Arizona

19-20 January 2017

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Lot 116

1931 Packard Deluxe Eight Convertible Victoria by Dietrich

  • Chassis no. 188700
  • Engine no. 188680
  • Vehicle no. 840-129

Sold for $192,500


Series 840. Body Style no. 1879. 120 bhp, 384.8 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 140.5 in.

  • The 1931 New York Automobile Show car
  • Originally delivered to legendary steel magnate Charles Schwab
  • Long-term ownership by Packard historian Edward J. Blend
  • Original body, chassis, and engine
  • A superb Individual Custom Packard with exceptional provenance


THE HISTORIAN’S CAR

The late Edward J. Blend was among the most devout of Packard aficionados, in particular of the twelve-cylinder Eleventh Series models of 1934, on which he wrote a landmark book that is still referenced by enthusiasts. In addition to “Cyrano,” his prized 1107 Twelve coupe roadster, his fleet included “the ol’ veteran” or “Charley’s Packard,” as he dubbed this 840 Deluxe Eight Convertible Victoria. No second fiddle, “Charley’s Packard” was scrupulously researched and documented by its owner in a comprehensive cover feature for Antique Automobile magazine’s May/June 1982 issue.

According to Mr. Blend, his car, one of 11 Individual Custom Convertible Victorias built by Dietrich for Packard in 1931, had been exhibited at both the 1930 New York Salon, at the Commodore Hotel, and at the 1931 New York National Automobile Show at the Grand Central Palace. Confirming his belief, two coats of paint were found on the car during restoration: grey (the Commodore color) and then black (the New York show color). The car was reportedly the only one of the 11 cars to have been built with rear-mounted spares, giving it an especially long, low, and attractive appearance. Furthermore, according to Mr. Blend, a later re-upholstery job discovered “1879/1931 SHOW CAR,” hand-written in Raymond Dietrich’s distinctive handwriting, under each seat panel, although this is no longer present.

The car was subsequently acquired by Charles Schwab, renowned leader of Bethlehem Steel and, at the time, chairman of Stutz Motors. One wonders what the Stutz employees in Indianapolis said every time they saw a Packard carry the boss up to the factory! Perhaps for that reason, the Packard was eventually relegated to Immergrun, the Schwab country estate in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Rena Schwab used the car for riding around the estate and for local errand-running. Locals recalled to Mr. Blend that during the worst days of the Great Depression, Mrs. Schwab rode around in the car, driven by a chauffeur and surrounded by baskets of food, which she would distribute to the needy.

The Schwab Packard was subsequently acquired by Doyal Ervin, also of Pennsylvania, who sold it to Mr. Blend in 1952 for less than $1,000. Mr. Blend and his father proceeded to drive the car in the 1953 Glidden Tour, where it was admired—and pursued for purchase—by early collector James Melton. Well over 99,000 miles had been traveled in the Packard by 1965, attending shows and driving on tours.

After Mr. Blend’s father passed in the mid-1960s, the Packard was given a complete restoration, which took nearly 14 years to complete to its perfectionist owner’s standards. While the work obviously now has a fine patina throughout, it remains thoroughly beautiful, including wonderful rich black leather upholstery, and a wonderful tuxedo-like color scheme. Numerous correct accessories are found throughout, including the “Toro” horn (which Mr. Blend described as producing “sounds like an agitated bull”), a pair of accessory mirrors (which took eight years to source), and a correct “new old-stock” Packard heater. Even the onyx dashboard knobs, a correct original option, were painstakingly sourced.

“Charley’s Packard” was a deserved prizewinner in both AACA and CCCA judging, and it remained beloved by Mr. Blend for well over another decade before finally passing from his ownership. It has had only a handful of further caretakers and has been continuously and conscientiously well-maintained to the same high standards. It would make an ideal basis for minor freshening and further show appearances, or as the most distinctive and illustrious automobile for a CCCA CARavan.

Very few genuine Dietrich “semi-custom” bodies from this era survive today. The car offered here undoubtedly has one of the finest histories, as a show car originally owned by an American business legend, and subsequently owned, enjoyed, and restored by one of the foremost Packard historians of modern times.

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

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

Cameron Smyth

csmyth@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more