alsancle

Lincoln KA/KB

Recommended Posts

I have developed a real affinity for the 32 Lincoln the last few years.  I think a thread devoted to the KA/KB would be interesting.   I believe the fork & blade KB 12 was only available 32 & 33, is that true?

 

He mentioned the body being similar to the Reo Royale Victoria and I agree (although not with the part about the suicide doors on the Royale being awkward).

 

This is on ebay right now.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/181993567761

 

Pictures stink but the car is cool.  I like the rear mounted spare.

 

Ad text below:

 

This listing is for a very rare if not unique unrestored 1932 Lincoln Model KA Victoria 5 passenger coupe. This model is arguably the most beautiful Victoria coupe that the Ford Motor Company ever built. When I bought this car back in the mid 1980's, an expert on early Lincolns such as this told me that only about 165 were originally built and that only 6 were known to still exist at that time. I suspect that perhaps another one may have turned up in the last 30 years or so. At that time 2 of the 6 were restored, 2 were street rods and 2 (including this car) were unrestored. I believe that one of the 2 unrestored cars has since been restored so this most likely is the only one left that has not been restored or made into a street rod. 

 
     The Model KA in 1932 was the last V8 that Lincoln built until the 1949 model year. Lincoln automobile production started in 1921 with the Model L which featured a very quality flat head V8 engine of 358 cubic inch displacement featuring fork and blade connecting rods rated at 81 horse power. Lincoln was soon in receivership and the company was purchased by the Ford Motor Company for 8 million dollars in 1922. The Lincoln automobile was continued with only minor changes and modest power increases for several years. In 1928 the engine displacement was increased to 385 cubic inches and was rated at 90 horse power. In 1931 the Model K with a 145 inch wheelbase replaced the former Model L that had a 136 inch wheelbase. The Model KA with a 136 inch wheelbase replaced the Model K in 1932. It used the same basic engine that was used for 11 years in the Models L and K but a mechanical fuel pump replaced the vacuum tank for fuel delivery in 1932. 
 
     1932 was also the first year of Lincoln production of a V12 powered automobile when the Model KB was introduced on a 145 inch wheelbase. Many parts including the wheels, front axle assembly, most rear axle parts, springs, front fenders, steering gears and lesser items were common to both the Model KA and KB automobiles. 
 
     Murray produce the vast majority of the bodies on the new 1932 Lincoln Model KA automobiles. Those same bodies were used with only minor hardware changes on the Model KA Lincolns built in 1933 and 1934. I also own a 1932 Lincoln Model KA convertible coupe that has external folding landau irons. That body was carried over into 1933 for the Model KA basically unchanged. For 1934 that same convertible coupe body was again on the Model KA but the folding landau irons were hidden inside the top assembly much like the landau irons used on the Ford cabriolets built from 1932 onward.  
 
     I don't know who the man was that styled this car. Edsel Ford no doubt had a hand in it because I don't think Bob Gregorie was working for the Ford styling department yet at that time. As you can see, this gem in the rough looks like a 1932 Ford Victoria that was on steroids. This Lincoln is much longer that the 1932 Ford and has a small integral hump trunk with a functional lid at the back. The Ford Victoria coupes did not have a deck lid until 1934. There is no mistaking how this car and the 1932 Ford Victoria shared the same upper rear roof styling. The Reo Royale Victoria coupe bodies of this vintage were also built by Murray and have identical styling except that the front doors open backwards or are "suicide" doors. The fronts of those doors are vertical rather than slopped so they look rather awkward when they are open.   
 
     The Lincoln listed here is a bit rough in some respects with some rusted sheet metal in the bottom of the doors and the bottom of the front of the rear quarter panels. All of the lower wood body framing will have to be replaced but is good enough for patterns. A previous owner had started to work on this car when he found another 1932 Model KA Victoria coupe that was about half restored. He high graded the welled front fenders and the windshield frame off of this car. That is why the front fenders are painted with red oxide primer and do not match the gray primer on the rest of the car. 
 
     The engine and transmission were missing and he located them and installed them in this car. I believe the engine in this car may have some frozen water jackets but I never filled it with coolant to find out. Both of the the front seats were missing as was the rear spare tire carrier and both of the bumpers. As I recall, he told me he bought the front seats, rear spare tire carrier and the bumpers from someone in Florida who made another 1932 Victoria into a street rod. This car is very complete now except for both of the rear seat cushions and perhaps the sun visors that hung down from the inside of the roof in front of the driver and front seat passenger. I have several boxes of loose parts that I have not yet inventoried.   
 
     I have apologize for the horrible photos of this potentially very beautiful full classic automobile. The last photo of this listing is a scan of the original 1932 Lincoln Model KA sales catalog. That beautiful color artwork is very well done to scale and accurately represents this beautiful class automobile. Many of the paintings of vehicles of this vintage made them look longer or lower but that is not the case with this catalog artwork. 
 
As you might guess from some of these photos, this vehicle is stored in the back of a machine shed on the home ranch located 225 miles from where I live here in Bozeman Montana. Consequently, I can not walk over and look at it or get more photos right away. If this car sells here, the new owner will most likely have to wait until some time in later April to pick it up. My brother has lots of equipment stored in front of this car that will not likely be moved until that time. He will be offering a grain combine for sale soon and when that sells, there is a chance that I can help him move another grain combine so that I can retrieve this car from that building.   
 
     Please check this listing every few days because I will be adding more information as time permits. I have several more detailed photos of this car that I can email to you if you call me with your regular email address. Please do not ask or expect me to email them to you here through the eBay email system. That system drastically reduces the size of the photos and I can only send 5 photos at a time. Thanks a lot, Bob Woodburn - phone 406-799-1847 in Bozeman Montana USA 

post-76712-0-89857400-1453040616_thumb.j

post-76712-0-18170800-1453040627_thumb.j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are correct that the fork and blade V12 was only available as a KB in '32 and 33. My understanding is that the 381.7 cid V-12 introduced in '33 was not at all like the KB, but once bored out to 414 cid in '34 matched the bigger fork and blade version at 150 hp. I'm not enough of an expert to give you the pros and cons of the two different styles of V-12s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. Never knew about the Dietrich sport sedan on the Lincoln chassis. Looks like it's in mid restoration???

There's a very, very nice KB victoria coupe for sale in the latest issue of the CCCA Bulletin.... For about a third of the cost of what it would take to restore the one in your original post. Plus, it's a KB vs a KA.

I have to agree with you. It's an extremely good design. Much, much nicer and classier looking than a general 2-passenger coupe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the car for sale in the CCCA bulletin.  Not the same body (not quite as attractive to me) but a V12.

 

attachicon.gif1933Lincoln_01_700.jpg

Both the person who chose this color and the one who actually did the paintwork should have been beaten with a tire iron.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not surprised A.J. would appreciate the most elegantly-styled sport sedan of all KB Lincolns!  The Model 240 Sport Berline by Dietrich, of which only eight were built, was the one that got away from Packard.  Look closely at the lower body and you'll see its the same as the Packard V-windshield Individual Custom Dietrich bodies.  The victoria-coupe style rear bustle wasn't seen on Packards, though should have been.  Best part is they retained the convertible-style half-door, thin chrome window frames lending a lightness not even seen on the Car of the Dome. The flat windshield was probably done simply to differentiate the style from the Packards.  With its metal roof and lower convertible body structure, if the B-pillar was removable, it would be a nascent four door hardtop decades before they came to the general market.

 

Of the KA Lincoln Victoria coupe, both it and the REO Royale being Murray bodies, they benefitted from the fine aesthetic touch of both Amos Northup and Ray Dietrich.   Ray Dietrich was certainly still with the company when these were being developed, would have had much input in their designs. 

 

Steve

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Of the KA Lincoln Victoria coupe, both it and the REO Royale being Murray bodies, they benefitted from the fine aesthetic touch of both Amos Northup and Ray Dietrich.   Ray Dietrich was certainly still with the company when these were being developed, would have had much input in their designs. 

 

Steve

Probably,  but he was gone by 1931.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi West

 

Does anyone know what date during 1931 Ray Dietrich left after the final set to with Clarence Avery?  Most histories report it was during 1932 at the NYAC that Walter Chrysler offered him a position as body design consultant.   Certainly Ray left dozens of sketches and developed design work that Murray lunched off for another three years plus.   Amos Northup knew well not to heavily rework those as he knew quality work.   He must have been mostly occupied with production car projects at the time.

 

Chrysler body engineering mostly frustrated Dietrich and wasted his talents, and frankly their cars suffered for it.   Too bad WPC didn't back up Dietrich like Alfred Sloan did for Misterl and Edsel Ford did for E.T. Gregorie.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always been confused by the time line with the "Dietrich" bodied cars that Packard sold as catalog customs in 32-34.  Were those mostly Alexis Sakhnoffsky's handy work?  You see "Dietrich" coachwork on Duesenberg, Packard, Franklin and Lincoln at that time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi A.J.

 

It is a murky period in Murray/Dietrich history.  The "Dietrich" nameplate had become a marketing vehicle to lend cache by then, absent the man himself creating the designs.  de Sakhnoffsky's contribution seems have been applying the full-length, over-the-cowl hood then coming into vogue, as Briggs/LeBaron was doing for their customers.   Those "Dietrich" tagged cars after his departure were the company utilizing his fine design-work to sell whatever series customs and the occasional full-custom bodies they could.  

 

Remember, in the end, they even stuck "Dietrich" tags onto the Packard 120 convertible sedans.  My conclusion about that is someone found a box of unused "Dietrich" body tags on a shelf, convinced sales management it would be good for the sale of those expensive models to have a bit of 'custom-body designer' cache added.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Murray was building the "Dietrich" bodies being put on Lincoln but Packard was building the "Dietrich" bodied cars being put on Packard, updating the designs themselves and putting the tags on for marketing purposes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi A.J.

 

By the mid-1920's, mass production body suppliers such as Fisher, Briggs and Murray had noticed the lucrative business that had been developed by small custom body firms and each set about acquiring or developing their own in-house custom body division.  Fisher was fully bought out by GM in 1926, concurrently had acquired control of Fleetwood Metal Body Company.  Not to be outdone by a major competitor, Murrray created Dietrich, Inc., quoting from A Century of Automotive Style, 100 Years of American Car Design, by Michael Lamm and Dave Holls, page 52:

 

"Fast forward now to Feb. 1925.  After selling his interest in LeBaron to Ralph Roberts and leaving New York, Dietrich arrived in Detroit as a 50% partner in Dietrich Inc. The other half was owned by Murray Corp. of America.  Murray, as mentioned, was a major body supplier to Lincoln, Ford, Reo, Hupmobile, Hudson and others."

 

Last to acquire an in-house coach-building arm was Briggs after Walter Briggs approach LeBaron's owner Ralph Roberts et al with a deal in 1927, completed by 1930 when the last remnant of original NYC office closed.  In each case, the parent, production body company set up the custom operation with a separate plant solely for low-volume series and full-custom coach-building.   Custom coachwork was very profitable in the late 1920's but became a serious financial drain with the onset of the Great Depression.  Each folded the coach-building business into the production operations to a greater or lesser degree as those difficult years wore on.   As body building methods evolved from the metal-over-wood composite construction to all-steel by 1940, with its attendant higher cost tool and die-work and necessary higher production volumes to amortize those costs, coach-building operations largely became building lengthened versions or customizing production body shells.

 

Within all this time, in which plants and how much can be identified as full, partial or minor custom coachbuilding is very hard to quantify.  The parent companies generally supported the coachbuilding operations with functional work such as castings, forgings, plating, any basic craft operations that would be prohibitively costly to set up on a low-volume basis.  It would be safe to say that any body with the "Dietrich, Inc." tag came from a plant Murray dedicated to that work.   It would reflect the greater handcrafting and low-volume methods necessary to produce a body of the expected quality, though it might still  contain content shared with volume production bodies.   As even mid'30's production convertible sedans for were generally built in an off-the-main production line operation, like the 120 models, Murray may have felt justified applying the "Dietrich" tags.

 

Steve

Edited by 58L-Y8 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi A.J.

 

Yes, those V-windshield Individual Custom Dietrich bodies were coming from the plant Murray operated for its Dietrich coach-building arm, likely the same one that built the body for your Royale and the three other Packard 845 sport sedans and the eight sport sedan bodies as pictured on the '32 Lincoln KB shown above.  Bodies such as the sedans and victoria coupe on the Lincoln KA and REO Royale were built in the regular Murray production body plants.  The level of handwork wouldn't have been as great, more general production stamping and assembling.  This takes nothing away from these cars, they were built with a very high level of quality.

 

Hugo Pfau, who apprenticed with LeBaron, wrote that at times, to keep the custom coach-building operations busy during slow times, body shells would be built, finished in primer paint and shipped to the carmaker to finish the color coats and interior trim.  It was referred to as "bodies in the white".  He noted that for their LeBaron operation, they would only attach their "LeBaron" coach-builder tag if they had done the complete building, trimming and finishing of the body to their standards.  When Marmon came to Briggs to build bodies for the Sixteen but looking for favorable unit prices, the work was done in the underutilized LeBaron shops "in the white" then shipped to Marmon's Indianapolis plant for painting and interior trimming.  Thus, no "LeBaron" tags were affixed though structurally the body was a LeBaron product.

 

Steve

Edited by 58L-Y8 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Steve.  I did know that about the Marmon bodies and how they would not put their tag on it because they were not doing the finish work.  I did not realize they made 8 of those KB sport sedans.  The silver/gray one is the only pictures I have ever seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hugo Pfau, who apprenticed with LeBaron, wrote that at times, to keep the custom coach-building operations busy during slow times, body shells would be built, finished in primer paint and shipped to the carmaker to finish the color coats and interior trim.  It was referred to as "bodies in the white".  He noted that for their LeBaron operation, they would only attach their "LeBaron" coach-builder tag if they had done the complete building, trimming and finishing of the body to their standards.

 

I'm curious if this was true as late as '38, re reserving the LeBaron tag for cars finished by Lebaron.  My car has a LeBaron tag but I had assumed Lincoln did the paint and interior.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi CBoz

 

By the time your '38 LeBaron was built, call it late custom body era, Briggs/LeBaron was pretty relaxed about how much of the total content was added in whose plant.  Edsel Ford was one of their best customers, if he wanted the finish and trim in his Lincoln plant to keep it busy with that work, no doubt Briggs/LeBaron was happy to comply.   Every year as they watched the diminishing demand for the large cars we call 'Classics" unfold, many adjustment in the way they did business had to be made to serve a shrinking market.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure of the timeline, but was Locke still building bodies for Lincoln in 1932? Or were they an earlier victim of the Great Depression?

 

And how about Willoughby? Or was it to early for them?  I liked both their designs for Lincoln.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now