Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Dietrich
Carl Schilling, San Francisco, California (acquired circa 1949)Toni Porta, San Francisco, California (acquired from the above in 1954)Jim Weston, San Francisco, California (acquired from the above 1968)Gerald Greenfield, Sumner, Washington (acquired from the above in 2003)Glenn Mounger, Bainbridge Island, Washington (acquired from the above circa 2006)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
West Coast Car Show, Los Angeles, 1932Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, August 1973 (3rd in Class)CCCA Pacifc Northwest Grand Classic, 2004 (96 Points)Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, August 2012 (2nd in Class, The Lincoln Trophy)AACA National Meet, Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 2012 (National First Prize)Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, March 2013AACA National Meet, Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 2012 (First Preservation Trophy)
In February 1922, Lincoln became the flagship of Ford’s automotive empire, its fortunes entrusted largely to Henry Ford’s son Edsel. Lincoln’s sales were never immense, but its prestigious image was an asset, particularly after Edsel’s fine eye for design had its way with the rather staid styling themes Henry Leland had imposed on his cars.
Lincoln had included expensive custom bodies in its catalogues almost from the beginning, Brunn and Judkins being the most numerous. However, with the introduction of the KB, Lincolns became even more attractive, as the great houses of Murphy and Dietrich began to work their magic on the firm’s top-of-the-line offerings. Dietrich, perhaps the most famous name in American coachbuilding, offered several custom body styles for the KB chassis; and, today, these handsome cars are regarded among the most desirable of all Classic Era Lincolns.
Arguably the most elegant Dietrich-bodied KB was the Custom Stationary Coupe, of which only 17 examples were built – 12 fashioned with a rumble seat and the remaining five with a trunk. These splendid cars – with three known survivors today – possess Dietrich’s trademark attention to detail, exceptional build quality, a dramatically split and raked V’d windscreen, and are masterpieces of the coachbuilder’s art.
It is believed that four or fve of these Dietrich Coupes were finished in Seagate Blue and prepared for display at the major auto salons in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. This Lincoln Coupe, KB 816, is understood to have originally served as Dietrich’s show car for the 1932 West Coast Car Show held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
The original owner of the Dietrich Coupe is unknown; however; in summer 1934, the KB was wholesaled to a used car dealer in San Francisco. This dealer had a specific niche in the used car market, buying lightly used luxury cars from the Los Angeles area and selling them to more conservative San Francisco buyers who were more inclined to buy a two-year-old car at a discount than to compete for the latest offering. From there, the car was sold to a Swedish gentleman living in San Francisco, who is said to have retained it until 1948 or 1949.
Around this time, the Lincoln was sold to Carl Schilling of the well-known Schilling Tea and Spice family. Following WWII, Schilling combed the Bay Area’s used car lots and wrecking yards, acquiring five or six custom bodied Lincolns and an impressive cache of spare parts along the way. During his ownership, Schilling slowly brought the Dietrich Coupe back to its former splendor, removed some dings, and installed an engine from a low-mileage 1933 KB.
Eventually, Shilling met Toni Porta, a reclusive San Francisco trash collector who admired custom-bodied Lincoln KBs, believing them to be the finest automobiles ever made. The two became fast friends and even shared the same storage warehouse, as garages in San Francisco’s residential areas were expensive and hard to come by. In 1954, Shilling passed away, leaving his collection of cars and parts to Porta. Over the next decade, Porta continued to maintain his impressive stable of coachbuilt Lincolns, starting them periodically and running them until warm but rarely ever driving them.
In 1968, Jim Weston, a fellow Bay Area collector, purchased the Dietrich Coupe and subsequently performed a restoration, debuting the Lincoln at Pebble Beach in 1973. During Mr. Weston’s ownership, the KB Coupe was a regular sight at CCCA Northern California region events and was among a small gathering of Dietrich-bodied classics present when Ray Dietrich gave a presentation to the club in fall 1972.
In 2003, Gerald Greenfield of Sumner, Washington, made a deal with Mr. Weston to buy the Dietrich Coupe, a car he believed to be the “most classic” of all Lincolns. After some time in Mr. Greenfield’s collection, the Lincoln was sold to Glenn Mounger, a respected collector and former chairman of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Mr. Mounger retained the car for several years, enjoying it on local CCCA events, before selling it to the current owner, an East Coast collector with a stable of outstanding classics.
Soon after acquiring the Dietrich Coupe, the current owner commissioned noted Classic Era specialist Stephen Babinsky of Lebanon, New Jersey, to perform a complete, concours-quality restoration of this most deserving car. During the disassembly process, sections of the original paint and upholstery material were discovered, resulting in a presentation that is authentic and exacting in every respect. The invoices for the work performed are included with the sale of the car and provide an insight into the incredible attention to detail that characterized this exceptional restoration.
In August 2012, the exquisite Dietrich Coupe made its post-restoration debut at the world famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where its outstanding presentation earned it a Second in Class award as well as the Lincoln Trophy, a special award presented by Edsel B. Ford II to the most significant Lincoln present.
Since its debut at Pebble Beach, the Lincoln has been selectively displayed and has continued to earn many prizes, including AACA First National and Preservation awards at the Hershey Fall Meet. Also a testament to its outstanding restoration and timeless elegance, the Dietrich Coupe was nominated by the AACA National Awards Committee as an outstanding vehicle in the 2013 show year.
With a fascinating West Coast provenance, an unrivaled award-winning restoration, and unmatched presence, this elegant Lincoln KB is among the finest examples of a Dietrich-bodied classic, and we are proud to offer it for public sale for the first time in its history.