In 1922, Henry Ford exacted revenge on his former nemesis Henry Leland by purchasing the Lincoln Motor Company for $8M. Some twenty years prior, a group of investors led by Leland had forced Henry Ford out of his own business, going to reorganize and re-launch it as Cadillac. Leland soon left Cadillac to found Lincoln Motor Company with his son, and despite a lucrative contract during World War I to supply Liberty aero engines, the company soon hit hard times. Ford was more than happy to bail out Leland, however at a heavily discounted price, a deliberate jab to the man who caused Ford to start from scratch so many years prior. Ford successfully purchased Lincoln, swiftly forcing Leland and his son out of the company. But what was bad for Henry Leland proved quite good for Lincoln Motor Company. Henry Ford put his son Edsel in charge, who wasted little time improving quality and expanding product offerings. By 1923, sales had risen 45 percent, and the company was finally turning a profit. Lincoln was now fully established as a genuine competitor in the luxury marketplace,
The K-series was Lincoln’s first all-new product since Leland’s ouster, replacing the ageing and expensive L-series. The K was made available as either a V8-powered KA or V12-powered KB series. A variety of wheelbases and coachbuilt body styles could satisfy virtually any client’s wishes. Ford contracted with a number of premier coachbuilders of the day, such as Brunn, Murphy, Judkins LeBaron and Rollston. By the 1934 model year, the K-series was combined into a single line. The V8 engine had been dropped several years before, as had the small-displacement V12. The only engine available was the beautiful and powerful 414 cubic inch (6.8 liter) twelve-cylinder which would go on to power the K through the end of its run. Mechanically, the KA and KB were identical, with the wheelbase being the only difference between the two. As before, Lincolns were bodied by any number of high quality coachbuilders, including Murray, with whom Ford had a long standing relationship. Murray was primarily a body builder, producing bodies for the likes of Dietrich, as well as for many of Ford’s more pedestrian and commercial models. But they had the skill and facilities to produce limited high-end bodies as well, such as the one fitted to our featured 1934 Lincoln KA.
This handsome 1934 Lincoln K-Series V12 (S/N KA2938) wears a rare and interesting High Hat Limousine body by Murray and has been treated to a high quality restoration, which remains in very good and well-maintained condition. It is finished in an understated shade of dark blue, which is accented by gray wire wheels and gray coachlines. While the color combination is understated, the same cannot be said about the rather imposing proportions of the body. The High Hat limousine was of course designed for the gentleman of high social standing who did not wish to remove his hat when climbing aboard, and the rear compartment is generously proportioned with additional head room. The roof is upholstered in black, lending an attractive and formal appearance. Paint quality and body finishing was executed to a high standard, and the car is well detailed with good quality brightwork and fine original equipment. It wears a pair of chrome Flexbeam headlights, dual Trippe Light driving lamps, and a greyhound radiator mascot. Dual sidemount spare wheels adorn the fenders, and a large trunk with an upholstered cover rides on a chrome plated trunk rack. Wide whitewall tires on painted wire wheels continue the theme of formal elegance.
The interior is all about traditional limousine accommodations. The driver’s compartment is trimmed in black leather, as it was a harder-wearing material that would not show dirt. The dash is nicely equipped with correct instruments that appear to be in excellent original condition. Beautifully detailed diamond-pattern wood trim adorns the door tops, which has been nicely restored with a period appropriate finish that doesn’t appear over-restored. An opening divider window separates driver from passengers. Rear passengers are treated to a luxurious cabin trimmed in gray broadcloth with matching gray carpeting. The same diamond-pattern wood continues on the door caps, quarter window sills and divider window sill. A pair of jump seats can be deployed for two occasional passengers and the rearmost quarter windows crank open to allow for an airy cabin, an unusual feature for a formal limousine. The quality of the trim and finishing is excellent and the car presents in tidy, clean and attractive order.
Lincoln’s alloy-head 414 cubic inch V12 produced 150 horsepower in the typically silky-smooth manner of a 1930s multi-cylinder engine. This example is pleasingly well detailed, showing signs of careful use and regular maintenance since completion, with mainly period correct fittings and hardware. This car was awarded an AACA Senior award in 2012 as well as a CCCA National 1st Place, a testament to the quality and detail put into the restoration. The fascinating body is certainly a talking point, while the K-series chassis and lovely V12 engine make it a fantastic choice for touring. As a CCCA-recognized Full Classic, this Lincoln remains in showable condition, yet would also make a fine and comfortable choice for touring.