16 August 1998
1932 LINCOLN KB COUPE
COACHWORK BY DIETRICH
Chassis No. KB 1489
Engine: V12, 448ci, 150bhp at 3,400rpm; Gearbox: 3-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs, front and rear; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
Henry Matlyn Leland, a distinguished looking gentleman at seventy-four, set up a company with his son to manufacture the Liberty engine for the war effort in 1917. Mr. Leland was a staunch Republican and named the company after President Abraham Lincoln. After the war, engulfed in debt, the Lelands reorganized and renamed the company the Lincoln Motor Company of Delaware and launched into the production of automobiles. They delivered their first automobile on September 16, 1920, to the delight and enthusiasm of potential customers.
Leland's insistence on adhering to the highest quality sunk Lincoln deeper and deeper into debt. In 1922, Lincoln ownership passed to Henry Ford for eight million dollars. Ford executives swept over the Lincoln company, instituting money-saving methods and Ford volume production experience. The situation was immediately intolerable for the Lelands who resigned only four months after the transition. Quality was not compromised however, and wise business practices dramatically reduced production costs. The Lincoln Motor Company was well on the way to the top of the line.
Everyone who was anyone in coachwork became involved with Lincoln. Raymond Dietrich is renowned for creating some of the highest quality and most striking designs of the period. The Dietrich KB coupe with the vee windshield and suicide doors displays these beautiful signature Dietrich features and the coachwork is virtually identical to ones produced for custom Dietrich Packards.
This Lincoln is well known in Southern California car collector circles as Marie Graver's car. The Gravers were active in Classic Car Club activities and frequently drove this KB on caravans. Prior to their ownership, the KB was restored by Lincoln specialist Andy Hotten. It is believed that only seven KB Dietrich coupes were originally produced - one for each of the National Auto Shows in 1932. Only two other examples are known to exist. The KB chassis is widely regarded as the finest of the classic era Lincolns, with 1932 being the pinnacle year in styling. This highly desirable and rare custom-bodied Lincoln is accepted as a Full Chassis by the Classic Car Club of America and is therefore eligible for many of the club sponsored activities.
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