By Sean Houck
Originally published in the November/December 2023 Lincoln and Continental Comments magazine (Issue # 375)
ABOVE: The apple of the author’s eye from a young age, perfectly restored. Photo courtesy of the author.
My love for Lincoln started when I was very young. When I was growing up, my dad owned a 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV Pucci Edition similar to my current one. The only difference is that the first car didn’t have a sunroof, which was one option that he always wanted on it. I looked for years, trying to find another one for him. Finally, in 2012, I found the Mark IV that I have now. When he bought it, I was 13 years old and instantly fell in love with the car. I’d wash it and help him work on it in our shop. In 2017, the engine failed. At the time, I was 18 and working in his shop and learning about cars from him. Knowing how much I loved this Lincoln, he told me that if I paid for the parts to rebuild the engine, it would be mine.
Of course, I took that deal, and together, we rebuilt the original engine from the bare block. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when we started it for the first time. Sharing that moment with my dad was priceless. Even though, mechanically, it was sound, the exterior began to show its age. Rust was evident under the edges of the vinyl top and around the trunk. The car was stored under cover in our shop for about three years as we tried to keep the rust from getting worse.
TOP: The brochure that was the fuel of many luxury car owners’ dreams in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
TOP RIGHT: The Designer Series Mark IVs for 1976. The Pucci is on the left. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
TOP: The passage of four decades had not been kind to the Mark IV, as seen by the condition of the vinyl top.
LEFT: The extensive rear quarter work was completed and them primed. The front fenders were off, revealing the massive 460 CID V-8. The rot went very deep in the rear quarters of the Mark IV, necessitating serious metal working. Photos courtesy of the author.
CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: With the body work completed and a fresh coat of paint, the only thing this Mark IV lacked was a new vinyl top. Time for the best part of any restoration…driving the fruits of your labor! Coat after coat of paint made this Lincoln look every bit as nice as it did when it sat in a showroom during America’s Bicentennial year. Photos courtesy of the author.
Now, I’m ready to start a new journey with the Philadelphia Region of the LCOC and the Continental Cruisers. This year, I received my first award for the top 40 in a show that registered 110 vehicles. This was completely surprising. I am not in this hobby for the awards but for the preservation and love of this beautiful rolling work of art, as well as the history and the knowledge that comes with being around other likeminded enthusiasts.
Sean Houck is an LCOC member from Baltimore, Maryland.
In the summer of 2019, my dad told me he’d help me restore the car. That’s another moment I’ll never forget. My biggest fear every time I’d look at my car was that he wouldn’t be around to see it when I could afford to have it restored. Working with my father to restore this Mark IV was a dream come true. After three years of searching for extremely rare parts and lots of hard work, the restoration was finally completed in October 2022. I’m truly blessed to have a car like this at age 24. Not only do I have a dad who gave me the car that he always wanted, but he helped restore it because he knows how much it means to me. As much as I enjoy going to shows with him, a small part of me would love to go back in time to when it all started. Back to being a kid riding with my dad, listening to his 8-track tapes. Back to seeing how happy he was when I showed him the car he always wanted, which then turned into the car I always wanted. This car taught me to enjoy not only the outcome but the journey.