Lot 389

1936 Packard Twelve All-Weather Town Car by LeBaron

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$165,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania

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Vehicle No.
295-203
Identification No.
14TH1408203
Documents
US Title
  • A superb and exceptionally rare V-12 Packard with fascinating provenance
  • One of only three examples known to survive
  • Formerly owned, restored, toured, and exhibited by the preeminent Packard Twelve enthusiast Tom Moretti
  • Wears a nicely preserved, Pebble Beach class-winning restoration completed circa 1997
  • CCCA Premier, and AACA Senior National First Prize, winner
Addendum: Please note that this vehicle is titled by 14TH1408203, the number found on its reproduction vehicle number plate.

THE 1408 ALL-WEATHER TOWN CAR

Packard’s 12-cylinder models were, by the late 1930s, the height of American engineering and design, adopting more streamlined, graceful styling that embodied the vigorous spirit of their age. Accordingly, they remain among the most desirable cars that this great manufacturer ever produced, particularly when provided with an uncommon body style or entirely custom coachwork.

Packard’s 14th Series (1936) model Twelve catalogue saw a pair of rather formal designs by LeBaron offered; the shorter 1407 model chassis were fitted with the All-Weather Town Cabriolet (Style L-294), while the 1408 chassis were given All-Weather Town Car (Style L-295) which were distinguished by their rear hinged doors and quarter windows. The price for either of these two designs represented a 44% premium over a standard Twelve; that Packard sold any of these cars in the midst of the Great Depression is a tremendous testament to salesmanship.

BEST OF THREE

This example offered here, Packard vehicle number 295-203, was the third produced in this very limited series of approximately 24 cars. Just three of these stately LeBaron All-Weather Town Car examples are known to survive to the present, and our subject lot is undoubtedly the finest, and most widely known of the trio.

Sold on 28 January 1936 by the Packard Motorcar Company of Boston, Massachusetts, 295-303 remained on the East Coast for many years. By the 1980s it had been acquired—in a rather tired state—by a Packard collector in San Francisco, California; he had reportedly planned to turn the car into a dual-cowl Phaeton but was dissuaded from doing so thanks to the intervention (and purchase offer) of his acquaintance Tom Moretti.

At the time, Moretti was perhaps the world’s preeminent collector and restorer of coachbuilt Packard Twelves. He not only personally restored these cars, but also toured and exhibited with them in events around the country. His acquisition of this fine LeBaron All-Weather Town Car in 1992 seems a natural chapter in the car’s history given the rarity of its design and the Moretti Collection’s niche specialization.

Moretti immediately undertook a complete and total restoration which would see this distinctive Packard transformed over the better part of five years. The car was finished in a factory-correct dark blue complemented by matching wheel covers and whitewall tires. Inside, the passenger compartment was reupholstered in blue-gray broadcloth and, in front, the driver's compartment was correctly upholstered in dark blue pleated leather. Other handsome features include a Jaeger clock rear of the cabin division, a correct cormorant mascot, vibration-damping bumpers, and a rear luggage rack which matches the superb chrome detailing throughout the car.

To say that 295-303’s debut on the show circuit was a stellar one would be a vast understatement. In a very close reading of the maxim “go big or go home,” Moretti’s first outing with the freshly restored car was the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. It was featured in a very competitive class of closed, custom-bodied American classics, but was nonetheless awarded Best in Class honors as the most spectacular entrant among them.

The following season, this eminent Town Car earned First Place in Primary at the CCCA Annual Meeting, a First Place in Senior division at an Indiana Grand Classic and a First Place in Premier division at a Michigan Grand Classic. In addition, the Town Car also won the Warshawsky Best of Show award at the Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Other honors bestowed upon 295-303 in 1998 include Best of Show at the 8th Annual Burn Prevention Foundation Concours of the Eastern United States, Best Restored at the New Hampshire Concours and an AACA National First Prize.

In 1999, the Town Car received a prestigious AACA President's Cup Award, which honors an outstanding restoration of a 1921–1942 automobile. Other awards include a First in Class at the 2006 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance and Outstanding Formal Car at the 2010 Geneva Concours d'Elegance.

This is an ideal, genuine LeBaron All-Weather Town Car that is ready for participation in CCCA CARavans, Packard Club events, or to take to a show field. It is a lovely Full Classic with interesting history, excellent pedigree, a finely detailed restoration, and beautiful lines underpinned by the marque’s most desirable V-12 engine configuration.