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Selling on Saturday Evening

Coachwork by Derham Body Company

1930 Lincoln Model L Convertible Phaeton

  • 1 of only 2 known surviving examples of just 20 originally built
  • Displayed at the New York Auto Show; purchased new off the show floor
  • Documented ownership history from new
  • A beautifully restored example of one of the rarest Model L Lincolns

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A stunning example of one of the rarest Model L Lincolns produced, this convertible phaeton has a list of owners that can be traced back to when new. Originally founded to build carriages, the Derham Body Company found itself switching to automobiles to stay with the ever so changing times. The Pennsylvania company quickly built a reputation for itself and began to attract royalty and fame across the globe to have custom-built coachwork for their own automobiles. In 1928, Derham would design a four-door Convertible Phaeton for Countess Holstein and her Hispano-Suiza chassis. A copy of the original rendering by Derham on the Hotel Astor Paris stationery is on file. Before the Hispano was shipped, it was on display in the Derham showroom and attracted the attention of Chrysler and Packard, resulting in both companies ordering a Convertible Phaeton body for one of their own chassis. For 1930, the final year of the Model L, Lincoln decided to offer the Derham-built Convertible Phaeton design as well to their custom-body catalog.

To showcase this offering, Derham decided this example would be on display at the New York Auto Show. According to John Grotz, automotive historian and author, despite the stock market crash in 1929, the 1930 New York Auto Show was one of Derham’s best-ever showings, displaying a Duesenberg, Franklin, Packard, and this remarkable Lincoln. Even with much success at the show, just 20 of these 1930 Model L Convertible Phaetons were ordered. Of those 20, just two are known to exist today, and this example, chassis 63842, is the most significant of the original 20, as it was the display car at the 1930 New York Auto Show.

Accompanied by an extensive historical file that consists of handwritten letters and notes in-period, this Model L Convertible Phaeton was purchased new straight from the New York Auto Show floor by the Cook sisters who were descendants of Thomas Cook, founder of the first organized travel and tour company in 1865. The Cook sisters would use this Lincoln as a chauffeur car before gifting the car to their relative Daniel Cook, where it would then be sold along with his estate in 1951 to John Maitland for just $200. Under Maitland’s ownership, this Lincoln was repainted and fitted with a new convertible top and was reported to be in top mechanical order as he drove it often. After being relocated for his job, he would sell the car in 1956 to a gentleman that worked for the DuMont Television Network. The television network would soon go bankrupt and force the owner to sell this Model L in 1958 to Norman Delaney of Lima, Ohio. During Delaney’s 11 years of ownership, the engine was overhauled and new rear-end seals were installed. In 1970, this Lincoln would become part of the widely known Tom Lester Collection; under his ownership, it was repainted light tan with coffee accents and vibrant orange wheels. It would then be welcomed into the Jim Watson Collection in 1985 and then be passed on to well-known Lincoln collector and enthusiast Craig Watrous in 1997. Under Watrous’ ownership, this Lincoln would take home the prestigious Lion Award at the 2010 Meadow Brook Concours. Shortly after, the current owner would welcome this rare example into his own impressive pre-war collection, where it has been meticulously maintained and always stored in a climate-controlled facility.

A rare and seldom-seen body style, this Model L Convertible Phaeton’s prestige is further enhanced with multiple accessories like dual cowl lights, dual enclosed side-mounted spare tires, a trunk rack and trunk, and a Trippe driving light. With ample room in the interior and the 90-horsepower 384-cubic-inch V-8 engine in good running order, as this Lincoln has always been well-kept, this 1 of just 2 surviving Model L examples is the ideal choice for a rare touring vehicle as it will be welcomed and invited to events all across the United States.


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