Lincoln Model K Sport Phaeton

Long considered one of the fathers of the modern automobile, Henry M. Leland cut his teeth at Cadillac in 1902 – emerging from the leftovers of the first Henry Ford Company. Later, he built aircraft engines in support of the allied war effort for World War I. Following the war, however, he decided to return to the automobile business, founding Lincoln in 1920. His first product – the Model L – was an exemplary machine. It was an excellent example of the sobriquet “built up to a standard, not down to a price.”

Above all, Henry Leland was an engineer. He loved precision machinery, and his drive for quality produced a first rate car but a second rate business. Unable to make money, he was forced to sell out to Henry Ford in 1922. Rather remarkably, the essential specifications of his 1920 design remained unchanged through 1930. In particular, Leland’s engine was a masterpiece. With a three-piece casting, five main bearings, and fork-and-blade connecting rods, it was durable and powerful but expensive to build.

For 1931, Lincoln took a major step toward leadership in the fine car segment. A new chassis was introduced, increasing wheelbase from 136 inches to 145 inches in order to allow for both long hood lines and more space for ever more luxurious coachbuilt bodies. The architecture of the chassis also lowered the car, and the combination of the longer hood, lower chassis and long wheelbase transformed the new Lincolns. In fact, the new chassis was that of the upcoming KB V12 but with the tried and true V8 retained for one more year. An array of engineering updates dramatically improved the performance of the fork and blade V8. While the basic architecture was unchanged, the result was a whopping 33 percent increase in output, now rated at 120 bhp.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.

120 bhp, 6.3L side valve V8 engine with three-speed transmission, leaf spring front and rear suspension with solid front axle, torque tube drive and floating rear axle and four-wheel Bendix mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145"

Source: RM Auctions

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