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 It had been replaced by a conventional design that was more cost effective.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

Vehicle Profiles

Coupe
Coachwork: Dietrich

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,....[continue reading]

Coupe
Designer: Judkins Company of Amesbury

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....[continue reading]

Berline Two-Window
Designer: Judkins Company of Amesbury

Chassis Num: KB1644
Engine Num: KB1644

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....[continue reading]

LeBaron Convertible Roadster
Designer: LeBaron

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 ....[continue reading]

Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse
Coachwork: Waterhouse

Chassis Num: KB9
Engine Num: KB9

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....[continue reading]

Dual Windshield Phaeton
Coachwork: Brunn

Chassis Num: KB1367
Engine Num: KB1367

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....[continue reading]

Berline Two-Window
Designer: Judkins Company of Amesbury

Chassis Num: KB998

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....[continue reading]

Sport Phaeton

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....[continue reading]

Berline Two-Window
Designer: Judkins Company of Amesbury

Chassis Num: KB1303

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....[continue reading]

Convertible Roadster
Designer: LeBaron

Chassis Num: KB47
Engine Num: KB47

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....[continue reading]

Berline
Coachwork: Judkins

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....[continue reading]

Sport Touring
Designer: LeBaron

Chassis Num: KB933

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. ....[continue reading]

Coupe
Coachwork: Dietrich

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....[continue reading]

Coupe
Designer: Judkins Company of Amesbury

Engine Num: KB473

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....[continue reading]

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Dietrich

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....[continue reading]

Murphy Sport Roadster
Coachwork: Murphy

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....[continue reading]

Berline
Coachwork: Judkins

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 ....[continue reading]

Convertible Roadster
Designer: LeBaron

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....[continue reading]

Convertible Roadster
Designer: LeBaron

Chassis Num: KB 173

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....[continue reading]

Coupe
Coachwork: Judkins

Chassis Num: KB 1635
Engine Num: KB 1635

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....[continue reading]

Convertible Roadster
Designer: LeBaron

This is the first 1932 Lincoln KB LeBaron Convertible built and was shown at the 1931 Chicago Auto Show.....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

Coupe by Dietrich
 
Coupe
 
Berline Two-Window
Chassis #: KB1644 
LeBaron Convertible Roadster
 
Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse by Waterhouse
Chassis #: KB9 
Dual Windshield Phaeton by Brunn
Chassis #: KB1367 
Berline Two-Window
Chassis #: KB998 
Sport Phaeton
 
Berline Two-Window
Chassis #: KB1303 
Convertible Roadster
Chassis #: KB47 
Berline by Judkins
 
Sport Touring
Chassis #: KB933 
Coupe by Dietrich
 
Coupe
 
Convertible Sedan by Dietrich
 
Murphy Sport Roadster by Murphy
 
Berline by Judkins
 
Convertible Roadster
 
Convertible Roadster
Chassis #: KB 173 
Coupe by Judkins
Chassis #: KB 1635 
Convertible Roadster
 
Murphy Double Cowl Sport Phaeton by Murphy
 

History

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
 
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