From the Estate of Eugene Beardslee, formerly in the Harrah Collection
1925 Lincoln Model L Three Window Four Passenger Sedan
Coachwork by Judkins
Chassis no. 26405
358ci L-head V8
Three-speed manual transmission
Ex-Bill Harrah Collection
Henry Martyn Leland had earned his reputation as Detroit's "Master of Precision" long before establishing Lincoln to build Liberty aircraft engines for The Great War. Apprenticed in the armories of New England, Leland adopted the principles of close tolerance manufacture of interchangeable parts and advanced precision manufacturing techniques at machine tool manufacturer Brown & Sharpe. He brought these principles to Detroit as a machine tool distributor, shortly thereafter setting up Leland & Faulconer as a precision supplier to the burgeoning auto industry.
Leland established Cadillac's reputation as "The Standard of the World", then left in a dispute with Billy Durant and started Lincoln, commencing automobile manufacture after the war. His first Lincoln was superbly engineered and built. Introduced in 1921, it was powered by a 358 cubic inch L-head 60° V8 engine. Unlike more conventional V-engines which offset the cylinder banks slightly to make room for adjacent connecting rod bearings on the crank journals, Leland's Model L used fork-and-blade connecting rods and disposed the cylinders directly opposite each other. Unusually for the period, Leland's V8 had full pressure lubrication. The Model L Lincolns were powerful, reliable and strong.
Leland, however, had an engineer's vision and the bodies which completed his automobiles were stodgy and out of date. When it became apparent that drastic measures were needed to brighten up the Leland Lincolns' appearance they turned to the Buffalo, New York firm of Brunn & Company. Hermann A. Brunn rushed out a set of twelve body designs, delivering one of each to Lincoln. But it was too late as dismal sales, the post WWI recession and an erroneous $4½ million tax bill spelled the end of Lincoln. It was bought out of receivership in 1922 by none other than Henry Ford to balance the success of the bare bones Model T with the best-engineered and best-built luxury automobile in America.
Edsel Ford took charge at Lincoln after the Lelands' angry parting only four months later and quickly commissioned the best American coachbuilders to create designs for Lincoln. Locke, Judkins, Dietrich, Derham, LeBaron and others soon joined Brunn. Ford's engineers improved modestly upon Leland's V8, changing to aluminum pistons and revising the heads for better cooling but the quality and potential of the basic engine and chassis design proved itself by providing the underpinnings for Lincoln until it was superceded by the Model K V12 in 1933.
Eugene Beardslee was noted for his passion for Lincoln automobiles and it is not at all surprising that he chose such a fine Model L for his collection. Rather than having had to restore a car as he so often did, in this case he purchased this well restored ex-Harrah example. Harrah restorations are well known for their quality and exacting detail and despite the work now being at least 30 years old, it remains in extremely presentable order throughout. The sympathetic Orriford Lake gray, over black fenders is a scheme which suits the car well, and these colors are continued onto the interior. Throughout, there are accents, externally as coachlining and within the car as exquisite wood door cappings, and a polished aluminum dash panel. At its rear a trunk balances the overall shaping of the car, and contained in this are a period tool roll, jack and wheel spanner. With accessories including BiFlex bumpers and stirrup mounted chrome headlamps, the combined effect is of a very handsome, well appointed and highly detailed automobile.
Eligible for Lincoln Owners Club, and Classic Car Club of America events among other applications, this handsome Model L would surely be a welcome sight at such gatherings.
- Please note that the engine number for this vehicle is 26405.