1913 Packard Model 1-38 RoadsterSOLD
See all the Images for this Car
Estimate: $250,000-$350,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $517,000

60bhp, 415 cu. in. L-head six-cylinder engine, rear-mounted three-speed transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 115"

James Ward Packard purchased a car from pioneer manufacturer Alexander Winton in 1898. However, he found several shortcomings in his new car and let Mr. Winton know about them. Winton, however, felt that his car was the epitome of perfection and told Mr. Packard that if he wanted his ideas incorporated in an automobile he should build it himself.

By November 1899, with the help of his brother and two former Winton employees, Packard had done just that. Four further cars were built that year, and 47 of a “Model B” in 1900, under the auspices of the New York and Ohio Company, a subsidiary of the brothers’ Packard Electric Company, which manufactured transformers and electric lighting equipment. The cars were fairly conventional for the time, runabouts with a single-cylinder engine under the seat, two-speed planetary transmission and chain drive. Novel for the period, though, was an automatic spark advance.

On 10 September 1900, the brothers formed the Ohio Automobile Company in their hometown of Warren, Ohio. Finding their customers satisfied, they adopted the slogan “Ask the Man Who Owns One.” Men owning one included William Rockefeller and wealthy Detroit businessman Henry B. Joy, the latter buying large quantities of stock in the company. Joy subscribed the entire issue of 2,500 shares in 1902, at which time the firm became the Packard Motor Car Company. A year later, it moved to Detroit, where a huge modern concrete factory, designed by industrial architect Albert Kahn, was being built.

Two and four-cylinder cars were built from 1902, but it was a single-cylinder car that bettered Winton’s coast-to-coast record in 1903, driver Tom Fetch carving two days off the record in “Old Pacific”. Other Packard competition included the Vanderbilt Cup races and sand racing at Ormond Beach in Florida, where chief engineer Charles Schmidt set a world record in January 1904. With the launch of the Model Thirty in 1907, Packard became a well-established builder of luxury cars, comprising, with Peerless and Pierce-Arrow, the “Three Ps” of prestige American automobile manufacturing. Packard was the only member of the Three Ps to survive the Depression, but only because it diversified into medium-priced cars. Still, Packard continued to lead the American luxury segment after World War II, and was outsold by Cadillac only once before 1950.

Packard’s first six, a massive 525 cubic inch T-head designated Model 1-48, debuted in April 1911. In December 1912, a smaller six, the Model 1-38, was introduced. An L-head design with cylinders cast in pairs, it displaced 415 cubic inches, had seven main bearings and developed 60 bhp. The 1-38 was the first Packard car to have left-hand drive and electric starting, the latter from a Delco starter-generator of the type developed by Charles Kettering.

A notable feature of the electrical system was a control unit attached to the steering column. The brainchild of chief engineer Jesse Vincent, who would later design the Twin Six engine and Liberty aircraft engine, the unit had switches for the ignition, lights and horn, an ignition lock and mixture control for the carburetor. This placed most controls within easy reach of the driver, leaving the instrument panel free for instruments alone, save for a carburetor primer needed for starting.

Selling for $4,050 to $5,400, it was about $1,000 cheaper than the larger car, and a few hundred less expensive than the comparable models of Peerless and Pierce-Arrow. Most 1-38s were on a 134-inch wheelbase, with phaeton and brougham styles on a 138-inch chassis. The runabout, however, was built on a jaunty 115.5-inch frame shared with the coupe, and measured nearly two feet shorter than the big cars. The result was a nimble automobile with spirited performance. More than 1,600 were built in 1913 and nearly 700 the following year. So successful was the 1-38 that four-cylinder cars were dropped entirely.

John McMullen purchased this Packard 1-38 Runabout from Cornelius “Konnie” Kuiper, a Chicago funeral director, in 1997. Restored by Tim Olendorf prior to sale, it was repainted by noted award winning restorer, Mr. Brian Joseph, Inc. for Mr. McMullen in a proper red with white pin striping. Front seats are red leather and the rear “mother-in-law seat” is upholstered in matching red vinyl. The top is black canvas, with brass hardware and a deep red lining, and the twin rear-mounted spare tires have a black canvas cover. The wood steering wheel has been refinished, and its nickel spokes polished to a high luster, as has all brass, which includes head and side lamps, tail lamp, instruments, horn, windshield and top hardware.

The chassis frame, suspension and axles are all refinished in body color. The undercarriage is highly detailed, and the wheels are finished in red and pin striped in grey and white. The engine is painted in gloss black and detailed, with brass and aluminum ancillaries highly polished.

Painstakingly restored, it has won many awards, including a First in Class at Meadow Brook Hall, Best of Show at Bay Harbour and a First in Class at Greenfield Village. Last shown in 2003, it presents opportunities for a new owner to re-introduce this truly spectacular and outstanding Packard to the concours circuit.

Reference Number 8711

as of 4/18/2007

Car 1913 Packard Model 1-38 Roadster
VIN 38878 
More Images
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car