Monterey | Lot 119

1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Sport Phaeton in the style of LeBaron

$445,000 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California

24 August 2018

Identification no.
  • Offered from a prominent private collection
  • Among the most stylistically significant, beautiful Classic Era designs
  • Painstakingly crafted by Marcel DeLay; restored by Steve Babinsky
  • Original, numbers-matching Eleventh Series Twelve chassis and drivetrain
  • Extremely accurate and beautifully presented

One of the most spectacular Packards of the Classic Era was the Individual Custom sport phaeton, offered solely on the Eleventh Series Twelve chassis on a very limited basis. These cars featured striking streamlined styling with fully skirted fenders, rear fender “spats,” streamlined running boards, and a fabric top disappearing into a fastback roofline, designed along suggestions from Packard styling director Edward Macauley. Actual construction was carried out by the famed custom shop of LeBaron in Detroit.

Writing of the design in her book, Packard: The Pride, J.M. Fenster commented that “the sport phaeton is a peak in the transition from the erect architecture of earlier cars to the . . . aerodynamics to come.” In other words, it was the high water mark of Packard body design in this era.

It is believed that five original examples of the 1108 Twelve Individual Custom sport phaeton were built by LeBaron. One of these was eventually shipped to Europe, where it was destroyed during World War II. The remaining four cars survive, and all are part of long-term private or museum collections from which they are unlikely to soon emerge.

The car offered here began with a very original, correct 1108 Twelve chassis, engine, and drivetrain with its original factory components, formerly in the Nethercutt Collection, as recorded in Edward J. Blend’s The Magnificent Packard Twelve of Nineteen Thirty-Four. The body was produced by a talented wood craftsman who had done similar bodies for the renowned Fran Roxas, while the late, respected California metalshaper Marcel DeLay was responsible for the painstakingly accurate and authentic sheet metal. Steve Babinsky’s Automotive Restorations of Lebanon, New Jersey, completed the mechanical restoration, assembly, and finishes, including beautiful paint and upholstery, using a striking color scheme inspired by the famous ex-Bill Harrah LeBaron sport phaeton.

“It was in no way interpretive,” the owner notes of the work. “I wanted it to be done exactly as one of the originals was done. The result is absolutely outstanding in every way in its fit, finish, and presentation.”

While the owners are certainly no stranger to concours fields, they elected not to show their Packard, but rather to drive and enjoy it, and have done exactly that since its completion. It has never before been publicly available for sale, and its offering here marks a unique opportunity to acquire one of the very finest modern LeBaron sport phaetons, beautifully restored and preserved by dedicated enthusiasts.

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