St. John's

27 July 2013

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Lot 132

1934 Lincoln Model KB Convertible Sedan by Dietrich

  • Chassis no. KB3434

Sold for $275,000


Body Style 281. 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, and four-wheel power-assisted mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 145 in.

  • “Semi-custom” convertible coachwork by Raymond Dietrich
  • One of only 25 built
  • Concours-quality restoration of a long-time California car
  • Formerly owned by Jack Passey and Bill Smith


Streamlining its operation in the face of the Great Depression, Lincoln adopted a single new V-12 for both its smaller KA and top-of-the-line KB models in 1934. Enlarged to 414 cubic inches from the KA engine of the year prior, it rode a cruciform double-drop chassis frame, with the two models distinguished largely by their wheelbases: 136 inches for the KA and 145 for the KB.

The other major difference was in available body styles. The KB, as the “ultimate” Lincoln, could be had as a chassis for custom coachwork, but many coachworks took advantage of the “semi-custom” offerings that were produced for Lincoln by the East Coast’s finest custom coachbuilders and catalogued by the factory. Finished to the specifications of each individual customer order, these bodies offered an unbeatable combination of custom quality, style, and individuality, at a price somewhat lower than a “full custom” body.

Among the most attractive “semi-customs” of 1934 was style number 281, a convertible sedan designed by Raymond Dietrich and built by his imprint of Briggs Manufacturing. A distinctive vee’d windshield and convertible top offered open motoring with a speedboat-like flair, and, even with the top raised, a surprising amount of headroom was available, making a comfortable enclosed limousine for all-weather use.

The history of the car offered here is known back to the 1950s, when it was acquired by legendary Lincoln collector and long-time Pebble Beach Concours judge Jack Passey from a fellow enthusiast in Modesto, California. Passey recalls that when he acquired the Lincoln, it had a tow bar attached to the rear bumper, and he used it to pull home several other “finds” without difficulty. He eventually passed the car to a fellow collector and judge, Bill Smith, at which point it was still original and, as can be seen from its tow duties, in very solid and nicely running condition.

Smith conducted a concours-quality restoration over a three-year period, which ended up being a frame-off process that encompassed the chassis, body, powertrain, upholstery, and top. The bulk of the effort was carried out in his own shop, with engine work by Ellsworth Machine, of Palo Alto, California; paint by Avenue Auto Body, of San Carlos; and upholstery by Bill Debuque, of Cooks Upholstery in Redwood City. Since the Lincoln’s completion in 2010, it has received two First in Class awards at West Coast shows.

Lincoln produced a total of 2,149 cars in the Depression year of 1934, with just 25 of them being KB Dietrich Convertible Sedans. This is certainly one of the nicest.

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

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

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@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more