Last updated on October 1, 2022
Today’s car is a 1953 Lincoln Capri Derham Coupe. This particular Lincoln Capri was built with a Coupe Victoria body by the Derham Body Company. It was ordered by Tom O’Connor, the son of a wealthy oil and gas family, as a present for his first wife. This car is recently owned by Rich Atwell. It was one of Derham’s last custom designs and builds. The Derham Body Company operated from 1917-1964. Joseph J. Derham started the company and had four of his six sons joined the company (Enos, Philip, James & Joseph Jr.). Derham, a coachbuilder who built cars bodies for Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, Packard, and many more chassis in the 30s, was still in business in the 60s. The final event in the long history of the Derham Body Company came with the death of Enos Derham in March of 1974.
I saw this car at the San Marino Motor Classic in Pasadena, CA. It is finished in Black with a tan broad cloth covering the “Victoria” roof and the Continental kit. One of more interesting parts is the car is the interior, which is done in button tufted wool broadcloth that covers even the dash and dash facia. It is powered by a 205 hp, 317.5 cu in, 5.2 Liter, V8, with a Holley 2140 4-bbl carburetor, Transferring that power to the rear wheels through a 4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission with 3.31:1 as the final gear ratio. Helping slow this beauty down 12 inch Hydraulic drum brakes in all 4 corners. The front suspension is independent with coil springs and hydraulic telescoping shock absorbers. The rear suspension is longitudinal semi-ellipticical leaf springs with hydraulic telescoping shock absorbers. This car was heavily optioned with power steering, electric windows, tinted windows, power brakes, and a four-way power seat.
While I could not find the original price of this car. The price for the 1953 Lincoln Capri ranged from $3,450 for the sedan to $3,700 for the convertible. Lincoln produced 40,762 cars total in 1953 of which 26,640 were Lincoln Capri’s. The Capri hardtop coupe was the most popular with 12,916, followed by the sedan with 11,352 and 2,372 were convertibles. The published top speed is 108 with the 0 – 60 time of 13 seconds.
This is a great car that represents the end of a era of coach builders like the Derhams. This car will draw inquisitive car enthusiast at any car event interested in learning the history of the Derham Body Co. Thanks for riding along. Frank