Monterey | Lot 255
1940 Packard Super Eight One-Sixty Convertible Coupe by Rollson Inc.
$390,500 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
18 August 2012
160 hp, 356 cu in inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual synchromesh transmission, independent front suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 127"
• Pebble Beach podium winner in 2003
• Unique and rare Rollson body style
• Full CCCA Classic eligibility for all club tours and events
• Fully documented restoration in 2002
With the demise of the twelve-cylinder Packards the previous year, the Super Eight line remained the only Senior Series on the books for 1940. To keep up its inventory of styles, Packard management dictated that the Super Eight line be divided into two: the One-Sixty Series, which took the place of the previous Super Eight, and the new flagship Custom Super Eight, or Series One Eighty. Both featured a new engine, essentially a revised L-head straight eight of 356-cubic inches, which developed 160 hp at 3500 rpm. The new block had a 6.45:1 compression ratio and used aluminum pistons, a cast iron head, Stromberg carburetor, and Auto-Lite ignition. Senior Packards shared three chassis lengths: 127-, 138-, and 148-inch wheelbases, as well as optional air conditioning at $275.00, which was described by Packard as “cooled by mechanical refrigeration,” the first to be installed on production vehicles. Included in the lineup were three semi-customs by Darrin. Two catalogue customs were available from Rollson Inc., which was formed in 1938 to produce small runs of bodies for Packard.
Due to changing times, the bulk of Packard production was now in the lower-priced Junior Series. In total, Packard built 90,438 Junior models and only 7,562 Seniors, including 5,662 Super Eights and 1,900 Custom Super Eights in 1940. The design of the sleek Packard Darrins were so popular and exclusive that other independent coachbuilders duplicated them with their own styles, including Rollson, of New York, in 1940 and Bohman & Schwartz, of Pasadena, California, in 1941.
This is a superb and extremely rare custom Packard that is thought to be a one-off by coachbuilder Rollson. Without question, it rivals a Darrin for looks and certainly trumps it in exclusivity. Little is known about its early history, but the under-hood tag notes that it was delivered by Packard Motor Company of New York on April 27, 1940. In a circa 1955 article in a Classic Car Club newsletter, Stan Ogilvy details his ownership experience after purchasing the car in 1953 from Mr. Paul C. deBernardis, a Syracuse, New York lawyer. Still later, it was entered into the Eastern Grand Classic in 1964 by owner Paul Hayes. The current owner purchased the car from Don Sears in 1998. He also notes that prior to restoration, it appears that the car was simply used over the years and well-maintained as a driver.
Painted a stunning Dark Green with butterscotch leather that is accented by matching green piping and carpets, the car was restored over a period of two years, ending in 2002, by Restorations Ltd., of Northlake, Illinois. It comes complete with a sizeable binder, which documents the receipts spent on the restoration, which is not only substantial but also leaving no detail unattended. Attesting to the quality of its restoration, it was a Pebble Beach podium award winner in 2003. Today, the car appears to have been used sparingly and is nicely detailed and presents well. This is one spectacular automobile that would easily qualify as the centerpiece of any Packard or prewar classic collection.