St. John's (formerly Meadow Brook)
30 July 2011
1931 Packard Deluxe Eight Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse & Co.
To be auctioned on Saturday, July 30, 2011
High Bid of $230,000
- Chassis no. 188233
- Engine no. 173560
- Offered from an important private collection
- Stunning Waterhouse Convertible Victoria
- One of only two built on 840 chassis
- Vincent family provenance
One of the most attractive bodies of the Classic Era was the Convertible Victoria, a four-passenger convertible coupe with blind rear quarters. Packard added one, designed by Raymond Dietrich, to the company’s Individual Custom catalog in 1930 and listed comparable designs through 1939. Surely the most beautiful of the genre, though, was the Convertible Victoria built by Waterhouse & Co. of Webster, Massachusetts.
Charles Waterhouse, Sr. had been foreman of the trim shop at Alvan T. Fuller’s Boston Cadillac agency. Together with his son Osborne, formerly head of woodworking at a small Rhode Island coachworks, and two financial partners, he launched Waterhouse & Co. in January 1928. Along with Osborne Waterhouse came George Briggs Weaver, an engineer, designer and draftsman. Osborne’s brother Sargent headed the trimming and interior department. The new company’s first job was for DuPont Motors, who would be a faithful customer for all of Waterhouse’s short existence.
The Waterhouse pièce de résistance was the Convertible Victoria. Always on a long wheelbase, it took on a much lower profile than competing styles, and Waterhouse usually resisted any temptation to employ side-mount spares, instead preferring dual tires at the rear. This is attributed to influence from the Russian-born designer Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, whose work was shown to Weaver when Packard requested a Convertible Victoria for the 1929 Paris Salon. Weaver improved on the Sakhnoffsky design, completed the assignment ahead of schedule and cemented Packard as yet another committed client. Unfortunately, these alliances did not last. Waterhouse & Co. succumbed to the ravages of the Depression in 1933.
This Model 840 Waterhouse Convertible Victoria was discovered in Argentina by the late Ed Jurist, proprietor of the Vintage Car Store in Nyack, New York. Jurist bought it in 1965 and repatriated it to the United States, selling it to a Massachusetts collector named Shelley Vincent III, the nephew of iconic Packard engineer Jesse Vincent. After treating it to a full professional restoration, Shelley Vincent enjoyed the car, participating in many New England events and earning a number of awards, among them an AACA National First and the Belcourt Cup at the Newport Motor Car Festival in Rhode Island. It should be noted, however, that the engine number on the car corresponds with a 1929 Custom or Deluxe Eight.
Acquired by the current owner in 2007, this remarkable Waterhouse Convertible Victoria is one of five built on Packard chassis in 1931 and one of only two on the shorter 840 model. This is a stunning example of exquisite Waterhouse proportions.
As part of a large private collection, this car has been treated to climate-controlled storage but has seen little exercise in recent years and will require thorough professional inspection before being driven.
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