Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Judkins
G. Henry Stetson, San Fernando, California (purchased new in April 1932)Tom Powels, Los Angeles, California (acquired from the above circa 1953)Current Owner (acquired from the estate of the above in 2007)
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, Pebble Beach, California, August 2013
The high watermark for the Lincoln Motor Company was its entry into the multi-cylinder war, the KB model, introduced for the 1932 model year. During its short two-year production run, just over 2,200 examples were built. While the majority of these 12-cylinder KBs carried production coachwork, cars equipped with custom coachwork, such as the example offered here, are the most desirable.
J.B. Judkins Company of Merrimac, Massachusetts, specialized in closed coachwork, and its Berline design no. 243-A, the Two-Window Berline, incorporated handsome features, including a V’d windshield, enclosed rear quarters, and decorative landau irons. Mated to the KB’s generous 145" wheelbase chassis, it made for a stately conveyance. The interior echoed that understated elegance and featured a division window that allowed for either chauffeur- or owner-driven use. Regardless of who was at the wheel, the rear-seat passengers were guaranteed privacy courtesy of the formal, blind quarter design.
Records show that the Berline was assembled on February 15, 1932, finished in two-tone Bambara brown; the current owner exults in the presentation of this largely original finish today. On April 6, 1932, the car was purchased by G. Henry Stetson, son of hat company founder John B. Stetson, and he kept it for more than 20 years at his Rancho Sombrero estate in San Fernando, California, along with another KB that also featured Judkins coachwork.
Around 1953, the Lincoln passed from Mr. Stetson to its second enthusiastic owner, noted Lincoln authority Tom Powels of Los Angeles. In one of the many articles he wrote, Powels described it as “purchased in perfect condition.” Powels maintained and preserved this amazing KB for more than 50 years. The current owner, noted for collecting original cars, acquired it in 2007 and displayed it in the Preservation Class at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®. During his ownership, the Lincoln has undergone a thorough mechanical servicing by Stephen Babinsky’s Automotive Restorations, making it a delight to drive on the road today.
Offered here is a CCCA Classic that is one of Lincoln’s most desirable models coupled with custom coachwork by Judkins, presented in extremely rare, largely original condition. As the number of significant classics that have been saved in unrestored condition continues to dwindle, it is refreshing to see a car of this era that has never required refurbishment. Three appreciative owners have carefully preserved this example for 83 years, and the opportunity to carry on that tradition now falls to its next owner.