1934 Packard Twelve 5-Passenger PhaetonSOLD
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Estimate: $250,000-$300,000 US

Sold: $211,750

Model 1107. 160hp, 445 cu. in. side valve V12 engine, three-speed synchromesh transmission, Bijur chassis lubrication, front suspension via semi-elliptical leaf springs and beam axle, rear suspension via semi-elliptical leaf springs and live axle, and four-wheel adjustable vacuum-assisted brakes. Wheelbase: 142"

Packard’s Twelve was, in many ways, the signature car of the Classic Era; it was the top of the line offering from America’s leading manufacturer of fine cars. In a sense, however, it was never meant to be. In fact, its history is directly related to the Cord L-29 and the great Miller-engined front drive race cars. Packard’s management was intrigued with the idea of front drive, and commissioned the construction of a prototype. A decision was made to develop a twelve cylinder engine for this new car, as the shorter length of a V12 – compared with Packard’s inline eight – allowed more flexibility in packaging the front drive chassis.

Extensive testing revealed weaknesses in the front drive chassis’ design, and anticipated development costs soared. Meanwhile, Cadillac had ignited the multi-cylinder race with their exquisite new sixteen- and twelve-cylinder models, and Packard’s dealerships were feeling the pressure. The solution, born of necessity, created one of the defining cars of the Classic Era: install the new twelve-cylinder engine in Packard’s proven Deluxe Eight chassis. The result was christened the Twin Six.

By 1933, the name had been changed to the Packard Twelve to more clearly convey the power behind the new car. Further refinements in the short tenth series (1933) production run led to the eleventh series, the car most often considered to be the ultimate Twelve. It was the last car with the classic lines before the advent of the streamlined look. The front ensemble is beautiful, with a graceful vee-shaped radiator and matching headlights and fender lights.

The example offered here – an original Earl C. Anthony California car – is quite well known. It is believed the car may have been delivered new to Columbia Pictures before later being acquired by the H.J. Heinz company, although this has not been proven conclusively to date. Mr. George Pretrusich of Sedona, Arizona subsequently purchased the car and contracted noted restorers Hill and Vaughn to complete a comprehensive body-off restoration. As the car was originally delivered in eight-cylinder form, he elected to upgrade the car’s specification to the more desirable twelve cylinder. Thanks to Phil Hill’s expertise, the conversion was done to exceptional standards, making the car indistinguishable today from an original Packard Twelve.

Upon completion in 1978, the car was awarded First Place at the Pebble Beach, Walnut Creek, Santa Barbara and Silverstone concours events before being sold to a prominent Japanese collection for a record-setting sum. The previous owner acquired the car shortly after its return from Japan. A knowledgeable collector, he maintained, showed and drove the car for several years, improving it with a new top, re-porcelainized exhaust manifolds, chromed wire wheels and paint work. Thereafter, the car was awarded its AACA First Junior at the Fall Meet in 1998 before securing its First Senior award in 2000. Another CCCA badge on the car attests to its “Grand Classic Award both Primary and Senior”.

The vendor acquired the car in 2001 and has since commissioned an additional $15,000 of work, which was primarily mechanical in nature. Elegant, stately and remarkably quiet, it is by all accounts a fabulous running and driving example, thanks in large part to the careful maintenance conducted by the marque specialists as the Gilmore Car Museum in Michigan, where this car has been housed since its acquisition by the current owner. With excellent provenance, a pedigreed original restoration and continuous, expert maintenance it is certainly a wonderful example of Packard’s legendary Twelve.

Reference Number 37191

as of 1/17/2009

Car 1934 Packard Twelve 5-Passenger Phaeton
VIN 901901 
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