1963 Lincoln Continental – Pro-Touring Never Looked So Good
Tacoma, Washington’s Nick Griot always wanted a ride in a 1963 Lincoln Continental when he was a child. His mother was driven to high school in a ’63 by a friend’s father and Nick was fascinated by the photos of the car and his mom’s stories of riding in it. The pictures of it left an indelible impression on Nick. If the Griot name strikes a chord, it should. Nick’s dad Richard founded Griot’s Garage in 1990. Over the last 25 years, Griot’s Garage has established themselves as an industry leader in car care products. Since he was a child, Nick’s world has revolved around classic cars and his dad’s company where he is now an executive.
When it came time to do a project, Nick got a wild idea – “why not do a 1963 Lincoln Continental, restore it to original and give it to my mom for her 60th birthday?” Thus began an eBay journey to locate a clean example for a restoration. But then things shifted gears when Nick decided to build into a contemporary Pro-Touring machine. Mom would have to settle for a ride just like old times. Through the magic of the internet, he found the exact car he wanted – a low mile, all-original survivor based in Connecticut. In August of 2016, the mighty Continental was delivered to J-Rod & Custom in Black Diamond, Washington – the Griot’s go-to shop for their personal builds. J-Rod founder Jared Hancock and his guys specialize in Pro-Touring beasts, so it was a natural fit.
The genius of the car is its suspension – something Nick and Jared discussed at length. They made the decision to go with a coilover suspension set up so it would handle like a slot car instead of airing it up and slamming it down at car shows. This car would be for weekend runs on backroads and spirited canyon carving. In Nick’s words…”I wanted a nasty Lincoln – something that could do burnouts, corner without body roll and haul ass. I wanted something to disturb the peace!”
If you’re asking yourself if you have ever seen a 60s Lincoln on coilovers, you haven’t. I have been attending and covering car shows for nearly 30 years and I have never seen one. You see these cars down on the deck with air bags or still on stock suspension. That’s it. That’s what makes Nick’s car so appealing. If you’re wondering what coilovers were used – these are RideTech triple adjustables on all four corners. The front half of the frame is stock albeit with the coils for stance. The rear suspension is custom made by J-Rod & Custom featuring a triangulated 4 bar with Art Morrison components. As you can see, ride height is spot-on. To fit the rear wheel and tire under the fender, Hancock and his team did a mini tub treatment focused on the outer portion of the wheel wells. We know you’re curious about the wheel and tire combo. Those are 20-inch Forgeline CF3C in titanium with Pirelli P-Zero tires (305/35/ R20 in back with 255/40/R20 in front). Baer 6-piston brakes get the black behemoth stopped on a dime.
With all that heavy metal, you know it has a beastly engine. You Ford and Licoln purists will be happy to know they chose wisely going with a Ford Performance 427c.i. V8 dressed in EVOD Industries valve covers. J-Rod team member Ross Petersen hand-fabbed the classy air cleaner cover. It sounds evil with custom headers and a full custom exhaust which includes 97-feet of welded seams! The jewel-like engine is nestled neatly into muted and stamped sheet metal engine bay panels. It’s damn impressive and pushes in excess of 550hp.
Altogether, Nick’s low-slung Lincoln is a bad hombre. When we took it out for a little drive, it ran hard and sounded downright sinister. We could have driven all the way down the Pacific Coast highway to be honest. It was that much fun. And when it comes to looks, this car bends necks with the best of ‘em.
Given her family’s infatuation with performance cars, momma Griot will surely want to mash the throttle and help Nick disturb the peace.
Photos by John Drummond