1935 Packard Super Eight Convertible Sedan
Sold For $110,000Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2013 - Offered on Thursday
- A genuine piece of Philadelphia history
- Originally owned and kept for 70 years by George Gordon Meade Easby
- Still titled in Easby’s name
- Original, unrestored, and incredibly well-preserved
Series 1205. 150 bhp, 384.4 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 144 in.
Please note this title is in transit.
Since 1911, the Baleroy Mansion has stood tall on Mermaid Lane in Philadelphia’s affluent Chestnut Hill neighborhood as one of the City of Brotherly Love’s most fascinating homes. It was here that, for all but six of his 87 years, George Gordon Meade Easby made his home, which was surrounded by an enviable collection of antiquities and assembled by a family that descended from seven signers of the Declaration of Independence. Easby’s great-grandfather and namesake, General George Meade, was a hero of the Civil War, as he was the leader of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Such affluence ensured that Easby never had to work, but he did anyway, employing himself in such diverse pursuits as cartooning and producing films. He eventually settled into a comfortable 25-year career with the State Department, but he still spent 35 hours a week, according to his obituary, opening dividend checks and checking his numerous vaults. One can only imagine the secrets that were passed among guests of the Baleroy Mansion, as they seated themselves on Napoleon’s furniture, admired Marie Antoinette’s clock, and acquainted themselves with Toby the parrot, as well as the mansion’s famously active ghosts. Their host believed in the ghosts, claiming that he saw them regularly, and the home eventually became known as one of the most haunted in America.
Sharing the Baleroy Mansion with its owner, his antiques, Toby, and the ghosts was this Packard Super Eight, which the 18-year-old Easby purchased new on July 9, 1936, from Goldner Brothers, of Germantown, Pennsylvania. In many ways, the convertible sedan represented the ultimate eight-cylinder offering from East Grand Boulevard that year. Built on the 1205 chassis, it stretched 144 inches from axle to axle and was powered by a 150-horsepower, silky-smooth L-head straight eight, sending its power through an all-synchromesh transmission.
Befitting a formal car, Easby’s Packard was finished in a stately all-over black with green button-tufted leather upholstery and canvas top; only the door saddles were painted cream. In all likelihood, the top on this car has never been put down. Easby enjoyed a good drink more than he enjoyed the open air, and the top well behind the rear seat was fitted out with a well-equipped cocktail bar. With no space for the top to go down into, it was never lowered.
The Packard was used regularly until 1947, and then it was put up on blocks in the carriage house at the Baleroy Mansion. Other expensive cars came and went in George Gordon Meade Easby’s life, but the big Super Eight never left Mermaid Lane—not until 2010, five years after Easby’s passing at the age of 87, when was it sold out of the carriage house to its present owners, who have elected not to title the car; as a result, it is still titled in the name of its original gentleman owner. The next owner will become the second titled owner from new.
While the paint shows the slings and arrows of a car that was regularly driven for many years, it remains in perfectly presentable condition and still shines in many areas. The top, having never been folded, remains in excellent condition for its age, as does the lovingly worn-in leather upholstery, which remains as soft and supple as an old baseball glove. The new owners have cleaned and carefully rejuvenated the car mechanically, performing only the work necessary to return it to good running order; a list of the services performed is on file and available for inspection.
Overall, the car would be a perfectly appropriate and elegant entrant, “as-is,” in the AACA’s increasingly popular Historic Preservation of Original Features Class, or on display in the Preservation Class at its new owner’s favorite concours.
George Gordon Meade Easby was, above all, a collector of antiques, and it is only fitting that he kept and maintained this Packard until it became one. It has all that the knowledgeable antique enthusiast looks for: a great name behind its creation, provenance behind its preservation, and the unmolested history of a life well lived with caring conservators.
Titled as 1936.