28 July 2012
1933 Packard Twelve Convertible Coupe
To be auctioned on Saturday, July 28, 2012
Sold for $385,000
- Chassis no. 901615
- Engine no. 901828
• Possibly the last 1933 Packard Twelve Convertible Coupe produced
• Recent cosmetic and mechanical work
It has long been regarded as ironic that the greatest creations of the classic era came during the depths of the Depression, with one out of three people in America unemployed. 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. Packard’s response was to redouble its efforts, meeting the threat from Cadillac and Lincoln head on with the new Twin Six chassis and a range of spectacular custom bodies.
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, and as a result, Packard became one of Dietrich’s best customers. Lacking an in-house styling department, Packard incorporated Dietrich design cues in its production cars, and in fact, after 1933, all open Packards carried Dietrich body tags.
Packard’s Twelve was, in many ways, the signature of the classic era; it was the top of the line offering from America’s leading manufacturer of fine cars. It was the Brooks Brother’s suit of the time: a conservative car with finely tailored lines, elegant appointments, a refined chassis, and a whisper-quiet, twelve-cylinder engine.
Collectors today revere the 1932 through 1934 models for their clean lines, substantial chassis improvements, and modern looks. Of these, the tenth and eleventh series cars are often considered to be the ultimate classic era Packards. They were the last cars with the classic swept fender lines, before the advent of the streamlined look. The front ensemble is truly beautiful, with a graceful vee-shaped radiator with matching headlights and fender lights. The dash is a jeweled work of art, surrounded by rich burled trim. Many innovations were introduced for the tenth series cars, including a new, more rigid X-braced frame and driver adjustable power brakes.
Although many body styles were offered, the rarest and most desirable is the striking rumble seat coupe roadster, of which less than twenty are known to have survived of the fifty or so originally produced. Based on the body numbers stamped into the original wood of the body, this was the 51st convertible coupe produced in 1933, making this among the last, if not the last, example built. The chassis components date from 1934 and are very low, early numbers, so it is believed that this is a very late production unit utilizing early 1934 components.
This example was purchased in the early 1990s by well-known Oklahoma collector Jim Bradley and was subsequently acquired by another prominent collector from western Michigan. Mr. Bradley purchased the car from collector Robert Schill, of New Hampshire, and it is believed that Mr. Schill purchased the car at Hershey sometime in the 1970s, as an original, running, driving car. Since being acquired by the owner in the early-2000s, it was given a thorough cosmetic restoration, which included disassembly for an excellent repaint, new upholstery, as well as a tune-up and addressing of any mechanical needs. Finished in green with complementing light green leather interior, the example offered here is well known within the Classic Car Club of America, and with the extensive, recent cosmetic freshening and mechanical servicing, it is ready to provide its new owner with many miles and years of enjoyment.
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