St. John's (formerly Meadow Brook)

30 July 2011

Lot 137

1939 Lincoln Model K Convertible Sedan by LeBaron

To be auctioned on Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sold for $297,000

  • Chassis no. K-9552
  • Engine no. K-9552
History is important to us, and all lots offered are fully researched. All corresponding information and accessories, from certificates to tool kits, stays with the lots we sell. All of this is held at our library on site, under the Access the Knowledge banner, so please visit us there or contact us before the auction if you require further information.


150 bhp, 414 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel power-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145"

- The 1939 Canadian Royal Tour Car
- Built for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
- Formerly in the Henry Ford Museum collection and The Kughn Carail Collection
- Amazing original condition

The first royal figure to visit Canada was Prince William, later to become William IV, in 1786. Since then, members of the British royal family have toured Canada with some regularity, the latest being a honeymoon tour of Canada by the recently wed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine Middleton. The royal tour of 1939, however, was particularly significant.

The tour marked the first visit by a reigning monarch to a dominion, an autonomous nation under British sovereignty. It had a political purpose, too, in shoring up support for the United Kingdom, which even in 1939 was bracing against storm clouds of war. Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King had begun consultations while attending the coronation of King George VI in June 1937. Discussions and negotiations followed, and by early 1939 a schedule had been agreed for the King and Elizabeth, his Queen consort, to visit Canada in May and June.

For their coast-to-coast itinerary, a royal motorcade was called for, and thus four cars were constructed especially for the event. There were two special McLaughlin Buicks built by General Motors, Canada, as well as a Chrysler from Chrysler Corporation of Canada. Ford Motor Company provided a custom-built Lincoln Model K convertible sedan, ordered through Ford of Canada and built in Dearborn. All four cars were built to exacting specifications. They were to be painted Royal Maroon, matching the fleet at the Royal Mews in Britain. All had shatterproof glass, puncture-proof tires, a raised seating area for the monarchs, the Royal Standard above the windshield, a blue light for night-time illumination, a Royal Crest to be placed over the light in daytime and folding seats facing backwards, since it is forbidden to sit with one’s back to the sovereign.

Taking a standard 145-inch wheelbase 1939 Model K chassis, Lincoln craftsmen modified a Series 413 LeBaron convertible sedan body. The windshield was extended upwards and the side glass and top constructed to match, in order to provide both visibility and protection for the royal couple. The chassis and powertrain retained their conventional specifications. The Lincoln’s passenger compartment was upholstered in poudre bleu broadcloth in a tailored panel effect. This color, it was noted, was a favorite of the Queen. The chauffeur’s compartment was done in a harmonizing but darker shade of blue leather. Compartments for gloves, cigarettes and other small items were fitted, and two lap robes were contained in a special compartment and two umbrellas in a drawer under the driver’s seat. The car was completed, outfitted and turned over to the Canadian Government in April.

The King and Queen arrived in Quebec City on May 17th, proceeding to Montreal and Ottawa, the capital, where the Queen laid the cornerstone of the Supreme Court building. The royal couple also visited Parliament. They inaugurated the Queen Elizabeth Way, Canada’s first superhighway, which links Buffalo and Toronto, and dedicated the nearly completed Rainbow Bridge to the USA. They went on to the West Coast, both passengers and cars traveling by rail between cities, and made a quick visit to the United States, including Washington, D.C., New York City and Poughkeepsie, before boarding the RMS Empress of Britain at Halifax for their return voyage. The royal party, no matter what city or car, was always driven by the Governor General’s personal chauffeur, T.S. Southgate.

Following the tour, all four cars were returned to their respective automobile companies. The two Buicks survive in Canada, while the Chrysler has been lost to history. The Lincoln was transferred by Ford Motor Company to the Henry Ford Museum, in whose collections it resided until 1985. During this time it was taken out for a parade on the Coronation Day of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953 and again for another royal tour by the Queen and Prince Philip on July 3, 1959.

At an auction held at Dearborn in October 1985, the car was purchased by Richard and Linda Kughn of Detroit for their famed Carail Museum. The Kughns lent the car out for another royal occasion on July 6, 1989, when Elizabeth the Queen Mother commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Queen Elizabeth Way. The current owner purchased it from the Kughns in 2004, and it has remained in his noted private collection ever since.

In amazing original condition, the car wears its Royal Maroon livery well. The car has been maintained, not restored, so changes have been limited to touch-up in high-stress areas. It has a tan canvas top, twin side-mount spares, color-matched wheels and Trippe driving lights.

The car is accompanied by numerous artifacts, photographs, letters and other documentation and shows fewer than 4,000 original miles. A singular artifact of historic importance, it is a remarkable, one-off car with fascinating royal provenance.

As part of a large private collection, this car has been treated to climate-controlled storage but has seen little exercise in recent years and will require thorough professional inspection before being driven.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

aclassick@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

aabaci@rmauctions.com

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmauctions.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmauctions.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmauctions.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Peter Giddings

pgiddings@rmauctions.com

+1 925 831 2048
California, United States

A life-long car enthusiast, Peter joined RM’s California office with over half a century of experience in the automotive and rac... read more

Peter Blond

pblond@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Blond joined the RM Europe team in 2013 after being immersed in the collector car industry for more than 60 years. An... read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more

Jeff Whiteside

jwhiteside@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jeff Whiteside joined RM Auctions as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer following almost three decades in a diverse r... read more