Lot 269

Monterey 2023

1940 Packard Custom Super Eight One-Eighty Convertible Victoria by Darrin


$475,000 - $550,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Vehicle No.
US Title
  • The first, and arguably most significant, Darrin Convertible Victoria produced for 1940
  • Appeared in the 1953 film Blowing Wild alongside Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, and Anthony Quinn
  • Fully restored under current ownership by Manns Restoration of Festus, Missouri in beautiful maroon over tan
  • A CCCA Full Classic well-suited to exhibition and touring events
  • A compelling example of the ‘Ultimate Darrin’ with fascinating provenance; final year for the signature ‘suicide’ doors

From its founding, Packard counted movie stars, playboys, and socialites among its prestigious customers. Yet Packard's catalogued designs—that is to say, those not made to order by coachbuilders—were, in contrast to the dazzling personalities that often bought them, typically quite conservative.

Howard “Dutch” Darrin changed that in his typically flamboyant fashion. After producing a number of custom Packards for his Hollywood clientele featuring rakish lines and cut-down doors with the signature “Darrin dip,” Darrin tried convincing Packard’s top brass to add his designs to the company’s official model lineup—only to be met with indifference. Taking matters into his own hands, he had one of his cars parked outside the Packard Proving Grounds at the time of an annual dealer’s meeting, where attendees could not help but see it.

Pressured by dealers, Packard included the Darrin in its 1940 catalogue as a Sport Sedan, Convertible Sedan, and Convertible Victoria. Packard sought to streamline production following the 1940 model year, leading to the elimination of Darrin-designed features including “suicide” doors and the addition of vestigial running boards. Thus, 1940 cars built on the senior One-Eighty chassis are in many respects the “ultimate” examples of these coveted automobiles.

This One-Eighty Convertible Victoria is one of fewer than 50 believed to have been produced for 1940, and as indicated by its vehicle number, 1806-2001, it is the first completed. It is understood that Packard intended to exhibit this car at European motor shows, including the Paris Auto Salon. Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of World War II it remained stateside, doing promotional duty at American dealerships.

Subsequently sold to MGM Studios, the Darrin appeared in the 1953 film Blowing Wild. This western, which followed the dangerous lives of oil wildcatters, starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck (amusingly billed as “The Gringo Giant” and “His Woman of the Diablo,” respectively), as well as Anthony Quinn. Following its on-screen appearance, the Darrin was sold to Orrin Markhus of California. Markhus, part of the popular Ice Capades skating revue, retained the car until the early 1960s, after which it passed to CCCA member Norm Knight. Its next owner was Tom Crook, followed by the stewardship of collector John Klein (which lasted from 1992–2006). It was then purchased by well-known collector Rob Hilaridies of Lindsay, California.

As documented in the fall 2008 issue of Packards International Magazine (a copy of which accompanies the sale), Hilaridies and a friend put Packard’s lauded engineering to the test by driving the Darrin 2,166 miles from Klein’s Indianapolis, Indiana home to California along historic Route 66—an odyssey that took them through whiteout blizzard conditions in Oklahoma!

Following its acquisition by the consignor, the Darrin was treated to a well-deserved overhaul by Manns Restoration of Festus, Missouri; invoices on file document the attention to detail that went into the complete refurbishment of this hand-built automobile, which is now presented in the lovely combination of maroon over a tan leather interior with tan top.

Arguably the most significant example of a coveted Packard model, this award-winning 1940 Darrin Convertible Victoria is accompanied by a substantial history file. Ideal for Packard Club and CCCA events and tours, it will bring with it that inimitable Darrin style wherever it travels.