Following the purchase of Lincoln by the Ford Motor Company young Edsel Ford set out to enliven Lincoln styling with a series of custom bodies built by several famous coachbuilding firms. One of Edsel's favorite builders was the Brunn Company of Buffalo, New York. This Brunn Phaeton set the style for open Lincolns to follow.
This two-passenger car with coachwork by the old firm of John B. Judkins & Company personifies the term Preservation. For 87 years owners have done their best to keep this extremely rare coupe safe from the elements, its surfaces clean and protected, its upholstery safe from hungry moths, and its brightwork properly polished and treated.
Sold for $65,550 at 2013 Bonhams. Even before establishing the Lincoln Company, Henry Martyn Leland earned his reputation as Detroit's 'Master of Precision.' Lincoln apprenticed in the armories of New England where he adopted the principles of close tolerance manufacture of interchangeable parts and advanced precision manufacturing techniques. He refined these techniques while working at machine tool manufacturer Brown & Sharpe, and continued to use these principles in Detroit as a machine tool distributor. A short time later, he set up Leland & Faulconer as a precision supplier to the booming auto industry.
After helping to establish Cadillac's reputation as 'The Standard of the World,' he left to form a company using his surname, Lincoln. The first Lincoln vehicle's to emerge were well built and superbly engineered. Introduced in 1921, they were powered by a 358 cubic-inch L-head 60-degree V8 engine. They used fork-and-blade connecting rods and disposed the cylinders directly opposite each other rather than the more traditional V-engine setup which offset the cylinder banks slightly to make room for adjacent connecting rod bearings on the crank journals. Another unusual feature for this period was the full pressure lubrication system on Leland's engine.
The mechanical components of the Lincoln were impressive; however, the styling was stodgy and out of date. They sought the help of Brunn & Company of Buffalo, New York to help freshen-up the line. Brunn quickly created twelve body designs, but it was too late as dismal sales, the post WWI recession and an erroneous $4½ million tax bill spelled the end of Lincoln. The company entered receivership only to be rescued by Henry Ford.
After Leland left just four months later, Edsel Ford took charge and quickly commissioned some of the finest American coachbuilers to create designs for Lincoln. Locke, Judkins, Dietrich, Derham, LeBaron and others soon joined Brunn. Ford's engineers did what they could to improve Leland's V8, changing to aluminum pistons and revising the heads for better cooling.
This particular Model L is a Three Window Four Passenger Sedan with coachwork by Judkins. It was once in the Harrah collection and later purchased by Eugene Beardslee. The Harrah Collection had performed a restoration, transforming it into a show quality example. It is painted in Orriford Lake gray, over black fenders. The colors continue onto the interior. There are wood door cappings, and a polished aluminum dash panel. In the rear is a trunk which contains a period tool roll, jack and wheel spanner. Accessories include BiFlex bumpers and stirrup mounted chrome headlamps.
In 2013, the car was offered for sale at Bonhams Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $65,550 including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2013
The smallest of the Lincoln L-Series was the 2-door, 2-passenger roadster. This example with the rumble seat was designed and built by Brunn and was a wedding gift for the original owner's wife. She loved the car so much she named it 'Sis'. It was her only vehicle for her entire life and she drove it over 80,000 miles. She even had her house modified so that she could park the car in her living room. It is believed that only six of this particular model were built and only four remain in existence. This car has been faithfully restored to its original condition by its current owner.
Sold for $68,750 at 2014 RM Auctions. The 'Police Flyer' was offered by the Lincoln Motor Company and came equipped to suit the needs of its blue-uniformed buyers. It came with available options that were not yet offered to the general public, the most important being the addition of four-wheel brakes - two years before becoming available to private customers.
It is believed that this example was built on April 13th of 1925. It is believed to be one of only 15 of the Style 124C bodies with just three of those built on the 1925 chassis.
It is believed that this vehicle may have been originally supplied to the City of New York. One of its early owners was Harold K. Williams, of South Ashburnham, Massachusetts, from whose estate it was acquired by Robert P. King, of Gardner, Massachusetts, in 1966. In the eighties, it was acquired by the father of the current owner. In the mid-1980s, the car received new paint and a new top. It is believed that the preserved interior is original. The body has never been removed from the frame, and the engine, transmission, sheet metal, and wood framing are all original. It has its original tonneau cover and side curtains.
Sold for $27,500 at 2016 RM Auctions. This 1925 Lincoln Model L wears a 'semi-custom' Limousine body by Brunn & Company of Buffalo, New York, Edsel Ford's favored coachbuilder. The present owner purchased it from an individual from Colorado, who had purchased it from an individual named Mr. Salvatore in Sarasota, Florida.
The car is finished in burgundy and black paint. It has the original division window glass and a correct intercom. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2016
This formal Lincoln L Series Berline Sedan wears coachwork by Judkins. It has been given a two year restoration and is a multiple AACA show winning American Classic. It is finished in three tone grey, white and black with a grey fabric interior. There is a complete ownership history from new, and is fitted with some rare options including a Fatman steering wheel, 6 original Rudge knock-off stainless steel spoked wire wheels, original luggage inside rear trunk, Interior roll up shades, complete original tool kit and spares, and Lincoln Motometer. Power is from a 60-degreee V8 engine giving it a top speed of at least 70 mph. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2017
The Lincoln Motor Company was founded in 1917 by Henry M. Leland and acquired by Ford in 1922. Leland, one of the founders of Cadillac, had left Cadillac during the First World War to form the Lincoln Motor Company, which was intended to build Liberty aircraft engines. He had left Cadillac due to a disagreement with General Motors boss William C. Durant. When Leland left, he was 74 years old, and chose the name Lincoln after the President he had voted for in 1864. At the conclusion of the War, Leland was forced with the decision to close the plant, or try to find another business for the 6000 employee's and the factories. The factory was retooled to accommodate luxury automobile manufacturing.
The transition period and process was difficult and the company entered financial difficulties. It was bought by the Ford Motor Company, and served as a personal victory for Henry Ford. During the very early years of automobile production, Henry Ford had been forced out of his second company by a group of investors led by Leland. Henry Ford's original company was later renamed Cadillac and later purchased by rival General Motors. This would later become Lincoln's chief competitor.
In 1927, the Lincoln marque adopted the greyhound as their emblem, which was later replaced with diamond, which is still in use in modern times.
The Lincoln L Series was powered by a 60-degree V8 engine producing 80 horsepower and had a guaranteed top speed of at least 70 mph. Those who did purchase a very early Lincoln automobile had to wait nearly a year for delivery, as the company was behind by eight-months and deliveries did not commence until September of 1920. The post-war recession, slow delivery time, and dated appearance all affected sales negatively. The board members put the company up for sale in 1922, and Henry Ford took the opportunity to enter the luxury car segment.
Henry's son, Edsel Ford, was given the responsibility of running the Lincoln Company. Quality and sales improved. The engines were given aluminum pistons and improved cylinder head cooling which greatly increased the vehicles durability, ride, and performance. The wheelbase was enlarged from 130-inches, to 136-inches in 1923. Some of the finest coachbuilders of the time were invited to work their craft. Names included Brunn, Dietrich, Holbrook, Judd, LeBaron and Locke.
By 1928, the engine had been enlarged from 357.8 cubic-inches to 384.8 cubic-inches and horsepower increased to 90. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
Considered to be one of the most elegant of chauffer-driven automobiles of the 1920's, the Lincoln Model L Towncar was introduced in 1924. The Model L was an exclusive portrayal of the brand that represents everything that embodies American Luxury, Lincoln. Founded by Henry M. Leland in 1917, Lincoln Automobiles were operated under the Ford Motor Company. LeLand's favorite President had always been Abraham Lincoln, and at the age of 74, Henry founded the Lincoln Motor Company.
Beginning with the same desire for upscale markets that has carried through the years, the vehicles produced in the 1920's were just as exquisite and they are today. Leland has been recognized for his reputation for quality vehicles for the entirety of his career. Also known for prestige and status, the Lincoln automobile has been produced upon a standard of luxury and excellence.
Leland was an expert at producing cars that were of the greatest care and quality, but he was not adept at adding the finer points of styling to the Lincoln. The tight economic times and the stogy appearance of the Lincolns forced sales to droop. Customers could not afford the $4600-6600 price tag, though it was comparable in size and price to the Cadillac, the amount equaled most annual salaries. The Ford family swooped in at this time and purchased Lincoln at an incredibly low sales price.
Eventually Edsel Ford came onto the scene with his passion and flair for the finer things in life, and soon became responsible for the refined, elegant styling that made Lincoln one of the premier motor vehicles in the world. Hand selected by Edsel and produced by Gorham, an auspicious greyhound mascot was mounted to the Lincoln Model L Towncar in 1929.
Coachbuilder Judkins was responsible for the bodying of the Model L. Powered by a flat-head V8 engine of 358 inches, the Model L was capable of delivering 90 horsepower through a 3-speed manual transmission. By 1923 the 136 in, version was the only one left while the 130in wheelbase was dropped. In 1925 the Model L was being shaped into a truly exquisite vehicle under the skill and direction of Edsel Ford's designs in 1925. Minor styling updates were very apparent.
Edsel also became the first luxury car builder that made custom bodied vehicles during the mid-20's that were directly available in catalogue form that was from the automaker itself. Custom body manufacturers were also used extensively which resulted in the increase of more styling improvements and updates. The most exclusive and expensive Lincoln model cost $7200 in 1925. Having created a reputation in 10 years which Cadillac, Packard and Pierce-Arrow had attempted for nearly 30, Lincoln rounded out the model run of the L in 1930. A more refined V8 and available 120 HP in the Model K eventually replaced the Model L in 1931. The Model K also featured duo servo brakes and 145 inch wheelbase.
Equal to the finest vehicles in the world, the Lincoln had very clearly established itself as a producer of luxury vehicles. (Ironically enough, the most consistent competitor that Lincoln has faced for decades has remained Cadillac, a company that was also founded by Henry Leland.)By Jessica Donaldson
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