Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Dietrich
Norman Griswold, Ripon, California (acquired in the 1950s)Jack Passey, Freedom, California (acquired from the above, mid-1950s)Bill Smith (acquired from the above)Ken Daniel, Los Altos Hills, California (acquired in 2004)Private Collection, California (acquired in 2013)Chris Cord, Idaho (acquired from the above)
This wonderful Lincoln KB from 1934 features what many 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, it is even more rare as one of only 25 Dietrich body type 281 Convertible Sedans 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 few are known to survive, with knowledgeable estimates suggesting as few as three or four examples remaining.
Lincoln subtly refined its styling for 1934 with a switch to body-colored radiator shells, while the hood’s new cooling shutters replaced the prior louvered treatment. Smaller headlamps provided further refinement. The fashionably raked and split windscreen, “suicide”-style rear-hinged front doors, and folding B-pillars of this Convertible Sedan are emblematic features of Dietrich’s inspired designs, and this Lincoln remains immensely practical, simultaneously offering top-down touring capabilities and secure protection from the elements. In addition, the convertible sedan can be transformed into a formal chauffeur-driven car, courtesy of the roll-up division window neatly recessed into the front seatback. 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’s Central Valley. 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 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.
Following its tenure in an important West Coast collection, the Lincoln passed to lifelong enthusiast Chris Cord, who has treated the KB to a freshly trimmed black canvas top, adding to its already imposing presence. This rare, beautiful, and versatile CCCA Full Classic represents a fine entrée to the world of prewar motoring.