Saint Louis, MO
The prestigious Model K served as Lincoln Motor Car Company s flagship model throughout the 1930s. When introduced in 1931 the K-series hit the showrooms featuring a new 145-inch wheelbase chassis with power coming via the 348.8 cubic inch V8 engine. While the V8 provided more than adequate performance for most clients Lincoln was feeling the pressure from Cadillac and Packard to offer an engine of greater than eight cylinders. Ford Motor Company responded to the Cadillac V12 and V16 with its own V12-powered Model KB in 1932. The K-series was then split into two separate ranges with the KA carrying over the V8 engine and the KB featuring the new 448 cubic inch V12. The early years of the Great Depression meant that sales were slim but the V12 remained a key part of the Lincoln lineup well into the 1930s keeping the company at the sharp end of the luxury car market even through those difficult economic times.By 1937 the junior model Zephyr had joined the range as a bridge between top-line Fords and the prestigious Model K. The Zephyr was also powered by a V12 engine albeit of smaller displacement but Lincoln continued to offer the Model K for high end buyers who now had 17 different custom body styles to select from. The basic styling was simple but elegant with art-deco inspired teardrop headlamps that were faired-in to the streamlined fenders and V-shaped windscreens were fitted on all standard bodies. On the mechanical side the 414 cubic inch flathead V-12 engine was updated with hydraulic lifters and a revised cam shaft then placed further forward in the chassis to allow for more passenger room. The resulting car was elegant and understated yet with an imposing presence and performance that demanded attention.Edsel Ford then in charge of Lincoln entrusted a select number of coachbuilders to supply catalog bodies for the K-series. Edsel had a keen eye for style and he partnered with four independent coachbuilders - Judkins Brunn Willoughby and LeBaron whom he had determined offered the kind of quality and style that Lincoln buyers demanded. To minimize overlap each coachbuilder was assigned a different style. For example Judkins focused on closed sedans and coupes while Willoughby of Utica New York would specialize in limousines landaulets and town cars of the finest quality.One of Willoughby & Company s most distinct offerings was the razor-edge style Panel Brougham as fitted to our featured 1937 Lincoln Model K chassis number K8376. At $7050 it was the most lavish and expensive factory catalogued body available and as a result just nine were built of which only two are known to survive today. The distinct styling features sweeping door lines that harken to the carriage days as well as a steeply raked thin pillar V-windscreen open driver s compartment and an enclosed passenger compartment with sharply creased corners. The period brochure describes the Willoughby Panel Brougham as An eminently correct motor car for formal use... Intended to be chauffeur driven as the driver s compartment can be opened with the removal of the soft leatherette roof. Customers could opt for plain painted livery or the fabulously intricate hand-painted caning as applied to this car.Serial number K8376 is one of just two known survivors to wear this magnificent body style and it was once part of the illustrious collection of J.C. Whitney founder Roy Warshawsky who had a particular fondness for Lincoln automobiles. The magnificent restoration was performed by the highly regarded Rick Kriss and the car scored a Best in Class at the 1988 Pebble Beach Concours d Elegance as well as an AACA National First Prize in the same year. Following the dispersing of Warshawsky s collection this Lincoln was acquired by Dr. Joseph Murphy of Pennsylvania who sold it two years later to the renowned collector General William Lyon. The stately Lincoln remained a fixture of Gen. Lyon s collection for a decade before joining the most recent owner s stable of important Full Classic automobiles in 2008.This wonderful Willoughby-bodied Lincoln remains in beautiful condition clearly having benefitted from years of expert care in the hands of several renowned collectors. The black paint befits the razor-edge styling beautifully and it remains in excellent condition with just the slightest hint of patina beginning to appear. The gorgeous coachwork is fully accessorized with dual Senior Trippe Lights Greyhound mascot dual sidemount spares with painted covers dual outside mirrors and chrome wire wheels with wide-white tires. The presentation is simply beautiful the restoration having matured slightly though has obviously been treated to the utmost in care.The driver s compartment is trimmed in black leather as original as it is hard wearing and easily maintained for chauffeur duty. The dash retains its original instrumentation and controls with fabulous art-deco detailing. In the rear passengers travel in lush accommodations with gray broadcloth upholstery and matching carpeting. The upholstery and fittings remain in excellent condition belying the years since the restoration was completed. Luxurious details abound such as dual wood-trimmed vanity mirrors dual ash trays a roll-down glass division fabric roller blinds on all windows foot rests dual jump seats and a handsome Jaeger 8-day clock. Wood trim and detailing is exemplary with the car still presenting very much in showable condition.The factory original V12 engine is in fine running order having been well maintained and sparingly used in the hands of its previous owners. Engine presentation is excellent befitting a car that is a prior class winner at Pebble Beach. The Model K was renowned in its time for exceptional smoothness and power and this example lives up to that legacy performing admirably on the road while exuding a sense of quality and occasion with its fabulous coachwork.A very well-maintained older restoration with important and rare coachwork this handsome Lincoln Model K is quite well suited for local concours CCCA or AACA events and would make a most elegant choice for CCCA CARavan tours. Just as it did in 1937 this lavish motorcar exemplifies pre-war grandeur and sophistication.