Henry Leland founded the Cadillac Motor Car Company in 1903 from the remains of Henry Ford's second failed attempt to start an auto company. In 1917, Leland found the Lincoln Motor Company and built a high caliber automobile that was very well-built, but rather lack-luster in its design. When the Ford Motor Company acquired the company in 1922, Edsel Ford (Henry's Son) used his talents to transform the design into beautiful, luxurious cars.
Many consider 1932 as the ultimate year for the design of custom bodied prestige automobiles. With a variety of companies throughout the world in the custom body business in the 20's, only a few established themselves as the cream of the crop. Dietrich was certainly one of them.
Dietrich, Inc. was an American coachbuilder founded in 1925 by Raymond H. Dietrich, who was also the co-founder of LeBaron Incorporated in New York. He was known to be a close friend to Edsel Ford, who introduced him to Fred Murray, owner of the Murray Body Corporation. Ford was able to convince him to partly finance Dietrich to start his own body company. Murray had hoped for an in-house source for designing and building custom bodies for luxury cars, such as the Lincoln. It is said that Dietrich himself held 50% of the stock.
Dietrich, Inc. did styling work for standard bodies for Packard, Franklin, and Erskine. Dietrich, Inc. also built custom bodies to single orders, and proposed semi-customs for Lincoln, which was then headed by Edsel Ford.
By September 1930, Dietrich was out of his company and Dietrich, Inc. was closed in 1936. In 1932, Raymond Dietrich became the first head of design of Chrysler (until 1938).
This 1932 Lincoln KB Coupe wears a custom coachwork body by Raymond Dietrich of Detroit. It is a rare automobile and one of just 17 examples produced at a factory price of $5,150. The current owner's grandfather, a Lincoln dealer in Kalamazoo, Michigan, ordered the car new in the 1930s. It was rescued from a junkyard in 1951 and treated to a restoration by the current owner in 2001.
For 1932, Lincoln offered two distinct automobiles. The KA was powered by the venerable Lincoln V-8 on a 136-inch wheelbase chassis and the KB was powered by the new Lincoln V-12 on the 145-inch wheelbase chassis. The new 447 cubic inch V-12 produced 150 horsepower.
Custom coachwork was available on the KB chassis only and one of the most beautiful bodies designed for that chassis in 1932 was the coupe by Dietrich & Company of Detroit.
This Lincoln was rescued from a Michigan junkyard in 1951 and received a complete restoration between 1999 and 2001.
Henry Martin Leland is inextricably linked as the brilliant engineer who founded Cadillac. He was 74 years old when he quit General Motors after a quarrel with Billy Durant. Leland set up a company to produce Liberty engines receiving a $10 million a [Read More...]
Sold for $140,800 at 2005 RM Auctions. Sold for $198,000 at 2015 RM Auctions. According to factory records, this vehicle, KB1644, has custom coachwork by Judkins Company of Amesbury, Massachusetts. The aluminum body was built as the Salon exhibition car and was displayed at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, the Biltmore Hotel in Los [Read More...]
In 1932, Lincoln produced 1,515 KB or 12-cylinder vehicles and only produced 112 examples of this Model 248 LeBaron Convertible Roadster. It is powered by a 448 cubic inch, V-12 engine developing 150 horsepower. The car weighs 5,535 pounds, set on [Read More...]
Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse Coachwork: Waterhouse Chassis Num: KB9 Engine Num: KB9
Sold for $203,500 at 2007 Gooding & Company. During the early 1930s, the Great Depression was in full swing and the automotive industry was busy at work attempting to attract customers as their pool of potential buyers continued to dwindle. At least seven marque's introduced V12 flagship model [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Sold for $269,500 at 2012 RM Auctions. Sold for $319,000 at 2015 RM Auctions. In 1908, Hermann A. Brunn established his own company at Buffalo, New York. He had apprenticed with his uncle in the carriage trade and his new company was intended to use that skill in constructing automobile bodies. The early examples were one-of [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
The 1930s was an exciting time for automotive development, though the true level of achievement would be hindered by the Great Depression. The cylinder wars began in the 1920's. Companies who relied solely on style, such as Pierce Arrow, were eventually out of business. Cadillac had raised the bar with their V12 and V16 engines. Marmon was quick to respond, introducing their version of the massive sixteen cylinder engine. Lincoln responded with a seven bearing, V12 engine with separate cylinder blocks, and fork and blade connecting rods. The engine was potent, powerful and durable. It did have a flaw and that was in the cost of manufacturing. It was so expensive, that within two years it was no longer offered. It had been replaced by a conventional design that was more cost effective. The engine may have prevailed if not for the Great Depression, which was dwindling the numbers of potential buyers and making competition fierce in the luxury car segment.
The Lincoln automobiles were stylish and luxurious with many receiving custom bodies from some of the era's greatest coachbuilders including Waterhouse, LeBaron, Dietrich, Judkins, and Willoughby. Many of the creations were unique and built specifically for the customer. The most popular designs were group ordered by Lincoln and made available to a wider selection of buyers. This decreased the delivery time while maintaining a high level of quality. The bodies were built in advance with some available to customers to be trimmed to their exact specifications. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2006
High bid of $90,000 at 2006 RM Auctions. (did not sell) The 1930s was an exciting time for automotive development, though the true level of achievement would be hindered by the Great Depression. The cylinder wars began in the 1920's. Companies who relied solely on style, such as Pierce Arrow, were event [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
Lincoln stepped into the multi-cylinder era when it introduced its fabled 12-cylinder KB series. Produced in very low quantity, this series offered a large variety of body styles from a variety of sources. This handsome Dual Cowl Phaeton was a prod [Read More...]
High bid of $90,000 at 2006 RM Auctions. (did not sell) The J. B. Judkins Company of Amesbury, Massachusetts built this car as a 'Catalog Custom.' According to surviving records, this car was built as a Salon exhibition car. It was finished in early1 1932. Only six examples were created. It was built [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2007
The 1932 Lincoln KB model line was available with in-house coachwork but a few, such as this example by Judkins, were bodied by outside coachbuilders. This car is one of only 24 Lincoln Judkins coupes built in 1932, and is believed to be the only sur [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2013
In the 1932 Lincoln portfolio, the senior KB model line was available in both in-house designed body styles and a few by outside coachbuilders such as Dietrich, Judkins and LeBaron. This featured car is one of only 24 Lincoln custom Judkins coupes p [Read More...]
High bid of $90,000 at 2006 RM Auctions. (did not sell) This Lincoln features Custom Coachwork by Judkins Company of Amesbury, Massachusetts. The aluminum body was built for the Auto Salon shows at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, and the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. From [Read More...]
The Lincoln Model KB was built on a 145-inch wheelbase and received coachwork from such legendary names as Dietrich, Judkins, Brunn, Murphy, Lebaron, Willoughby, and Waterhouse. The fork-and-blade connecting rod arrangement which had been in use sin [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
The coachbuilding firm of Judkins and Company of Amesbury, Massachusetts, began building horse-drawn carriages under the guidance of John B. Judkins and became one of America's most respected coachbuilders, surviving into the late 1930s. This vehicle [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2010
High bid of $93,000 at 2004 RM Auctions. (did not sell) Sold for $115,500 at 2011 RM Auctions. This KB is one of just 1,515 such chassis produced for 1932, and one of only 24 Style 233 Seven-Passenger Touring cars originally built that year. [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2011
This elegant vee-windshield coupe was penned by Raymond H. Dietrich. Mounted on Lincoln's 145-inch KB chassis and powered by its famous 447 cubic-inch V12, this is the ultimate two-passenger luxury conveyance (with room for two more in the rumble sea [Read More...]
Sold for $154,000 at 2012 RM Auctions. This Lincoln KB Coupe with coachwork by Judkins entered the Ruger Collection in 1995 and then brought to the Pebble Beach Concours that same year where it earned a Third in Class. The car is finished in Birmingham Green and Jade Mist with painted wir [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2012
The 1932 Lincoln KB with Dietrich Convertible Sedan coachwork is perhaps the most desirable Lincoln of the Classic Era. The Lincoln KB was offered in 16 different body styles designed by top coachbuilders. Raymond Dietrich built 20 convertible sedans [Read More...]
The flagship car for the entire 1932 Ford line was the Lincoln Model KB. With its smooth-running V12 engines and highly appointed body styles, it had few rivals. The KB provided more performance than the earlier Model K and was offered with a wider a [Read More...]
This Lincoln KB Berline Custom by Judkins was the 1932 Los Angeles show car and was purchased new by G. Henry Stetson, son to John Stetson of Stetson hat fame. He sold it in 1951, and the car passed to its current owner in 2006. This Judkins Berline [Read More...]
Henry Martin Leland is the brilliant engineer who founded Cadillac. He was 74 years old when he quit General Motors after a quarrel with Billy Durant. Leland set up a company to produce Liberty engines receiving a $10 million advance contract from th [Read More...]
The 1932 Lincoln KB represents the pinnacle of aesthetic and mechanical achievement for Classic Era Lincolns. The Lincoln K Series was split in 1932 into two lines, the V8-powered Model KA and the new V12-powered Model KB. Built for only two years, t [Read More...]
Sold for $198,000 at 2016 The Finest Automobile Auctions. This 1932 Lincoln KB Judkins Coupe was given a 15 year restoration that was completed in 2009. The car is finished in a Ford dark tan color over black fenders with Brewster green reveals.
Between 1921 and 1939, Judkins produced 5,904 bodies w [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2016
This is the first 1932 Lincoln KB LeBaron Convertible built and was shown at the 1931 Chicago Auto Show. [Read More...]
Murphy Double Cowl Sport Phaeton Coachwork: Murphy
The K-Series is a line of premium luxury vehicles produced by Lincoln from 1930 to 1940. The original K-Series models feature a 385 cubic inch V8 engine. Customers were given the choice of ordering a fully custom coachwork body. [Read More...]
Produced in an effort to prove that he could compete with the best Automobile manufacturers in the world, Henry Ford built the Lincoln. Rivaling the most beautiful vehicles of the Classic Era, this vehicle is a demonstration of the success of his venture.
With a body that built by the Dietrich coach building firm, the elegant Lincoln KB was introduced in 1932. A total of 2,108 units were produced during the one year of the Lincoln KB's production.
With a 145 inch wheelbase, the KB had an amazing production rate of 150 horses, with power being supplied by a massive 448 cubic inch V12. There was also a compression ratio of 5.25 to 1 with seven main bearings. Stunning lines swept the sides of the vehicle along with wire wheels and dual side-mount space tires.
With a relatively short sedan body, the rumble seat allowed drivers to carry passengers in the rear. One could also carry additional baggage on the folding luggage rack that was made by Beals and Selkirk.
The interior of the vehicle was ensconced with only the most elegant and luxurious materials that included quality wool broadcloth, burled hardwoods, the best materials, and the perfect amount of bright work.By Jessica Donaldson
Becoming a vehicle that was known for luxury, the Lincoln underwent a total transformation in 1931. Re-powered, re-styled, and becoming lower-priced, this entire transformation was done under the censorship of Edsel Ford. The Lincoln Model K replaced the Model L, and only a total of forty five models were ever produced.
With an increased horsepower from 90 to 120, the newly added Stromberg carburetor increased the engine with 384.8 cubic inches. With a price significantly lower than any other Lincolns, the Model K 7-passenger Touring vehicle was used primarily as a limousine. Though at $4,400, the model K still cost ten times the amount of a Ford.
The largest updates were contained in the body style. The wheel base was now increased to 145 inches with a longer hood, and rounded bumpers which now gave it a low and sleek profile. Dual trumpet horns and large bowl-shaped head lights now gave the front a stunning look. Utilized mainly as a limousine, sales were less than half of what they were in the late 1920s due to the Depression.
A reflection of the earlier Ford Model K, the Lincoln K-series was a luxury vehicle line that was produced until 1942. A V12 became standard in 1933, while the original K-Series featured a 385 in³ (6.3 L) V8. The option of ordering a fully custom coachwork was available for customers.
Appearing on a new chassis in 1931, the original Model K had a 145 in (3683 mm) wheelbase. Available as a dual cowl model, factory bodies were a 2 or 4-door phaeton. A derivative of the earlier L-series 60° V8, the 384.8 in³ (6.3 L) engine had a dual downdraft Stromberg carburetors, altered timing upped power to 120 hp (89 kW), and higher compression.
Splitting into two lines in 1932, the Lincoln K-series featured the carryover Model KA and the new V12-powered Model KB. The engine output was pushed to 125 hp (93 kW) while the V8 car reverted to a 136 in (3454 mm) wheelbase. Producing 150 hp (112 kW), the KB featured the marque's new V12, 447.9 in³ (7.3 L) 65° L-head unit. These two new lines featured a new grille with less of a surround, and vent doors rather than vertical louvers on the sides of the hood. Both series also featured a parking light on top of each front fender and 18 inch wire wheels.
The Model KA V8 engine was replaced in 1933 with a new 381.7 in³ (6.3 L) V12. The large KB engine shared very few similarities with this new L-head engine. Only a few minor changes that were readily visible occurred on the 1933 K-series. The return of hood louvers and the deletion of the bar linking the headlights were by far the most obvious updates. The chassis was also revised, along with thermostatic shock absorbers and transmission.
In 1934, the V12 engines were replaced by a single 414 in³ (6.8 L) version of the updated model KA V12. The KA and KB nameplates now denoted the wheelbase only. For this year, the only styling updates included the replacement again of the louvers with doors on the side of the hood, and a body-colored grille surround. For 1935, the Lincoln line was trimmed down considerable, as all vehicles where simply referred to as the Model K. Putting focus on the lofty over-$4,000 segment, the marque was attempting to improve profitability, though unfortunately limiting sales in the depression devastated US.
The following year, a more modern Lincoln Zephyr was debuted. Costing much less, the Model K's days were considerably numbered. However, despite its high $4700 price-tag, a 7-passenger Model K limousine was the marque's best-selling model for 1936. A new and improved raked windshield and pressed steel wheels were also part of this years update.
Continuing in production for the next five more years, the Model K unfortunately faced a decrease in sales in comparison to the more modern Zephyr and the new flagship Continental which became more appealing to buyers. Though production was mostly ended with the 1939 model year, one final Model K, the 1942 model was a one-off 'Sunshine Special' convertible limousine that was built especially for President Roosevelt.By Jessica Donaldson
The 38th Concours dElegance of America displayed over 300 of the worlds most spectacular contributions to automotive history. This year, the event paid tribute to many special features inclduing...
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