Sports & Classics of Monterey

12-14 August 2010


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Lot 138

1933 Lincoln KB Custom Dietrich Convertible Sedan

  • Chassis no. KB2259

Sold for $385,000

Body Style 261. 150 bhp, 447.9 cu. in. L-head V12 engine, Stromberg two-barrel carburetor, three-speed sliding gear manual transmission, solid front axle, full-floating rear axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear, and four-wheel, power-assisted Bendix Duo-Servo mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 145"

- One of just 15 Dietrich Convertible Sedans produced

- One of only 533 KB chassis built for 1933

- A First in Class winner at Pebble Beach

- A striking, multiple award-winning restoration by Rick Kris

With the introduction of Cadillac’s V16 in 1930 and the V12 in 1931, followed by the Pierce-Arrow V12 in 1931 and both Marmon’s Sixteen and Packard’s all-new Twin Six in 1932, the multi-cylinder race was on with a vengeance despite the worsening Great Depression. As a result, any manufacturer wishing to compete seriously in the American fine car segment needed to field such a car. Henry Leland had founded Lincoln on the premise of building a car without compromise, and true to this unwavering philosophy, Lincolns had always been well built – some would say overbuilt, in fact.

The debut of Lincoln’s all-new V12, therefore, came as no surprise in 1932. Neither did the quality of its engineering; with its seven main bearings, fork-and-blade connecting rods and separate cylinder blocks, the new engine was certainly an engineering tour de force. The only problem with it was the prohibitive cost of manufacture – it was in fact so expensive to build that it was replaced in just two years by a more conventional design, making 1933 the last year for the ultimate Lincoln of the Classic Era. The result is that among collectors today, the 1932 and 1933 KB Lincolns have achieved legendary, if not mythical, status. Although similar under the skin, the 1933 Lincolns featured updated styling with more attractively skirted fenders, a new V-shaped radiator shell and a host of detail updates.

Driven by Edsel Ford, Lincoln was unwavering in its commitment to the concept of the custom-coachbuilt car. As a result, the quality of the Lincoln KB chassis was unparalleled and specifically designed to receive a wide range of handsome and luxurious bespoke coachwork. Although a line of factory-standard sedans was also offered, each year new designs were solicited from the custom coachbuilders and design houses for the KB, and these renderings were used to produce legendarily rich, high-quality sales catalogs for Lincoln dealers.

Although they could be – and often were – highly customized and built to specific customer order, Lincoln also placed lot orders for good designs, sometimes as many as 50 bodies at a time. While these cars could certainly be finished and trimmed to the customer’s individual specifications, the bodies themselves were built in advance. This practice cleverly shortened the delivery schedule while still maintaining the impeccable quality and exclusivity of the true coachbuilt automobile – and created the term “catalog customs.” The leading American custom coachbuilders of the day all participated in the program, including Judkins, Waterhouse, Murphy, Brunn, Dietrich, Willoughby and LeBaron.

The example offered here features what many consider one of the most attractive and functional of the coachbuilt bodies ever offered on the majestic 1933 Lincoln KB chassis – the handsome Convertible Sedan by Dietrich. As one of just 533 KB chassis produced for the 1933-model year, it is even rarer, being one of only 15 Dietrich Convertible Sedans made that year. Only an estimated six examples survive. Its fashionably raked, V-shaped windscreen and “suicide”-style doors are emblematic of Dietrich’s inspired designs. Its open coachwork is also immensely practical, simultaneously offering top-down touring capabilities and secure protection from the elements. In addition, it can be converted into a formal chauffeur-driven car, courtesy of the roll-up division window that is neatly recessed into the front seatback.

In the mid-1970s, the KB joined the noted Rosenblatt collection after a lengthy search for a correct and authentic example of the model. At the time, the car was in very good condition, and soon thereafter, it was featured in Automobile Quarterly. Under Mr. Rosenblatt’s care, the KB was enjoyed for many years, and then in the 1980s, he commissioned the noted Lincoln marque specialist Rick Kris to perform a complete cosmetic restoration to concours-level standards, while David Polson of Autowerkes performed the mechanical restoration. No expense was spared in the process. A string of awards followed, with the KB taking First in Class at Pebble Beach, as well as winning Junior and Senior awards from both the AACA and CCCA, along with the prestigious James Melton Cup from the AACA.

Following the death of Mr. Rosenblatt, the Lincoln was sold through Christie’s to a new owner, who used the car only sparingly and in turn sold it approximately one year later. It was then acquired by noted collector Don Williams, who in turn sold it at Hershey, Pennsylvania. Next, Georgia-based collector Milton Robson acquired the multiple award-winning Lincoln and retained it until 2007, when it was sold to the current owner.

As offered today, the Lincoln is quite remarkable in its overall presentation, and despite the age of its restoration, it remains indicative of an older, high-quality restoration that was performed to exacting, show-winning standards.

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

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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

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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

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

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Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

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

Don Rose

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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

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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

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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

Jake Auerbach

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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

Kurt Forry

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Ontario, Canada

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

Shelby Myers

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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

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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