1931 Lincoln Model K Dual Cowl Phaeton
Chassis Number: 68727
Engine No: 68727
Body Style: 202A
120 bhp, 384.8 cu. in. L-head V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 145 in.
Henry Martin Leland, the founder of Cadillac, made his second try at the automobile business with the Lincoln Motor Company. Initially created in 1917 to build aero engines, post-WWI cancellation of contracts led Leland to re-enter the car market. The first cars appeared in 1920, but Leland’s legendary obsession with perfection and a national recession hindered both production and sales. The company was soon in receivership.
Help came in 1922, with money from Henry Ford. Ford purchased the Lincoln Motor Company for eight million dollars and put his son Edsel at least nominally in charge. Edsel’s knack for design overcame the stodgy Leland-era Lincoln looks, though the Master’s fork-and-blade V8 engines continued in production.
A new Lincoln, the Model K, appeared in 1931. Longer and lower than its predecessor Model L, it was also more powerful, courtesy of higher compression. The wheelbase had grown to 145 inches, and the frame had double-drop side rails. Bendix Duo-Servo power-assisted brakes and Houdaille shock absorbers were standard equipment.
A myriad of body styles was available. No fewer than fourteen were cataloged from outside coachbuilders link Judkins, LeBaron and Brunn. Others, built in Lincoln’s own factories, were just as beautiful and luxurious, among them being the Style 202B Sport Phaeton and its companion, the 202A with tonneau cowl. Unusually for a phaeton, the rear doors were hinged at the rear in “suicide” fashion. Interestingly, the dual cowl version, despite being $200 more expensive, sold better, but quantities were still small: just 77 were built.
The history of this Dual-Cowl Sport Phaeton is documented back to the 1950s, when it was owned by Clarence Pruiksma, Sr., of Midland Park, New Jersey. Its next owner was the noted collector Philip Wichard of Huntington, Long Island, New York. Wichard had been involved with cars since age ten, when he bought a car at a junkyard for $5.00 and quickly doubled his money. Once he became a successful businessman as an adult, he turned to restoring cars, seldom selling any of them. By the time of his death in 1995, he rated an obituary in the New York Times, which related the auction sale of his 47-car collection for more than $2 million.
The car is now an older restoration, but still stunning in silver with black accent moldings. Of note is its red underbody and chassis, which provide a subtle counterpart to the exterior colors. The leather upholstery is done in matching red. The tan canvas top shows its age but is entirely serviceable. The engine, which is nicely detailed, runs well, however has some top end noise that suggesting needing some attention. The current owner has put over 5,000 miles on this Lincoln. A set of Phil Bray high-speed gears installed about ten years ago gives it long legs for touring. A Full Classic under Classic Car Club of America aegis, it received Primary First Place honors with 98.5 points, medallion 2436, at the 2002 Florida Grand Classic at Naples. Two years later, it was graduated to Senior status, again with 98.5 points, at the Boca Raton Grand Classic.