Hershey

Hershey Lodge
6 - 7 October 2016
Lot 248

1939 Packard Twelve Convertible Sedan

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$170,500 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania

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Vehicle no.
1253-2017
  • The final year of the Packard V-12; one of just 446 delivered in 1939
  • Lovely presentation of Packard’s most expensive and largest car that year
  • Numerous desirable options and accessories, including column-shifted transmission
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic, eligible for all club events and CARavans
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Series 1708. 175 bhp, 473.3 cu. in. L-head V-12, three-speed manual selective synchromesh transmission, front longitudinal arms and coil springs, semi-floating rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes with vacuum assist. Wheelbase: 139 in.

Packard celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1939 which, sadly, marked the final year for the massive Packard Twelve. Unfortunately, the era of beautiful, long-wheelbase, high-powered, ultra-expensive custom cars was coming to an end. Today, it seems ironic that the most beautiful and extravagant American cars were built at a time when financial conditions were the worst possible. Yet, that is what makes the cars so desirable to today’s discriminating collectors.

For 1939, the Packard Twelves remained virtually unchanged. They were the only Packard series to use the 134- and 139-inch-wheelbase chassis, as well as the only series upon which custom bodies could be ordered. Despite the fact that just 446 V-12s left Detroit in 1939, Packard still referred to them as production units. In reality, all V-12s were built on a per-order basis with none leaving the factory unsold. The big 473-cubic inch V-12 produced a very healthy 175 horsepower. What it offered that perhaps, its competitors did not, was near silence and a silky smoothness of operation.

Of all the cataloged Twelves, the convertible sedan, style 1253 on the long-wheelbase 1708 chassis, was Packard’s most expensive, with prices starting at $5,395. Unchanged from previous years, a weather-tight top with roll-up windows in all four doors was used. Inside, the car was opulently appointed with burl walnut door caps and dash fascia. Even a roll-up division window was included for privacy.

The gorgeous car offered here is finished in lovely metallic silver with a contrasting red leather interior with black carpets accented by red binding. Paintwork is described as being in overall excellent condition, while the interior wood on the door caps, windshield surround, and divider window trim is excellent. The black canvas roof is piped in red, which contrasts beautifully with the silver exterior. The Packard has been comprehensively restored to a high standard and continues to be in excellent mechanical and drivable condition while at the same time being perfectly suited for the show field. Packard’s V-12 line continued to use floor shifters as standard equipment despite the fact that the remainder of the Packard line had column shifts. This car, however, is fitted with the $240 optional column shift, making it even rarer in the already rarified world of V-12 Packards.

The car is equipped with dual side-mount spares, fog lamps, a reversing lamp and a folding trunk rack, while the radiator is topped with a Packard swan mascot, befitting of the last year of the V-12 model. Underhood, the motor is properly finished in Packard green and black accessories, with largely correct wiring, fittings, and details. The condition reflects moderate use and is otherwise in nice condition since restoration.

As a CCCA Full Classic, it is eligible for all club events and CARavans and is an excellent candidate for the concours and show circuit.