1925 Lincoln Model L'Beetle Back' Roadster
Year of manufacture1925
$90,000 - $110,000
- Reportedly one of six built in this style, with only three known survivors
- Sporty looks are backed by Lincoln “Fork and Blade” V-8 power
- Beautifully and authentically restored to award-winning condition
- Extensively documented ownership history from new
- 2014 Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) President’s Cup winner; Pebble Beach Concours class award winner
- An exceptional example of a Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic Lincoln
To get a sense of the elegance and prestige embodied by the Lincoln Motor Company’s early automotive offerings, look no further than this 1925 Model L “Beetle Back” Roadster by Brunn & Co. Following Ford’s purchased of the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, Henry Ford’s only son Edsel was placed at the helm of the luxury concern. Its offerings, as exemplified by this car, chassis number 27771, were everything Ford Motor Co.’s were not: Big (indeed, during Edsel’s tenure, the Model L’s wheelbase grew from 130 inches to this example’s 136 inches), powerful, technologically advanced, and expensive.
Moreover, and in stark contrast to Henry’s one-size-fits-all approach to transportation, they were highly customizable. This customization came courtesy of a roster of coachbuilders, including Buffalo, New York’s Brunn & Co.. Edsel’s relationship with Brunn and its leadership was said to be amicable; the firm even bodied some of his personal vehicles. The elegance of this “Beetle Back” roadster, body style 130 of a wide range offered for the Model L, gives ample justification for the younger Ford’s preferences.
Subtler than the boattail speedsters that would emerge a few years further into the Jazz Age, it is no less sporty—and unlike a typical boattail, it affords room for a rumble seat in the rear. Its looks are backed by Lincoln’s 357-cubic inch L-head “Fork and Blade” V-8, which provides 90 bhp. Extensive research indicates that six roadsters of this design were built. Of those, only three are believed to have survived to the present.
The car on offer, according to written documentation on file, was purchased new by the newlywed Edgar and Lila Mason of Auburn, Indiana. Mrs. Mason so loved her new Lincoln that she nicknamed it “Sis” and considered it a member of her family; it was her only vehicle for a lifetime of driving, covering some 90,000 miles and, in later years, being actually stored in her living room to protect it.
In 1977, it was sold by Mrs. Mason’s heirs to Jim Riffenburgh, the first of several Lincoln Owners Club members who have preserved it over the years, including the renowned enthusiasts Tony Heinsbergen and Tom Powels. Its fifth caretaker, who for many years restored the automobiles of the Nethercutt Collection, acquired it from the Powels Family. Under his stewardship it was brought to its present award-winning condition, in no small part thanks to the historical documentation undertaken by Mr. Powels.
The car has since won many honors, including 2nd in Class at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and 1st in Class at several other West Coast concours, and the AACA President’s Cup in the Western Division in 2014. Accompanied by a tool kit, jack, wheel wrench, owner’s manual, and photographic documentation of its restoration, this is a truly special Model L Lincoln, and one that carries with it the superb provenance recognized by many of the great Lincoln enthusiasts of the last half-century.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/0520.