When John Ellison wants to add a car to his collection, he’s looking for “a little something special.”
“It’s more the quality of the car, the rarity of the car and, of course, the design and the story—the history of the car. A lot of the cars have very interesting stories,” John says.
Three years ago, he added a 1937 Lincoln K Judkins to the already robust collection that he’s been building for 25 years. Although John loves how many people comment on the beauty of the car, what really gets him excited is the opportunity to delve into the limousine’s background.
“It was the last car of its series that was built at the time, and it was ordered specifically by [a great industrialist] family for their plantation in the Philippines. They reportedly ordered it in this color because their plantation was a banana plantation, so it is an original color,” John says.
This model was especially popular with the wealthy, most of whom would change the car body depending on the season. Modifying the automobile to suit the owner’s lifestyle was commonplace during the era of the car’s production, and this family was no exception. Since their model didn’t have air conditioning, they customized the front windows so that they swung out at the bottom of the windshield frame.
Even though it’s been well over 10 years since the car was restored by a previous Lincoln collector, John didn’t feel like he needed to make a lot of his own changes to the car once he took ownership.
“I was very impressed with the quality of the restoration. The fellow was very meticulous; it was a frame-off, nut-and-bolt restoration,” John explains. “It was completely restored to its original condition.”
The impeccable restoration has allowed him to exhibit the limousine at various car shows. And the rarity of the 1937 Lincoln K Judkins means that it leaves a lasting impression wherever it goes.
“They only built around 265 [of these cars], so it wasn’t a mass-produced car,” John says.
And it is exactly that uniqueness, combined with its storied past, that drew him to this particular Lincoln K Judkins.
There are few things that speak to a moment in time quite like a car does. It’s a mobile time capsule—each detail a visual reference for the trends and customs of the era in which it was built. And if the car was customized, its changes speak to the idiosyncrasies of the previous owners, unfolding a story that can be felt with each gear shift and turn of the steering wheel.
Experiencing this car in the same condition of its heyday—when titans of art and industry owned it—is an indescribable sentiment that John feels every time he sits in the Lincoln K Judkins’ spacious interior.