Arizona

16 - 17 January 2014

Lot 14

1933 Packard Twelve Coupe Roadster

To be auctioned on Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sold for $418,000

  • Chassis no. 639-60
  • Engine no. 9010157


Model 1005. 160 bhp, 445.5 cu. in. modified L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142 in.

  • Last 12-cylinder Coupe Roadster for 1933
  • Well-preserved, high-quality Dennis Sobieski restoration
  • Consistent award winner


For 1932, Packard had pulled out all the stops by extending the range at both ends of the catalogue. There was a new smaller, lighter entry-level car, the Model 900 Light Eight. Selling for $1,750 to $1,795, the Light Eight was aimed at senior Buick customers. However, it cost much more than a Buick to build, and it was dropped at year’s end. The show-stopper, however, was a new Twin Six model. It was introduced in January 1932 and was priced from $3,790 to $7,950, directly countering Cadillac, which, nearly two years earlier, had startled the world with not just a V-12 but also a V-16. The Twin Six was offered in two wheelbases, like the Deluxe Eight, and it also had a line of Individual Custom bodies, with the preponderance of them by Dietrich.

Twin Six was a venerable name in Packard history, and it was the pride of the Packard line from 1916 to 1923, with its 60-degree L-head V-12 that had two blocks of six cylinders set on an aluminum crankcase. It was designed by chief engineer Jesse Vincent, and it displaced 424 cubic inches and developed 88 horsepower. The Twin Six name, which was supplanted by Packard’s straight eight in 1924, remained dormant until 1932, when it returned as a larger, more powerful engine: a 445.5-cubic inch V-12 that could produce 160 brake horsepower at 3,200 rpm.



The Twin Six was designed by Cornelius Van Ranst, whose credits included the Cord L-29, and it was originally intended for a front-wheel drive Packard, but that was a project that proved to be stillborn. The engine, however, survived and was transplanted to the chassis of the Deluxe Eight. It was a 67-degree vee that was of unusual configuration, as it had valves that were nearly horizontal and it was actuated by hydraulic tappets. The combustion chamber was partially in the block, giving rise to the description of a “modified L-head.” Van Ranst explained the design was “selected to make the powerplant as compact as possible while leaving adequate room for a horizontal valve mechanism within the vee, and to eliminate the synchronous periods which frequently occur in multi-cylinder engines designed for equal firing intervals.” Van Ranst was particularly proud of his zero-lash valve system, which was responsible for the remarkable silence of these engines.

This new Twin Six, however, was only a modest success. By year’s end, just 549 had been built. For 1933’s Tenth Series, the company retrenched a bit. The Standard Eight and Deluxe Eight were renamed Eight and Super Eight, respectively. The V-12 returned and was simply called the Packard Twelve. Individual Customs were now the province only of the Model 1006 long-wheelbase line. There were also engineering improvements: a new cruciform chassis frame, an angle-set hypoid differential, three-position headlamps, and new carburetors. The Twelve was mechanically the same as its Twin Six predecessor, but now it had a new single-plate, vacuum-assisted clutch.

Packard had always eschewed model years, introducing a new “series” whenever significant changes were made. In practice, however, the registration processes of the 48 states resulted in a model year being assigned when a car was sold, if not before. Packard typically introduced new series around the first of the year, which aligned fairly neatly with state systems and the policies of the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce. Nineteen thirty-three was an exception, as production of the Tenth Series was abbreviated, because Packard, in effect, shortened the model year to concentrate on improvements for 1934. Production of 1933s ended in August, with only 520 Twelves being built.

Knowledgeable Packard authorities count just 50 twelve-cylinder coupe roadsters, or what Packard called convertible coupes, being built in the Tenth Series, beginning with body number 639-10. That makes this one the final body of that style, which is corroborated by the car’s August 26, 1933, delivery date, just five days after production of the Eleventh Series began. The Berry Motor Car Company, of St. Louis, handled the sale.

The current owner obtained it from Packard Twelve expert Dennis Sobieski in 1996, after the completion of a four-year, no-expense-spared rebuild. Even though it is now an older restoration, the car has been well cared-for, and the dark red paint nicely sets off the beige leather. It presents very well and has a long string of awards. It has earned Best of Show at the Barrington, Illinois, concours and the Glenmoor Gathering in Ohio, and it was judged Best Packard at Cincinnati’s Ault Park Concours d’Elegance. Its superb preservation is attested by it being selected as Most Elegant Full Classic at the second annual Celebration of Automobiles at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 2012.

This rare, red Packard shines with wide whitewalls on chrome wire wheels, and it also has dual side-mounts with metal covers, with each carrying a mirror. Pilot Ray driving lights are mounted to the front bumper. The convertible top is tan canvas, and the side windows are equipped with glass wind wings. A new owner will be well placed to earn even more trophies.

Addendum

Please note the title is in transit.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more