1930 Lincoln Model L

The 1930 Lincoln Model L was popular with both gangsters and policemen. Introduced in 1921, the Lincoln V-8 developed 90 bhp. The engine grew to 384.8 cubic inches in 1928, although horsepower officially remained the same. Acceleration was strong, and top speed for all but the heaviest body styles was around 90 mph.

Henry Leland, the father of Cadillac, also founded Lincoln. Leland insisted on the highest standards of engineering and construction. Unfortunately he didn't put much effort into the appearance of the new Lincoln. Dull styling and a recession led to receivership. Henry Ford bought Lincoln in 1922. Leland left in a huff that same year and Ford's son, Edsel, took over Lincoln management.

Edsel was good for Lincoln. Leland had created an outstanding chassis, but Ford had the taste needed to make the car look good.

In 1925, Gorham silversmiths designed a chrome greyhound mascot for the radiator cap. It was molded using the "lost wax" process, a method that gave consistently fine detail. Rolls-Royce also used lost wax for its Spirit of Ecstasy.

Edsel enhanced Lincoln's image by ordering custom bodies from the leading coachbuilders in lots of 10 to more than 100. This provided distinctive coachwork at a more reasonable price than one-of-a-kind custom bodies. The Series 172 berline by Judkins shown here was one of the custom offerings. The word "berline" is derived from the German city Berlin. It was another term for a sedan--often a seven-passenger style with a divider between the front and rear compartments.

While a standard sedan cost $4,500, berline prices started at $5,600. Judkins built four versions of the berline. This 172-A with two side windows was one of 42 built in 1930. It features a distinctively angled windshield invented by Brewster coachbuilders. The configuration was thought to reduce glare and improve visibility in rain. It found some popularity in the Twenties but had almost disappeared by 1930.

When photographed, this restored Lincoln berline was owned by Tim Sharon of La Crescenta, California. He said when the car was found hidden in a Chicago warehouse, there was an apparent bullet hole in the divider window, suggesting it had an interesting past.

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