Amelia Island | Lot 238
1931 Packard Deluxe Eight Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse
The Muckel Collection
$401,000 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
7 March 2020
- Offered from the Muckel Collection
- Formerly owned by Otis Chandler; known history since new
- Beautiful, award-winning, and well-maintained restoration
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
- One of the most superb creations of a great coachbuilder
Massachusetts coachbuilder Waterhouse existed for only four years, from 1928 to 1932, and in that time produced roughly only 100 bodies. Their most famous offering was the convertible Victoria, a style that they are widely credited with having popularized in the United States. Waterhouse’s G. Briggs Weaver designed a top mechanism which allowed for a large convertible top that folded flush and low with the body, while the body itself featured very simple trim and lines, accenting its elegance. Examples were fitted by Waterhouse to a variety of the Classic Era’s finest chassis, most prominently several variations of the Senior Packard.
MR. HAYDEN’S CONVERTIBLE VICTORIA
Only three 845 Deluxe Eight chassis are known to have been delivered with the Waterhouse convertible Victoria body. One was lost in Europe when nearly new, leaving only two surviving in the hands of collectors.
The example offered was reportedly acquired at the close of the 1931 New York Auto Salon by Henry H. Hayden, an American mining engineer who had just returned from an extremely profitable time in Manchuria. Hayden intended to move to Southern California, and the Waterhouse Packard, he decided, would be just the ticket. He acquired the car and set off to Los Angeles; he reportedly paused at Earle C. Anthony’s dealership in Los Angeles long enough to buy his wife a 1932 Packard Dietrich runabout.
Mr. Hayden developed a new career as a contractor, counting among his largest jobs the plumbing for the U.S. Air Force’s Camp Logan, for which the Waterhouse was reportedly put into service as a utility vehicle, with a small cargo box installed in place of the trunk. It was retired in 1950 and parked until 1952, when Hayden reinstalled the trunk and sent both family Packards to Ray’s Top Shop of Santa Barbara to have a new top installed. After Mrs. Hayden fell ill, the cars were more or less abandoned at the upholsterer’s, until eventually a mechanic’s lien was placed on them. When Hayden defaulted, the two cars were bought by Jeremy Hass, a local Packard enthusiast, reportedly for $25!
Hass maintained the Waterhouse convertible Victoria in its original condition until 1993, when well-known Packard collector Don Sears acquired it after nine years of patient pursuit. A painstaking two-year restoration followed, preserving the car’s original vehicle number plate on the firewall and executed with exceptional attention to detail. At this time the car was updated with the 1932 trim “kit,” as was originally supplied to Packard dealers to freshen remaining 1931 Eighth Series stock, including the new Ninth Series radiator shell, headlamps, and front bumper. The result was debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, winning First in Class, an honor repeated at Meadowbrook; the car also achieved a perfect 100 points in each of its appearances in CCCA competition, culminating with Senior honors. It was also an AACA Grand National First Prize winner and won the national Joseph Parkin Award in its division in 1995.
Around this same time, in the late 1990s, the revered Los Angeles Times publisher and avid automobile collector Otis Chandler was building his second superb collection of Full Classics. He had become particularly enamored of convertible Victorias on Packard chassis, considering them a uniquely special and American creation. Naturally, the superb 845 Waterhouse convertible Victoria was a must-have, and in 1997 it was acquired for the Chandler Vintage Museum by Jack Passey.
For the next nine years the Packard was one of the highlights of the Chandler collection, enjoying approving visits during that time by both former owner Jeremy Hass and Waterhouse descendant and historian Larry Waterhouse. In 2004 it was actually reunited with the original fitted luggage for the trunk, which was restored and installed—returning the car to exactly its original presentation.
The Packard was sold in 2006 to the Muckel Collection, and in their hands it has continued to be superbly maintained—enough so that it returned to Pebble Beach in 2011 and again claimed a class award, well over a decade after restoration! It is still a beautiful, well-sorted machine, and with its well-known history and fabulous color scheme, it is uniquely special and beautiful, even in the rarefied world of Waterhouse coachwork.