Lincoln KB Convertible Sedan
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
Just prior to the Great Depression really taking hold, Lincoln
were locked in battle, manufacturing outstanding limousines of a quality arguably beyond compare anywhere in the world.
For a time the Lincoln was considered the "lesser" vehicle, even if the difference was very little. However in late 1931 Lincoln announced their own plans for a V12, designated the KB, to compete with the high standards set by the competition. At the direction of Edsel Ford, Lincoln chief engineer, Frank Johnson, came up with one of the greatest powerplants of the classic era.
The KB's impressive 448ci. (7.2 litre) engine developed a conservative 150bhp at 3,400rpm with a peak torque of 2,92lbs/ft at 1,200rpm. The KB was the last Lincoln to use the traditional fork and blade connecting rod design. This method allowed one rod to straddle its opposite rod at the crankshaft creating perfectly opposed rather than staggered cylinders.
Bodies By LeBaron, Willoughby, Judkins, Dietrich and Waterhouse
Custom coachbuilders were invited to work their magic on this platform to create vehicles that met the customer's demands and wishes, and in all there were sixteen different body styles designed by the top coachbuilding firms of the period, such as LeBaron, Willoughby, Judkins and of course Dietrich.
One of those artisans was Waterhouse, who enjoyed a lifespan of just six years, and clothed approximately 300 chassis for DuPont, Packard, Chrysler, Marmon, Pierce-Arrow, Stutz and Lincoln, among others. The Waterhouse bodied Convertible Victoria was based on a design of Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky for Belgian coachbuilder Van den Plas.
Waterhouse's main designer, George Weaver, refined and improved the design. The most distinct improvement was the way the large soft top folded completely into the body. There were a mere 10 examples of the Waterhouse Convertible Victoria created on the Lincoln KB chassis. One was brought to the 1932 New York Auto Salon, where it wore colors of light tan and light green with a tan leather interior.
In reference to the body styles that Lincoln offered, the sales literature stated that "The rich conservativeness of Lincoln body design does not become antiquated...because Lincoln does not heed the passing fancies in motorcar appearance...Lincoln lines are as smart and richly distinctive with the passing years as those of a colonial mansion, a fine piece of Sheffield silver or a graceful, well-built piece of drawing room furniture.
Raymond Dietrich was (and still is) regarded by many to have created the finest, most striking custom body designs of this era. The raked vee windshield and suicide doors seen on the KB were signature Dietrich features. The wonderful advantage that this body style offered was incredible versatility. Being completely convertible, the sedan could be transformed into a formal chauffeur-driven car, with a closed rear compartment, by winding up the divider window that was recessed into the back of the front seat. It could also be used as a sedan for informal family use, or a sporting open car for fair weather driving. Although it was a famous design, a mere 20 Dietrich Convertible Sedans were built on the 1932 KB chassis, which is widely regarded as the most desirable of the KB series.
The KB Lincoln soon garnered a tremendous reputation as a wonderful drivers car with a tremendous amout of torque, riding on a 145-inch wheelbase, it was able to reach a top speed of 100 mph. Pictured below is a 1933 Lincoln Dietrich Convertible Sedan, and our thanks to David Paine for supplying the image...