- Formerly of the Bob and Sandra Bahre Collection
- Original Dietrich Individual Custom bodywork
- Well-preserved restoration by marque specialist Steve Gunder
- Not shown since its completion
The most prestigious Packards of the Classic Era were the so-called Dietrich Individual Customs, which were produced on Super Eight and Twelve chassis from 1932 through to 1934. Built largely to individual tastes, as true “factory customs” are, these striking bodies were known for their lithe and sporty lines, which were created by the vee’d windshields, a beltline that curved away from the windshield, and an extraordinary long hoodline, and they were assembled on massive 147.5-in. wheelbase chassis. They were tremendously expensive, particularly in 12-cylinder form, and with a modified L-head V-12 that could displace 445.5 cu. in. and develop 160 bhp under the hood, the Dietrich Packard had power to match its style. It was a masterpiece of form and function.
THE BAHRE TWIN SIX
Robert Bahre and his family have stood at the peak of American motorsport for five decades, most famously as the founder of New Hampshire International Speedway. Off the track, one of Mr. Bahre’s lasting passions has been for the world’s finest antique automobiles, in particular, Dietrich Individual Customs on Packard’s most desirable Classic Era chassis. Over the years, he has been able to build a complete collection of superb examples, with each being restored by the finest artisans and all being held among Packard cognoscenti as the finest of their kind.
During the early years of his collection, in 1981, Mr. Bahre acquired an original Dietrich Individual Custom Convertible Sedan from Harrah’s Automobile Collection. The car, which was mounted to a 904 Super Eight chassis, had resided in Harrah’s fabled halls since 1962. Earlier ownership was recorded as Edgar C. Lawrence and James F. Baccardo, both of San Jose, California.
Mr. Bahre’s passion, however, was for Dietrich Individual Custom Packard Twelves. As luck would have it, an opportunity presented itself in the form of his friend, Bob Adams, who owned a donor chassis, engine, and drivetrain, which had only 18,965 miles, from an appropriate Ninth Series Twin Six that had also been acquired from Harrah’s.
Soon, Mr. Bahre had purchased the Twin Six and set his plans to work. Both cars were delivered to respected Packard restorer Steve Gunder, of Topeka, Kansas. Mr. Gunder removed the Super Eight’s Dietrich bodywork and installed it on the newly acquired Twin Six chassis. The body was in excellent condition, and as such, all of the original body panels were able to be saved, in addition to all of the correct Dietrich hardware.
Rich lacquer paint was applied, in the factory color of Packard Maroon, as well as soft plum leather upholstery, which provides an elegant contrast to the black canvas top. These colors emphasize the joyful dual personality of the Convertible Sedan design that was created by Raymond Dietrich, a man who insisted that his convertibles look as good with their tops up as they do with them down. With the top and division window raised, it is a formal sedan for elegant occasions. With the top lowered, the windows disappear into the doors and the Packard becomes a lighthearted open tourer. Its lines are set off by chrome wire wheels and wide whitewall tires, and the car looks spectacular with its top up or down, demonstrating the genius of Dietrich’s eye.
Sold from the Bahre Collection in 2014, the Packard has enjoyed excellent care over the last three decades. The result is a restoration that belies its age, as its paint, interior, and chrome are crisp and nearly flawless, and it is still virtually show ready in all regards. Importantly, the car is still equipped with the vacuum-assisted clutch that was available only on the Ninth Series Twin Six. The car is also accompanied by a collection of documentation that dates back to the 1960s, including Harrah’s registrations.
This car marks the rare opportunity to acquire a superb Dietrich Individual Custom, for the connoisseur of superb taste.