that's in the car now is the third one Dennis has put in it. "The first two were lost to poor tuning," he says. Utilizing a bored 0.030-over Lincoln block, a steel crank, Manley rods, JE-coated pistons, Total Seal rings, and factory Cobra top-end components, Mesa Balancing in Miami, Florida, built the engine with a boost-friendly 8.0:1 compression ratio. A Pro-M mass air meter reads incoming air, and a BBK 62mm throttle body receives forced air via the Vortech S-Trim supercharger, capable of providing the engine with 16 pounds of boost. However, before the air reaches the blower, a custom SpeedCraft Engineering intercooler makes sure the incoming atmosphere is nice and cool.
138_0301_4z Lincoln_Mark_VIII Interior
After these photos were taken and to keep things legal, Adrian Blumhagen at Mild to Wild Custom Fabrications painted and installed a six-point rollcage in the Lincoln.
138_0301_5z Lincoln_Mark_VIII Boost_Gauge