Amelia Island | Lot 178
1941 Packard Darrin One-Eighty Convertible Victoria
$275,000 - $325,000 USD | Not Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
22 May 2021
- CCCA Full Classic eligible for all club events and CARavans
- One of fewer than 100 Packard Darrins produced prior to WWII
- Car number 13 of the 1941 production Darrins
- Among the most collectible and highly-desired Packard models
The Packard Darrin was a special automobile, blending of the glory that was Packard in the Classic Era with the chutzpa that was the stock-in-trade of Howard “Dutch” Darrin. The result was glamor with lots of pizzazz.
Without Darrin’s insistence, the car would not have been built at all. Following his days in Paris, Darrin had settled in Hollywood, immediately establishing himself as the purveyor of custom coachwork to the stars. The polo playing-Darrin was quickly accepted by the movie crowd; his well-cultivated French accent fit in perfectly. He named his shop “Darrin of Paris.”
His first client was Dick Powell, for whom he fashioned a two-passenger Ford Roadster in 1937. Shortly thereafter, he built a two-seat convertible victoria roadster on a 1937 Packard One Twenty chassis for actor Chester Morris. It led to the idea of building a five-passenger version and selling Packard on the idea of including it as part of its lineup. The initial word from Detroit was no . . . but that didn’t stop him.
Darrin began with a standard Packard Eight Business Coupe; little remained when the transformation was completed (later cars, like this example, used the larger 138-inch One-Eighty chassis). Most memorable are the sweeping cut-down curves of the doors, a signature styling feature commonly referred to as the “Darrin Dip.” Downright racy when compared to Lincoln’s Zephyr Continental, the car remained unquestionably a Packard.
Darrin arranged to have the car parked outside the Packard Proving Grounds at the time of the annual dealer’s meeting, where attendees could not help but see it. That, as they say, was that! Pressured by its dealers, Packard included the Darrin in its 1940 catalogue as a Sport Sedan, Convertible Sedan, and Convertible Victoria. Nearly one hundred were built through 1942, when WWII halted production. Darrins were real celebrity cars, owned by the likes of Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, Al Jolson, Ruby Keeler, Preston Foster, and Gene Krupa.
This lovely example benefits from a complete cosmetic restoration finished in 2020. The engine was removed and rebuilt with additional major mechanical work performed sometime after 1997. Prior to the consignor’s purchase, the car remained in the care of just three owners from 1979. It retains its correct Packard AM radio, which has been modified for AM/FM reception. Brightwork is described as very nice, as is the canvas top.
As a CCCA Full Classic, the Packard is eligible for club events and CARavans and is considered one of the most desirable models to collectors of Packards and cars of the Classic Era.