Lincoln K-series – 1931

Henry Ford relished his acquisition of the bankrupt Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, for he had been forced out of his own Henry’ Ford Company in 1902 by Henry M Leland – the now-ruined boss of Lincoln.

Leland had renamed the original Ford company Cadillac . . . ironically Lincoln’s main competitor. The Lincoln was pitched at the luxury’ end of the spectrum and new ownership didn’t change much.

Assorted body shapes were introduced in 1923 but the first real advance was the Lincoln K-series. Launched in 1931, it initially had a Y8 engine, though this was swiftly upgraded to a V12 for added power and refinement. Further evolutions of this motor were introduced over time but failed to catapult the K-series to commercial glory. It never really caught the public’s imagination and only two thousand were produced before the series was discontinued in 1939, finally being finished off by the introduction of its own stablemates – two phenomenally successful Lincolns – the Zephyr (1936) and Continental (1938).

This is unfortunate, as the hand-built K-series was very good indeed, especially after the introduction of the KB with the first V12 engine in 1932, though the KA line continued. These big machines came with different wheelbases allowing for a variety of interesting body styles produced both by the factory and external coachbuilders, including leading luminaries like Brunn and LeBaron. Amongst the favorites were formal town cars, four-door sedans, phaetons, convertible sedans, touring cabriolets and two-door convertibles.

In 1935 the KA and KB lines merged as the Model K, with a smaller but more efficient V12 power plant, but this failed to halt the sales slide. These handsome cars appeal mightily to the modern eye and they drive beautifully, so the problem can only have been price sensitivity during the Depression years.



FIRST MANUFACTURED: Launched as the KA in 1931 (until 1939)


6,3I (385 cid) V8; 7.3 I (448 cid),

6,3I (382 Cid), 6.8 I (414 cid) V12


Up to 95 mph (153 km/h) depending on body style.


One final – and impressive – Model K built in 1939 (subsequently updated in 1942) was the singular ‘Sunshine Special’ convertible limousine created especially for President Franklin D Roosevelt.


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