The search for eternal youth began with Ponce de Leon in the late 1400s and continues to this day. While some use plastic surgery to keep the wrinkles away, Lowriders rebuild their cars year after year to constantly keep a fresh look on an aging ride. Klique’s John Sanchez from El Paso, Texas has owned his ’81 Lincoln Mark VI since 1995, and it has been a continuous love affair of reinvention since day one. “I bought it in April of 1995; I’ve always had luxury cars. I’m in the automobile business and one of the sales managers of a dealership called me one day and said he had an ’81 Lincoln that he had for five years in his garage that some lady traded in. I went and looked at it and it was immaculate,” explained Sanchez. The car’s pristine condition proved too much for John to resist and he made a deal to give the Lincoln a new home in his own garage.

Finding the perfect car to start with is like finding a blank canvas and John, the artist, immediately began to create his masterpiece of the perfect car. The car’s first incarnation was a road-ready ride, as John was eager to bring the car to life. “In 2002, I built it up for the first time, making it into a street car at first. Initially, it was pearl white and I added a white vinyl top and lifted it front-back, side-to-side using eight batteries, and I used to hop it a lot. It was in that condition for about a year before I painted it Crimson Red,” John explains.

The baby Lincoln continued to evolve piece by piece, year by year, until 2006 when tragedy struck on the way home from the Las Vegas Super Show. “The car was at a shop for barely nine hours in the transport on the way back from Vegas when it got broken into,” John laments. “They jacked up the quarter panels trying to pry open the trunk and the emblem on the trunk. They broke out one of the side windows and pulled out all my chrome dash. I had just put in some TVs for the Vegas show and they stole them out of the car. It killed me.” John’s frustration stemmed from the years of blood, sweat, and tears he had put into the car. “The insurance paid me for the damages but they can’t ever repay you for your time,” he says dejectedly. “The car used to be called “Wicked Wild,” but I changed the name to “No Regrets” because I don’t regret rebuilding the car; even though it took me a long time to get it where it’s at now.”

Relentless dedication and the combination of busted knuckles, late nights, and hard work have taken the car from a street-level hopper to a showroom showstopper. Using an emphasis on detail, the sum of all the custom parts and pieces is what truly makes this car a John Sanchez original. Many of the mods don’t scream out “here are I am,” instead they take a little digging to uncover. “The custom made trailing arms say “Klique,” and we made little end caps that cover the upper control arms,” John says proudly. “It’s got a chrome brake booster that you can’t buy for a Lincoln, and I made the chrome throttle body myself from three different throttle bodies.” The custom work didn’t stop there for John. “We cut the original seats and made a custom center console. We also cut out the bottom of the trunk to run the hard lines,” he says. Looking to build a clean set up, John really went the extra mile for his hydraulics. “All the wiring for the set up goes through the frame for the hydraulic system. The square bottom dumps are hard lined into the wrap so you don’t see the wires going into the dumps. My car’s not exaggerated.” Ever proud of his work, John insists that what you see is what you get for a reason with this Lincoln. “The car is built the way I wanted to build it because everybody builds their cars differently. What might be good to me might not be good to you, but everything here fits my standards for a car.”

When asked if his journey had finally come to end with his Lincoln, John had this to say: “This year, I thought I was going to stop. But right now, I’m making some fiberglass interior for 2012, and I want to redo the trunk again. It probably won’t stop there. You never stop,” he says with a grin. He’s right you know; great car builders can never stay out of the garage. John wishes to send a special thanks to Electro Plating, Rudy Gonzales, and his family for supporting him.

Tech Specs “Forever Young”

Owner: John Sanchez

Vehicle: 1981 Lincoln Mark VI

City/State: El Paso, Texas

Club: Klique

Engine: A 5.0 engine was customized for the Lincoln including chrome throttle bodies, molded differential, and custom upper control arm covers; all chromed by Electro Plating.

Body/Paint: The car features pop doors, and custom window molding. The paint is a House of Kolors Candy paintjob by Keenan Greseth of Street Rods, with additional pinstripe work by Angelo. To finish off the detail, Jesus Melendez reworked the undercarriage.

Setup: John Sanchez, Eli Esparnza, and Mando installed the four pump Hi-Low Elite 2000 set up. John Sanchez removed all hoses and replaced them with hard lines to allow for a cleaner look devoid of wires.

Interior: The inside of the Lincoln features a comfort-friendly split seat with a custom center console by Robert Rois of R&R, with a chrome dash for style. R&R also handled all of the upholstery needs throughout the interior of the Lincoln.

Wheels: 13×7 Zenith Wire Wheels.

Tires: 5.20s.