1937 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria by Rollston
$900,000 - $1,200,000
RM | Sotheby's - MONTEREY 15 - 17 AUGUST 2019 - Offered on Saturday
- A one-off design of exceptional proportions by revered coachbuilder Rollston
- Built on the longest 144-inch-wheelbase 1508 Twelve chassis
- Long-term ownership history with noted Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) members
- Accompanied by its original Rollston build sheets and blueprints
- Considered one of Rollston’s most famous and dramatic designs
- Arguably the most spectacular Fifteenth Series Packard Twelve
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
With independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes, the Fifteenth Series Twelve is widely considered one of the ultimate Packards—none more “ultimate” than the example offered here, a unique design by New York’s most renowned coachbuilder, Rollston. The car was built for Frank G. Shattuck, founder of the Schrafft’s restaurant chain, for decades a genteel favorite that was beloved by New Yorkers for its chicken à la King and butterscotch cookies. The massive expansion and success of Schrafft’s had made the Shattucks extraordinarily wealthy and put their patriarch in the position to acquire any automobile he desired—including this one-off Rollston Packard.
The Packard was constructed with aluminum coachwork on the longest available chassis, the 144-inch 1508 platform ordinarily employed for the company’s largest and most costly limousines. The result was a two-door convertible Victoria of remarkable proportions, with a rakishly slanted windshield and unusually low roofline exaggerating its length—the upper quarter of the Haartz fabric top is nearly as long as the door ahead of it! Such is the length of the doors that interior handles were provided for both the front and rear passengers, who have acres of space at their disposal. When the top is lowered, it folds nearly flush with the rear deck and reveals an exceptionally spacious interior with individually adjustable front seats, armrests with cigar lighters and ashtrays, and dark walnut door trim panels.
According to a copy of its original Rollston build sheet, the entire car was finished in black, with the body striped in Ivory White, a black leather interior, and Haartz no. 5000 top material. Interestingly, some of the trim, including the raked windshield and Plexiglas sun visors, are similar to those found on Rollston-bodied Duesenbergs.
Having evidently remained on the East Coast since new, the car was owned by early CCCA member Frank “Bill” Stuhlman of Brooklyn, who listed it with that organization in 1958. In addition to having owned many Packards over the years, he was also a highly decorated World War II aviator who received the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other honors. It later passed into the ownership of David P. Pascale of Hoboken, New Jersey, in whose ownership it was originally restored by the late Jim Cox and won its CCCA Primary First Place at the Maryland Grand Classic in 1978. Eight years later it was acquired from Mr. Pascale by longtime CCCA member and renowned Packard collector Richard Haeberle, who would maintain it for nearly thirty years. During that time it was freshened and achieved Senior status, with a perfect 100-point score, while regularly appearing in East Coast Grand Classics and CARavans—for which its high-speed gears were ideal. In 1990 it was featured in Beverly Rae Kimes’s well-known book on the CCCA, its cars, and its personalities, The Classic Car.
The current owner had admired the fabulous Rollston Packard for decades and, in 2014, finally convinced Mr. Haeberle to sell the car. In his ownership it has continued to make occasional appearances, including in the spring 2015 issue of The Classic Car, as part of a special feature on Packard convertible Victorias. It has been an award winner at several concours d’elegance, most recently of special awards at the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s in both 2017 and 2018; it was also exhibited at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in both 2014 and 2018, the latter year as part of a special Rollston feature. It has been widely acclaimed everywhere it has been displayed.
The Packard has continued to be well-maintained and much loved, a promise kept to Mr. Haeberle at its acquisition, and is accompanied by its original Rollston build and order sheets, two blueprints developed as the design was being fine-tuned, and its original tools and jack.
Few Packards can claim the sheer presence of the Shattuck Rollston—a bespoke Fifteenth Series Twelve of wonderful purity and superb history, roomy and comfortable to enjoy on tours and CARavans, for which any purpose is ideal and no excuses need be made.