1931 Lincoln Model K Convertible Coupe by LeBaron For Sale
Lincoln Motor Company was founded in 1920 by Mr. Henry Martyn Leland, a brilliant engineer and Liberty aircraft engine builder during World War I. His ingenuity was also applied in the automotive industry via 'Model L' whose production spanned from 1921 to 1930. It featured a Leland-designed 60-degree V8 flathead motor with seven main bearings and fork-blade type connecting rods. Although costly, this arrangement was a marvel of engineering for durability and power delivery. LeBaron Carrossieres coachbuilder was commissioned to design the 4-passenger phaeton body for the 1921 New York Auto Salon. LeBaron's Raymond Dietrich and Thomas Hibbard artwork soon came under the watchful eye of Edsel Ford, Henry Ford's son. Apart from being the president of Ford Motor Company and Detroit Museum of Arts, Edsel was also a passionate admirer of automobile and aircraft aesthetics. Once Ford Motors acquired Lincoln, Edsel set up a drawing studio in its Lincoln's plant from where he would serve his personal automotive quest, best described in his own words "Father made the most popular car in the world. I would like to make the best". His strong preference for LeBaron's sense of style resulted in an influx of proposals initially from Dietrich and Hibbard and later from Ronald Stickney and Hugo Pfau who were also aircraft designers for Fairchild Aviation. In 1928, Ford, Stickney and Pfau decided to commemorate aeronautical streamlining practices of the era by building a one-off Lincoln that incorporated several aeronautical principles and design elements. That same year, LeBaron also started sculpturing custom convertible coupes for Lincoln that featured a lighter superstructure, V-type streamlined windshield and recessed folding top providing for unhindered viewing from the rumble seat. The engine was also developed further by an enlarged by 27 cubic inches capacity that resulted in 10% more power. These upgrades were so significant that they necessitated a total new design; hence Model K was created in 1931. By elongating the wheelbase to 145 inches, mounting of the body deeper into the chassis and reducing the wheel size by a single inch, the grace of Model K became unparalleled. Leland's marvelous engine was developed even further via fitting a dual venturi downdraft Stromberg carburator, altering the timing and increasing the compression thereby boasting 120bhp of power. After only one year into the Model K’s production, Lincoln was forced to give way to the multicylinder trend of other companies and Model K was split into series KA and KB. The KA series did maintain Leland's V8 engine but the wheelbase was shortened back to Model L standards. The KB series did keep the wheelbase and elegance of Model K but the engine was replaced by a Ford-designed multicylinder plant only to address the trend. The original inspiration was no longer consistent and intact in a single model. The era of big cars would cease a few years later, characterized by a superior level of automotive inspiration that the industry will never reach again. Out of all the big Lincolns, it would only be the 1931 Model K that genuinely represented Leland's engineering brilliance and inspiration, beautifully enveloped by LeBaron’s Convertible Coupe masterpiece aesthetics.
The Convertible Coupe featured here is 1 of the 275 ever produced. During the 70s, 80s and 90s it was part of a private collection of one of aviation's greatest minds who invented business jet thrust reversers and founded one of America's largest aircraft modification companies in San Antonio Texas. Being a perfectionist, he restored it himself and stored it indoors as a private display. Once unveiled to the public, it was immediately awarded by Classic Car Club of America with 1st Prize. Ten years later the Convertible Coupe would be presented again to the public only to score 100pts for 2 years in a row. In the year 2000, the car was acquired by its current owner, an aviation industrialist, who also decided to store it indoors. After 18 years of preservation, this piece of automotive and aviation history remains in impeccable condition.
Model: Model K
Version: Convertible Coupe
Coachbuilder: LeBaron Inc.
Design director: Edsel Ford
Radiator emblem sculptor: Gorham Manufacturing Company
Bodybuilder: Murray Body Corp.
Body type: 2 door, 2 plus rumble seats, 4 passenger roadster
Interior type, trim: tufted, full leather
Engine type: 6293cc, 8 cylinder in 60 degree V configuration
1st Place, 1980 Classic Car Club of America Annual Meeting, USA
1st Place, 100 points, 1989 Classic Car Club of America Senior Division, USA
1st Place, 100 points, 1990 Classic Car Club of America Premier Division, USA
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