Lot 441

Hershey 2019

1937 Lincoln Model K Touring by Willoughby

The William B. Ruger Jr. Collection

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$79,750 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Hershey, Pennsylvania

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Chassis No.
K8349
Engine No.
K8878
  • Offered from the William B. Ruger Jr. Collection
  • One of just three known surviving examples
  • Known ownership history since new
  • Fresh engine rebuild by Fran Roxas
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic

William B. Ruger was an avid collector of the multi-cylinder Classics of the 1930s and was particularly passionate about the twelve-cylinder Lincolns, of which he owned and enjoyed several very fine examples. The last Lincoln V-12 in his collection was this car, the very rare seven-passenger touring built by Willoughby of Utica, New York, a firm more renowned for their closed limousine bodies. Willoughby produced this style for the Model K in 1937, 1938, and 1939 only, and production each year was severely limited. Today only three examples of the body style have survived: the example offered here, another 1937 model, and a single 1938 model.

According to previous owner Sam Kingston, this seven-passenger touring was built for Russell Leffingwell, chairman of the board of J.P. Morgan & Company, who used it for travel to his summer house on Lake George in upstate New York. In the mid-1940s the car was sold by the family to the late Curtis Blake, co-founder of Friendly’s and an avid automobile collector. Blake in turn sold the car in the late 1950s or early 1960s to Mr. Kingston’s grandfather, who knew the Lincoln well, having been a neighbor to the Leffingwells at Oyster Bay, Long Island. Mr. Kingston then inherited the car in 1998 and sold it to Mr. Ruger in 2018. Reportedly, Mr. Ruger, too, was attracted by location, having lived only a few doors down from the car’s onetime home.

In 2001–02, Mr. Kingston had the car refinished with new leather upholstery and top, new chrome, and a new wiring harness. Mr. Ruger proceeded to improve it further with his usual attention to mechanical detail, commissioning a rebuild of the year-correct Model K engine by Fran Roxas—the very last job completed by Mr. Roxas prior to his retirement, at a reported cost of $40,000. The car remains in good overall condition, with older paint and interior, undercarriage that appears very original, and, obviously, a fresh engine compartment. It would be an ideal summer tour vehicle for its new owner—exactly the sort of use that Mr. Ruger could have been expected to give it.