Lincoln Convertible Victoria by Brunn
Of all the coachbuilders to clothe Lincoln chassis, none is more closely associated with the marque than Brunn & Co. of Buffalo, New York. The association began well before Henry Ford’s purchase of the ailing Lincoln Motor Company, in the era of founder Henry Leland.
Hermann A. Brunn apprenticed to his uncle’s carriage works in 1898, then spent a few years working at the New Haven Carriage Co. and at H.H. Babcock at Watertown, New York. Back in his hometown of Buffalo, he set up Brunn & Co. in 1908 specifically to build automobile bodies. When the Lincoln was first introduced in 1920, it was widely praised for its engineering but panned for its looks. The bodies, upright and unappealing, had been designed by Leland’s son-in-law, a milliner. A business associate of Brunn’s recommended him to the Lelands as a design consultant, and a deal was arranged for twelve new body styles.
After the Ford takeover, Brunn and Edsel Ford hit it off very well, and new designs from Buffalo continued. Small orders were built at Brunn’s workshops, but larger quantities were shopped out to Detroit-area companies. At its peak, Brunn & Co. employed 150 craftspeople and turned out some 20 bodies per month, mostly destined for Lincoln. In order to continue the tradition, Brunn sent his only son, Hermann C. Brunn, to Paris to apprentice with Kellner. The younger Brunn returned a year later well-versed in the carriage trade and joined his father’s company.
Edsel Ford preferred that his suppliers specialize in certain types of bodies. Thus Judkins was assigned berlines and coupes, Willoughby the limousines and LeBaron the convertible sedans. Brunn was given the task of specializing in town cars and convertibles: soft-top broughams, cabriolets, victorias and dual-cowl phaetons. Brunn was one of the first to offer a roll-up fabric top for the chauffeur’s compartment in open-drive town cars. A cabriolet designed by Hermann Brunn for his own use in 1936 soon went into limited production as a Lincoln cataloged custom, both as an open-drive style and Touring Cabriolet with fixed chauffeur’s roof.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2009 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
150bhp, 414 cu. in. L-head V12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, suspension via front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, solid front axle, live rear axle, four-wheel power-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Simon Clay