Project Lincoln MKX Behind the Build

When approaching a design and build of a project vehicle a lot of thought goes into the various aspects of the process. From the style to the functionality each project takes on a new meaning and new direction. When given the opportunity to work with Ford / Lincoln on the new 2011 Lincoln MKX, I was excited to work with the automobile company that started it all. Lincoln is synonymous with luxury and innovation and the new MKX surpasses expectations. With state of the art technology and design the vehicle is already well-equipped. The concept behind the build would be to showcase the new features of the 2011 MKX, while simultaneously adding some added style elements to the already great design.

I called on my good friend and renown automotive illustrator Jon Sibal to help put our ideas onto paper. We have worked together on a few other projects and are now able to cohesively collaborate on our ideas together. Finding this level of coherence is often hard to find and I'm glad to be able to work with such a talented artist. The initial concept was to build a project vehicle that would fit an active lifestyle of the modern man, whether it's taking a client to lunch, going on a date, or taking a surf trip, the vehicle needed to make a statement that you've arrived.

Another collaborative effort was made to bring in designer, James Bond co-founder of Undefeated, on the project. Taking James' unique perspective and design philosophies we have collaborated to bring to life a vehicle that I would be proud to drive daily and that meets our active lifestyle. It was exciting to work with someone I have so much respect for as he has accomplished so much building the UNDFTD brand to cult status and brought new inspiration and ideas to the table.

James Bond has been responsible for multiple fashion designs with companies such as Adidas, designing the line for David Beckham and PUMA collaborating on multiple projects. He is also an avid auto enthusiast. He recently participated in last year's Gumball 3000 in a Ford Mustang RTR that raced throughout Europe. The partnership made complete sense merging the world's of fashion, lifestyle, design, and automotive.

One key element of building proper project vehicles are the partnerships. I've been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the most established brands and companies that produce high-quality products. Taking inspiration and working with James Bond of UNDFTD we were able to incorporate a host of influences on the project based on the Undefeated ethos of sport, active lifestyle, military, and utilitarianism.

HRE Wheels produces custom forged wheels and when designing the MKX we chose a style that was new to the market and a size that would be perfect for everyday driving, whether it be through the city or up in the mountains. The P40 was chosen with a satin black finish to give the MKX an aggressive look. Falken Tires wrapped the wheels with their luxury sport line to ensure a smooth ride for the SUV.

HRE's production facility is state of the art and I was able to take a quick tour. The multi-step process it takes to build each set of wheels ensures that each customer receives a custom and top notch set of wheels.

Brembo provided the Gran Turismo big brake kit for added stopping power. With larger wheels and tires more control is needed. Yellow calipers were chosen to "pop" behind the dark wheels as well as keep with the military / urban assault theme. Race Technologies out of Costa Mesa, CA installed the brakes and we filmed the process for a video that will be released soon.

Adding to the power and giving the MKX a nice sound is a Magnaflow exhaust system. They custom proto-typed the system for this new vehicle, which came out incredible.

Not much needed to be done to the exterior to improve the looks so we concentrated on the interior. We really wanted to keep the luxury feel inside the vehicle, but still wanted to upgrade it for the show. Everything was kept to remain functional with the MKX including the heated/cool seats. So we added a strip of khaki canvas along with new AMG style perforated leather to the seats for subtle touch of detail. We also wrapped the roof with alcantara and the perforated leather.

An active lifestyle calls for being ready for any situation and any environment. James found these really cool canvas G.E.A.R seat covers from Smittybilt to incorporate in the interior. The pockets are very functional and can come in handy whether its carrying photo equipment or even replacing a diaper bag if you have kids. We wanted the interior to accommodate the modern man for work, play, and family time. Top Stitch Upholstery was able to attach seamlessly the covers for a custom touch. There are more surprises in the interior, but I'll save it for Part 5 during the unveil at SEMA.

The exterior of the vehicle is the most important element as that sets the tone and focal point of the build. After discussing multiple options with the team, the decision was made to wrap the MKX in Wraptivo by Meguiar's. There are several reasons for wrapping over paint. We decided to go with a wrap simply because we wanted to make a statement and also not have the color change permanent. The satin grey was perfect and inspired by the color of helicopters. This state of the art material Wraptivo provided is truly amazing and needs to be seen in person. Also we were able to request the help of one of the top installers of wraps for this build and he did an awesome job in 2 days.

For added texture and detail and also to break up the colors on the vehicle it was decided to try out the carbon fiber material from Wraptivo for the roof and rear window wing. I feel it was a nice touch and became another subtle detail.

Of course no project build can be complete without the help of sponsors and we had some great ones for this build. To highlight them without compromising the overall design and look of the vehicle we chose to place the graphics on the INNO cargo box.

INNO creates great products and accessories. After having a custom rack installed by Rack Solid in Santa Monica, we teamed with INNO for the cargo box and surf rack. They will be also providing some snowboard racks for the winter, so we plan on getting some great use from these products throughout the year.

The design and technology used on the box and surf rack is the best I've seen. The surf rack uses a latching system that is super easy to use and also looks good on the car with or without the board, as many other options for surf racks look horrible and cheap without the board in place.

Of course we needed to display a board to go along with the surf rack so James called in a favor from Chris Christenson, a renown shaper based out of Carlsbad, CA. Chris custom created a 9 foot gun in a black pearl, which reminds me of a stealth bomber.

As the final touches were complete on the MKX and before it was picked up by the flatbed I felt a sigh of relief and was able to take a moment to feel good about this accomplishment for another SEMA project vehicle. I could also see that James was just as excited and I know that this will be one of our best SEMA's to date. With multiple clients at the show and 2 project vehicles being unveiled it will be a busy week. Formula Drift will be having their annual press conference and party, Forza / NOS Energy Drink will also be having a party, and the week will be complete with the Targa Trophy Triple Crown finale at ARIA directly after the show...stay tuned.