1937 Lincoln Model K Two-Window Sedan


Body Style 354A. 150 bhp, 414 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 136 in.

  • Chassis no. K-7816
  • Engine no. K-7816
  • A CCCA Full Classic
  • Showing 88,500 original miles
  • One of only two known survivors in this style
  • Formerly owned by the Owen Owens Museum

Although Lincoln decided to include Zephyr in the lineup for 1937, the company continued to offer its prestigious Model K in 17 custom body styles. Perhaps influenced by Cord, the stylists saw simplicity as a key feature. The front headlamps were now of an art deco teardrop design that had been streamlined into the front fenders, and the V-front windscreens were fitted on all standard bodies. Belt moldings were removed and replaced by a narrow crease, and the doors extended down almost to the running boards. These were all influences of the revolutionary and popular John Tjaarda designs. From an engineering standpoint, the V-12 engine was fitted with hydraulic lifters and a different cam contour, and it was placed further forward, sitting on altered engine mounts.

The car offered here, chassis number K-7816, is one of only forty-eight factory aluminum-bodied two-window sedans built to style number 354A on the 1937 Model K chassis. Today, it is one of only two known to survive. According to the owner, its production card, as provided by the Benson Ford Research Center, identifies it as having been originally delivered on January 22, 1937, in Richmond, Virginia, and finished in special-order Brewster Green DK (Dark). Speculation that has long traveled with the Lincoln suggests that it was originally delivered to the State Department; while documentation of this has never been located, Model Ks were certainly a favorite of the U.S. government during the FDR years.

The car’s known history indicates that in the late 1940s it made its way to California, and in the 1960s, it was purchased by Owen Owens for his famous Ragtime Museum in Emeryville. It remained in the Owens Collection until shortly before Mr. Owens’s passing in 1978. It was then acquired by a Mr. Milliken, who had the paint refreshed, the front seat reupholstered, and a mechanical restoration performed. In the early 1980s, the car became an award winner at several Northern California concours d’elegance and was enjoyed by several other West Coast caretakers.

The current owner notes that the car’s 88,520 miles are original and that it has all of its original equipment, including its engine, transmission, the entire interior upholstery and woodwork (except for the front seats), tools, and exterior components; also, all interior lights and accessories are reported to function well. There is an extensive file of all repair and restoration documents on the car, which goes back many decades, as well as historical production records. The car received new tubes and tires in January 2007, and extensive work was performed to restore shine to the paint, much of which was original. The engine compartment was refinished, new polished aluminum heads were installed, exhaust manifolds were recently redone with new ceramic, the entire car was properly rewired with a completely new harness, and a high-speed rear end gear set was installed in the differential, as was a new clutch. The Lincoln reportedly scored 98.25 points at the 2009 CCCA Grand Classic in Scottsdale and received its Primary First. The owner notes that it runs and drives well, and he uses it regularly, including in a 2011 CCCA CARavan to the Grand Canyon and back.

This is a very special and very functional car. It is a perfect car for either an entry into the classic car hobby or to add to any Lincoln collection.

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Text by RM Sotheby’s

Photos by Patrick Ernzen courtesy of RM Sotheby’s