1934 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria by DietrichSOLD
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Estimate: $350,000-$500,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $577,500

Model 1107. 160 hp, 445 cu. in., side-valve V12 engine with Stromberg downdraft carburetor featuring automatic cold-start, three-speed synchromesh transmission with reverse, shaft drive with hypoid rear axle and four wheel adjustable vacuum assisted brakes.
Wheelbase: 142.5"

By late summer 1933 it appeared - to the Packard Motor Car Company at least - that the worst of the Great Depression was over and that full economic recovery was just around the corner. In reality, there was still some distance to go before people could start singing “Sunny Days are Here Again”, but the country was pulling together. In the previous three years the leader in fine automobiles had felt the pain all too well. Deciding that 1934 would be the turning point, Packard fielded a total of 55 different models in the three basic series, featuring a few new designs and several carry-overs.

While the majority of the 1934, or 11th Series, cars were either in the Standard Eight or Super Eight lines, it was the Twelve topped the line. Even to this day it is considered by many to be the smoothest running engine ever produced. Oddly enough, its very existence was due to competitor E. L. Cord.

When his Front Drive models were unveiled in 1929, the leaders at Packard were intrigued with this new design and set about to develop their own front-wheel drive car. At the time, Packard’s straight-eight was one of the industry’s leading performers in terms of horsepower and dependability, but it was decided that a V12 would appeal to a more affluent market. From an engineering standpoint, it was a physically shorter block, which allowed for a more compact fit under the hood and subsequently provided ample room for a forward mounted transaxle. While the idea of a front-drive Packard was eventually placed on the shelf, the prototype engine turned out to be a masterpiece.

With the advent of Cadillac’s multi-cylinder cars - first with the V16 in 1930 and a year later with their V12, plus the rumors of a V16 from Marmon as well as twelves from Auburn and Lincoln, Packard knew that to keep up they needed more cylinders, too.

With 446 cubic inches, it was conservatively rated at 160 bhp. While this was neither the largest engine nor the most powerful in the industry, everyone had to agree that it was certainly one of the smoothest running engines in any car, in America or abroad. Even today, owners of these magnificent engines love to demonstrate this vibrationless feature by balancing a nickel on its side while running at idle.

Few people will argue that one of the classic era’s most attractive body styles was the Convertible Victoria. For Packard’s catalog version of this style, a design was chosen that featured Dietrich touches, while incorporating the elegant blind quarter top and dropped belt line pioneered by Waterhouse. Although a production body, its Dietrich influence was acknowledged in the coachbuilder’s plate mounted on each car. It was one of the more expensive models, at a healthy $4,590. However, the Great Depression wasn’t loosening its grips on the American economy, resulting in very slow sales for this stunningly attractive car.

Marketed as being built for five-passengers, the Convertible Victoria was perfect for touring, featuring a built-in rear trunk, along with a fold-down rack at the rear designed to carry an extra trunk along for extended trips. With the top up, rear seat passengers were shielded from prying eyes.

The McMullen Collection car – body #47 - has been treated to a full professional restoration by Packard enthusiast Gerald Greenfield. Shown at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, it was judged 100 points and awarded a First in Class. Acquired by the McMullen Collection in 1998, it was judged First in Class at the Meadow Brook Concours as well as being awarded National Junior and Senior Awards by the Classic Car Club of America.

This beautiful car has been driven only testing and show field miles, with the odometer showing less than 30 miles since its completion. Finished in a gleaming black, accented with silver highlights and pinstriped in a very subtle dark royal blue, the interior is fitted with supple dove gray leather seats with matching door and side panels, and a black Haartz cloth top. Expert care in the fit and finish of the exterior body panels is evident with door and hood fit being perfectly aligned.

The most impressive aspect of this car’s restoration is the near silence with which the mighty V12 operates: only the whisper of the cooling fan cutting through the air can be heard. Detailed to the highest degree of concours quality, the chassis and suspension invite close inspection. Accessories include a Lalique crystal “Eagle’s Head” radiator mascot, and a single, center mounted Pilot Ray driving light, polished chrome wire wheels, and a rare trunk rack mounted chrome bumper.

Packard Twelves have been quickly appreciating in value as come to appreciate the quality and performance they deliver. Combined with handsome styling and advanced engineering, Packards lead the industry, making it clear why the company’s motto was simply “Ask the Man Who Owns One”.

Reference Number 8708

as of 4/18/2007

Car 1934 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria by Dietrich
VIN 747-47..  
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