Packard Twelve 2/4-Passenger Coupe Roadster

Many consider the 1935 to 1939 Twelves to be the finest automobiles ever produced by the Packard Motor Car Company. It is certainly true that they represented the end of an era – never again would Packard offer the exceptional quality of a hand-built “senior” car. In 1936, there were a total of approximately 5,100 production workers at Packard and 2,500 of them worked on building 5,985 senior cars, while the remaining 2,600 workers produced an astounding 55,042 of the “junior” Packard 120 models. This distribution of labor is particularly revealing of Packard’s staunch commitment to producing the finest automobiles, even while economic pressures encouraged a move to produce higher volumes of relatively inexpensive vehicles in the medium-price range.

For 1935, Packard introduced many changes that have made these later senior cars among the most highly prized collector cars today. Additional horsepower and improvements in their suspension and steering made the 1935 and later cars considerably easier and more comfortable to drive. Stylistically, for the first time, the car was designed as a whole, with body, hood, fenders and running boards integrated into a smoothly executed design. Together with a beautifully elongated hood, these senior Packards have long been regarded among the most attractive automobiles of the era, epitomizing the ultimate in Art Deco-inspired elegance.

While the Fourteenth Series for 1936 was largely carried over from the previous year, their careful improvements remain important to collectors today, most notably including a new radiator shell, raked back five degrees to give the car a much sleeker look. The Fourteenth Series also marked the last year for the very attractive 17-inch wire wheels and the traditional double-blade bumpers with hydraulic dampers. The example offered here carries the very attractive 2/4-passenger Coupe Roadster body style, which is unique in combining the sporting appeal of a two-door open car with the ability to carry two couples in luxury and comfort.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

175 bhp, 473 cu. in. side-valve, V12 engine, three-speed synchromesh manual transmission, front beam axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

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