- Formerly owned by renowned enthusiasts John Mozart and Otis Chandler
- Among the most beautiful vee-windshield Dietrich Individual Custom Packards
- One of just four surviving examples; original chassis, engine, and coachwork
- Superb full concours restoration completed in 2017
- Amelia Island Concours Best in Class and Pebble Beach Concours Class Award winner
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
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-inch 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.
VEHICLE NO. 904-85: AN EXTRAORDINARY PACKARD
The Convertible Victoria offered here was delivered by the Park Avenue Packard dealership in New York City on April 13, 1932. According to research by a well-known historian, it evidently remained on the East Coast with its earliest owners, as in 1950 it was titled to Russell Lewis of Washington, New Jersey. Mr. Lewis was a great Packard enthusiast; according to his son, this was his favorite automobile, maintained in his ownership in still largely original condition. With it he became one of the charter members of the Classic Car Club of America, listing the car in the Club’s earliest rosters. He kept the Packard until 1968, when it was sold to longtime admirer Richard Cantwell, also of New Jersey.
Graham Rowley of Goffstown, New Hampshire, bought the car only two years later, and in 1975 sold it to James Tharp of Palos Park, Illinois. Five years later the car was sold to the renowned collector John Mozart, an avid connoisseur of the Dietrich vee-windshield Packards, with whom it remained for over a decade.
In 1986 the Packard was purchased from Mr. Mozart by Otis Chandler, a name which also requires no introduction to the serious student of Full Classics. Shortly after beginning a restoration, Mr. Chandler was convinced to sell the car to Charles Wallace of Massachusetts; Wallace, in turn, passed the Packard to the Imperial Palace of Las Vegas, in whose hands the work was completed. Imperial Palace curator Richie Clyne well remembers insisting on a test drive of the completed Packard, with the restorer at his side – on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After driving the Packard at its limit and finding it without fault, Clyne happily took delivery and the restorer, somewhat green around the gills for the experience, accepted payment.
The car remained with the Imperial Palace until 1998, when, at the collection’s dissolution, it was bought back by an overjoyed Otis Chandler, who had always considered it something of “the one that got away.” It was acquired at a time when Chandler was building his second collection of Full Classics, having transitioned to muscle cars in the late 1980s before returning to his roots. Significantly, while other vehicles came and went from the Chandler stable, this Packard remained, indicative of the esteem in which it was held, until Mr. Chandler’s passing in 2006. Happily, it remained in the family, acquired from his estate by his cousin Franklin Otis Booth, Jr., also a prominent Los Angeles businessman and philanthropist. Booth, too, kept the car for the rest of his life, at which time it joined the current owner’s superb collection of Full Classics over a decade ago.
In 2016-17, the car received a full, 22-month-long concours restoration in the owner’s personal shop. Testament to the outstanding love and care given its presentation, it has since been a major award-winner, earning Best of Show at the Morgan Adams Concours d’Elegance in 2016, followed by a 2nd in Class at Pebble Beach in 2018 and Best in Class at Amelia Island in 2019, honors achieved amidst very strong competition. It remains extraordinarily beautiful, credit both to the care of its owner and the craftsmanship of the work, and it retains its original chassis, engine, and body, as-delivered in 1932.
There are many exceptional Packards, but this particular Individual Custom Convertible Victoria is something truly special – much-adored and treasured by enthusiasts literally back to the beginning of Classic Cars, carefully restored and maintained, and loved by all who know it. It is an automobile that inspires dedication. No wonder that Otis Chandler owned it twice.