The Lincoln K-Series: A Beautiful Car, An Ugly Time

- in Cars

Lincoln Model K is one of the most exclusive automobiles produced in the United States during the 1930s.

1931 Lincoln K Series
1931 Lincoln K Series

Lincoln Model K carried presidents and celebrities and it was the first car to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937.
The Lincoln K-Series is the perfect example of how similarly automakers like Ford treated economic trials in the early 20th century to the contemporary crisis.  Shortly before the Depression hit, Henry Ford had rescued the Lincoln marque from bankruptcy, passing it onto Edsel to look after when times got tough.  Lincoln was purchased to become Ford’s luxury line, allowing the automaker to introduce itself to the Cadillac consumer.  When hard times hit, Edsel refused to give up on Ford’s fledgling luxury fleet, giving it extra attention—which is perhaps one of the reasons why Lincoln was one of the few luxury brands that made it through the Depression.


1931 Lincoln Model K Convertible Coupe
1931 Lincoln Model K Convertible Coupe

The K-Series debuted in 1931, just a few years after Black Friday.  Ford was up against major obstacles in terms of keeping its factories open and its workers paid, but that didn’t stop it from developing a new luxury model with a price tag that could make even Ford’s high-end clients break a sweat.

Over the course of the 1930s, Ford struggled consistently with the K-Series’ sales, but the little luxury line never failed to fight—reinventing itself over and over again despite the challenges.  Similarly, when Ford closed Mercury in June of 2010, the Lincoln stepped up with a brand new league of vehicles aimed to absorb the fallen line’s sales and keep the division fresh.


Get To Know the Model K
The Lincoln K-Series, also known as the Model K, came in after the L-Series with a new chassis and an improved engine—384.8 cubic inches with 120 horsepower.  The car sat on a 145 inch wheel base and featured a longer hood, rounder bumpers, and elegant designer headlights.  As a final touch, Lincoln placed a greyhound—designed by Gorham silversmiths—on the radiator cap.  Some say that the car’s sleek new look and high-performing powertrain were due to Edsel Ford’s fastidious oversight—Edsel was given enormous freedom on the Lincoln design side and, in turn, paid special attention to Henry Ford’s rescued marque.

1932 Lincoln K Series Sedan
1932 Lincoln K Series Sedan




As a result of these efforts, most everyone agrees that, in the face of truly ugly economic times, Ford ensured that the 1931 K-Series was a shining beauty and the 1932 Model K even more gorgeous yet.  (In 1931, the Lincoln defied the brutal conditions with a 2% gain in a time when other luxury lines were losing money.)

1935 Lincoln K Convertible
1935 Lincoln K Convertible

In the next model year, Ford arranged the 1932 K-Series in two separate lines—the KA, with a V-8 engine like the 1931 and the KB, with a new 65-degree 447.9 cubic V-12 engine coming in at 150 horsepower.

For more photos, video, and the rest of the story go to the NEXT PAGE.


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