Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Dietrich
Norman Griswold, Ripon, California (acquired in 1950s)Jack Passey, Freedom, California (acquired from the above in mid-1950s)Bill Smith (acquired from the above)Ken Daniel, Los Altos Hills, California (acquired in 2004)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
This wonderful Lincoln KB from 1934 features what Classic Era enthusiasts consider one of the most attractive and versatile coachbuilt bodies ever offered on the Lincoln KB chassis – the handsome Convertible Sedan by Dietrich. As one of just 744 Series 270 KB chassis produced for the 1934 model year, this KB is even more rare as it is believed that it is one of only 25 convertible sedans with the Dietrich body type 281 produced that year. Befitting its range-topping stature, it carried a commanding price of $5,600 when new, at a time when a nice new popular-priced family car cost hardly more than $600. Today, only a handful are known to survive, with knowledgeable estimates suggesting as few as four examples remaining.
While Lincoln styling for 1934 differed little from the previous model year, it was subtly refined with the move to body-colored radiator shells, while the hood’s new cooling shutters replaced the prior louvered treatment. Smaller headlamps provided further refinement, while the fashionably raked and split windscreen, rear-hinged front doors, and folding B-pillars of this convertible sedan stand as emblematic features of Dietrich’s inspired designs. This Lincoln remains immensely practical, simultaneously offering top-down touring capabilities and secure protection from the elements. In addition, the convertible sedan can be converted into a formal chauffeur-driven car, courtesy of the roll-up division window neatly recessed into the front seatback. Characteristically, the Dietrich Convertible Sedan body on the KB chassis remains famous for uncanny rigidity and structural strength with an impressive vault-like solidity.
This rare KB’s history traces back to the mid-1950s, when legendary Lincoln expert Jack Passey purchased it from Norman Griswold in California. Making good use of the tow bar that was already attached to the Lincoln, he used it over the next several years to tow numerous other treasures home to his workshop in Freedom, California. Later, Mr. Passey sold the convertible sedan to his friend Bill Smith, who kept and maintained it for many years. The Lincoln next passed to Kenneth Daniel in Northern California, who commissioned a comprehensive restoration utilizing the talents of many of the San Francisco Bay Area’s finest automotive artisans. Palo Alto’s Ellsworth Machine performed the engine work, Avenue Auto Body in San Carlos handled paint and cosmetics, and the highly regarded Cook’s Upholstery expertly trimmed the interior.
In recent years, the KB has been part of one of the world’s premiere private collections, where it has continued to receive expert care. This rare, beautiful, and versatile CCCA Full Classic represents a fine entry into the world of prewar motoring.