1934 Packard Twelve Convertible SedanSOLD

RM Auction - Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island - March 10, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $400,000 - $500,000

$451,000 Sold

Model 1107. 160bhp, 445 cu. in. side valve V12 engine with Stromberg downdraft carburetion featuring automatic cold start, three-speed synchromesh transmission, shaft drive with hypoid rear axle, and four-wheel adjustable vacuum assisted drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142"

The Depression ushered in an unprecedented era of economic hardship. It also gave birth to the greatest creations of the classic era. Packardís position was unique in that years of market domination had built an unprecedented financial war chest. Although the company was in excellent financial health, Packard was deeply concerned about the devastating effect of the Depression on sales in the fine car segment. Packardís response was to redouble its efforts, meeting the threat from Cadillac and Lincoln head on with the new Twin Six and a range of spectacular custom bodies.

Packardís Twelve was, in many ways, the signature car of the classic era; it was the top of the line offering from Americaís leading manufacturer of fine cars. It was the Brooks Brothers suit of the time: a conservative car with finely tailored lines, elegant appointments, a refined chassis, and a whisper-quiet, twelve-cylinder engine.

In a sense, Packardís Twelve was never meant to be. In fact, the carís history goes back to the Cord L-29 and the great Miller engined front drive racecars. Packardís 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 Ė compared with Packardís venerable inline eight Ė allowed more flexibility in packaging the front drive chassis.

Extensive testing revealed weaknesses in the front drive chassisís design, and anticipated development costs soared. Meanwhile, Cadillac had ignited the multi-cylinder race with their exquisite new sixteen and twelve cylinder models, and Packardís dealerships were feeling the pressure.

The solution, born of necessity, created one of the defining models of the classic era: install the new twelve cylinder engine in Packardís proven Deluxe Eight chassis. The result was christened the Twin Six, in honor of Packardís first V12, introduced more than 15 years earlier.

By 1933, the name had been changed to the Packard Twelve to more clearly convey the power behind the new car. It and the 11th series were the last cars with flowing fenders and classic lines, before the advent of the streamlined look. The front ensemble is truly beautiful, with a graceful vee shaped radiator, and matching headlights and fender lights. And the dash is a work of art, looking more like a jewelerís display case than an instrument panel.

One of the most respected designers of the classic era, Ray Dietrich was also one of the most influential. After stints at Brewster and LeBaron, he formed Dietrich, Inc., where his smart and elegant designs attracted the attention of Packard management; as a result, Packard became one of Dietrichís best customers. Lacking an in-house styling department, Packard incorporated Dietrich design cues in later production cars. In fact, after 1933, all open Packards carried Dietrich body tags.

Convertible sedans were both expensive and popular, as they combined the security and comfort of a closed car with the ability to fully lower the top and windows, and enjoy a true open car. Convertible sedans were also the only open style suitable for formal use when fitted (as in this case) with a fully retractable division window. The result was a chauffeur-driven formal car with division window when the top was up, and a sporty owner-driven open car when it was lowered.

The example offered here has benefited from a thorough and correct restoration, and remains in extraordinary condition throughout. Finished with an attractive cream-colored body accented by a beige belt molding, the exterior of the car is further accented by the use of orange wheels and a matching pinstripe. The interior of the car is equally impressive, with dark tan leather throughout and accented with luxurious wood trimmings.

Well equipped, this impressive Packard is fitted with desirable period options including dual sidemounts and a rear fitted trunk complete with matching luggage.

The 1934 Packard Twelves are considered to be the most desirable of the classic-era vehicles due to their extraordinary driving characteristics and great design attributes. In the world of American Classics, some cars stand out as being among the very best of the best; this is just such a car. Its lines are without fault, and its condition permits it to be shown or driven Ė a rare combination.

Reference Number 7109

as of 2/7/2007

Car 1934 Packard Twelve Convertible Sedan
VIN 902183 
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