Amelia Island | Lot 175
1936 Packard Twelve Sport Phaeton
$600,000 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
22 May 2021
- Offered from a prominent private collection
- The final factory-built dual-cowl phaeton produced by Packard
- One of five authentic examples built in 1936
- Long-term history with well-known enthusiasts
- Award-winning concours restoration with recent freshening
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
Packard’s Fourteenth Series models of 1936 adopted more streamlined styling and included the company’s final open phaetons and touring cars. The romantic dual-cowl Sport Phaeton saw only five authentic examples built on the twelve-cylinder, 144-inch-wheelbase 1407 chassis, only three of which remain in existence today.
Vehicle no. 921-205, offered here, is the latest known of the three surviving Sport Phaetons built in 1936 and is the last known authentic factory-built dual-cowl phaeton on a twelve-cylinder Packard chassis. Its original vehicle number tag on the firewall identifies it as having been sold by the Packard Motor Company of New York, a.k.a. “Park Avenue Packard,” on 16 November 1936, late in the model year.
The Sport Phaeton’s further history has been traced back to Don Di Michele of Hudson, Ohio, a fireworks manufacturer and evangelist on the tent revival circuit who was an early, notable collector of Full Classics. Di Michele was a notably private individual and his cars were seldom shown; however, this Packard appeared in a photograph of his collection in the Akron Beacon-Journal in 1967. Reportedly, he may have owned the car as early as the late 1950s, and it remained in his ownership a very solid and original, rust-free example.
The Packard was eventually sold by Di Michele to the prolific collector, Dr. Donald Vesley of Tampa, Florida, who refinished it in cream with a black interior, matching the car to a famous Fortune magazine advertisement. Dr. Vesley later passed the Packard as part of a twenty-car transaction to the famed enthusiast Rick Carroll, who dealt it to his friend Don Mayoras of Pennsylvania. Mr. Mayoras displayed the car at several East Coast concours, noting that it always won an award whenever and wherever it was shown.
In September 1995 the Packard was sold to Jerome Sauls and Fran Roxas on behalf of their longstanding client, Ron Benach, for whom Mr. Roxas completed a full restoration to immaculate original condition. Mr. Benach displayed the Packard at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1996, receiving a class award, and at the 1998 CCCA Michigan Grand Classic, scoring 100 points and earning Senior badge no. 2178. The car eventually returned to Pebble Beach as an exhibit-only entrant in 2010.
Following over two decades in the Benach stable, the Sport Phaeton joined the present owner’s collection. It has received the excellent care, with a full freshening and detail by Harbor Auto Restoration of Rockledge, Florida and a new interior by Sharp Automotive Upholstery of Elyria, Ohio. Once more it returned to Pebble Beach in 2019, and was again an award-winner in its class, followed by the receipt of a Palmetto Award at Hilton Head that autumn.
Today this Sport Phaeton, believed the last built of its kind, remains in show-worthy condition throughout. Further, in addition to the aforementioned original Vehicle Number tag, the car retains both of its original body number tags further confirming its original specification as a Model 1207 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton; original body number stampings are still even present in the body’s wooden framework.
Bearing excellent known history and well-known authenticity, this is a peerless Packard worthy of a home in the finest Full Classic collection—the kind of company it has known for over five decades.