$3,305,000 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
- Formerly owned by Armin 'Mitty' Mittermaier and Otis Chandler
- The sole example built on the 1006 Twelve chassis; featured in factory photography
- Wonderful known, documented, and researched provenance
- Well-preserved restoration by Bob Mosier, with numbers-matching chassis, engine, and body wood
- A Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
- One of the very finest Dietrich Individual Custom Packards
Very few of the elite, costly and beautiful “vee-windshield” Dietrich Individual Custom bodies were built on Packard’s short-lived 1933 Tenth Series Twelve chassis. Among them was this convertible victoria, body number 6212. Vehicle number 1006-22 appears to have been the sole Tenth Series Dietrich Individual Custom convertible victoria built and significantly, it is the same car seen in factory studio photography, taken on the famous turntable where many of the greatest Packards of this era took their turn before the cameras.
According to the recollections of long-term future owner Armin “Mitty” Mittermaier, published in the June 1988 issue of The Classic Car, 1006-22 was delivered new via the Packard dealer in Hartford, Connecticut. Mr. Mittermaier noted that, having remained in that area since, it was sold by its third owner in 1950 to Frank Akutowicz of Windsor. Mr. Akutowicz subsequently relocated with the car to attend Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and in early 1953 responded to Mr. Mittermaier’s want ad in the January 1953 issue of Motor Trend seeking a 1932, 1933, or 1934 Dietrich convertible victoria.
Mr. Mittermaier traveled to Pennsylvania from his home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and recalled later his first view of the Packard, still in its original two-tone green paint and interior. “WOW! A dozen WOWs! This Packard was fantastic. I was elated to the nth degree. No two ways about it, I had to have this car, come what will. I was on Cloud 9, or maybe 10, 11, or 12. I don’t remember anything about lunch, except that we ate it.” Significantly to the point made above, photographs of the car, taken upon its arrival after being driven from Fort Wayne, show all of its details matching the factory studio photos, down to the treads on what were likely the original tires.
Mr. Mittermaier drove his new Packard on a portion of the first CCCA National CARavan, held later in 1953, driving from his home to Toledo, then onward to Detroit, where the car was actually driven on the famed Packard Proving Grounds at 60 mph. Subsequently he began the restoration himself, noting in the fascinating detailed Classic Car article that the Packard’s sound condition allowed for the preservation of not only the original frame, engine, and much of the body wood, but even as many small trim pieces as possible—a sympathetic restoration philosophy common today but unheard-of in the 1950s. The rebuild of the original engine alone took two years, with the new valve guides and springs, timing chain, and gaskets bought directly from Packard!
Following completion of the restoration, the Packard became literally a focal point of the Mittermaiers’ new home, ensconced in a purpose-built “viewing room” where visiting friends could literally sit around the Dietrich and chat. The car emerged only a handful of times over the years for shows and photography, including a 1985 exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts in which the public selected it as the “grandest” of a dozen automobiles displayed to mark the DIA’s 100th anniversary.
“Mitty” prized the Dietrich Packard until his passing in 1993. Four years later it was sold out of the “viewing room” to renowned collector, Otis Chandler, who had pursued it for years. Mr. Chandler undertook a fresh restoration with the respected restorer, Bob Mosier, who later recalled that virtually none of the inner wood structure had to be replaced and that, in fact, the door skins were not even removed from their framing. Some 300 photographs of the work, remaining in the file, testify both to the car’s excellent condition prior to restoration and to the quality of Mr. Mosier’s workmanship. Mr. Chandler’s original and unrestored 1006 Dietrich convertible sedan was utilized as a template for the authentic finishes seen throughout. Mr. Mosier noted that “Otis never held you back,” commenting that the car was delivered not only cosmetically perfect but in excellent mechanical condition, ready for enjoyment on the road. The Packard went on to win Best of Show at the 2002 Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance and to achieve two 100-point scores in CCCA National judging, earning its Senior badge.
Following Mr. Chandler’s passing, the convertible victoria was acquired from his estate in 2006 by a prominent Northern California enthusiast, only its third owner in 67 years. The new caretaker exhibited the car at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, its first appearance at that august venue, when its nearly decade-old restoration still took 2nd in an always fiercely competitive class. Afterward the Packard was maintained exceptionally well, its owner taking pride in its ability to cruise steadily on the highway at 65 mph with power in reserve.
Since December 2020, the car has been one of the centerpieces in a collection of Full Classics maintained by an enthusiast of both 12-cylinder Packards and, more pointedly, the convertible victoria body style. It has continued to be well-kept and its restoration remains in excellent condition. Accompanying is a history file including the aforementioned restoration photography and Classic Car article, both testament to the outstanding care of the car’s former owners—among them the revered Otis Chandler and, of course, “Mitty,” whose diligence and thoughtfulness preserved his favorite automobile, worthy of a dozen WOWs, for future generations.
In every regard, it is an outstanding Individual Custom Dietrich Packard.