Motor City | Lot 145
1941 Packard Custom Super Eight One Eighty Sport Brougham by LeBaron
$104,500 USD | Sold
| Plymouth, Michigan
26 July 2014
- An extremely rare factory “semi-custom” by LeBaron
- One of only 99 produced, with fewer than 30 known survivors
- Wonderfully original, with known history from new
- A veteran CARavan and VMCCA tour participant
Series 1907. 160 hp, 356 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission with factory overdrive, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 138 in.
As the custom coachbuilding industry faded out of existence in the early 1940s, American luxury automakers slowly discontinued the factory-catalogued “semi-customs” that had topped their lines for over a decade. Packard was among the last to offer bodies by coachbuilders Rollson and LeBaron, with the latter being a division of Briggs by 1941, but it still produced beautifully appointed and largely hand-built bodies in limited numbers.
Most of LeBaron’s final Packard offerings were formal limousines, to be driven by a chauffeur. However, in 1941 only, an “owner-driver” variant, the Sport Brougham, could also be had. It was essentially Packard’s version of the Cadillac Series 60 Special, and it featured a striking design with narrow chromed window frames and a “formal” rear window on the shorter 1907 chassis, with a sumptuously appointed five-passenger interior. Only 99 Sport Broughams were built, and survivors are quite rare.
The car offered here has had its history traced back to its sale when new in 1941, when it was sold by the legendary Earle C. Anthony Packard dealership in Los Angeles. Original owner August Herzeler, despite LeBaron’s intentions, was chauffeured in the car, and he had it lovingly maintained by Anthony’s shop before trading it back to the dealer in 1948. One of the salesmen at the dealership saw, appreciated, and purchased the well-maintained Sport Brougham, which for six years was garaged in the dealership’s sub-basement, along with Mr. Anthony’s own personal antique Packards.
Robert E. Carter, an early CCCA member and well-respected collector, bought the car from Earle C. Anthony in 1954 and owned it for two decades. It passed briefly through the hands of Ray Hunter to another well-known Southern California enthusiast, Wayne Bemis. Mr. Bemis owned the car until 1980, when legendary collector Matt Browning, of Utah, convinced him to sell. After seven years of being able to seldom use the Packard due to illness, Mr. Browning sold the Packard back to Mr. Bemis. It went on to be owned by Robert Escalante, owner of respected Packard service facility Custom Auto Service, and then by Art Astor before its acquisition by the present owner, a long-time enthusiast of Classic Packards.
Even though it was repainted in the 1970s, this car remains otherwise beautifully preserved and extremely original, including its factory-fitted Laidlaw wool broadcloth upholstery and Mosstred carpets, which show only minor wear. Even the wood-grained dashboard and grey plastic trim have survived the decades well. The car is equipped with hydraulic window lifts, factory overdrive, a deluxe heater/defroster, an electric winding clock, and a Philco P-1835 eight-tube pushbutton radio with a roof antenna.
The car has only recently covered its 80,000th actual mile, and it is reported to run and drive beautifully, which is a testament that is confirmed by its completion of both the Glidden and Chrome Glidden Tours, as well as a CCCA CARavan. It has been awarded the Veteran Motor Car Club of America’s highest honor, the Golden Award of Excellence, as well as the George L. Weiss Memorial Trophy for the Best Pre-World War II Packard.
This wonderful LeBaron “semi-custom,” boasting long-term history that involves one of Packard’s most famous names, stands ready for continued, reliable road service, just as it has been enjoyed, in its original condition, for so many years.