Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria

Generating almost double the horsepower of the old V-12, it was billed as the Twin Six for the first year and then became famous as “The Twelve,” built until 1939 – perhaps the finest American car of the decade.

Designed by C.W. van Ranst, who had worked for Harry Miller and E.L. Cord, the engine was remarkably smooth, and with 322 foot-pounds of torque, it could propel enormous coach-built sedans and limousines to 60 mph in only 20 seconds.

The 67-degree engine was a modified L configuration, with valve stems almost horizontal and operated by a camshaft deep in the engine’s heads through roller rockers on hydraulically adjusted eccentrics. The result was almost completely silent.

Packard had concentrated on mechanical sophistication almost entirely through the 1920s, but style began to play a part in the 1930s, with a web of relationships. Most bodies emanated from LeBaron and the Murray Body Corporation, but while Edward Macauley headed Packard’s in-house styling department, along with Alex de Sakhnoffsky, Raymond Dietrich was the most influential figure. The influence of his 1929 Model 645 Deluxe Eight was still being felt in 1934.

The 1934 Packards were subtly modernized from the preceding year, with front fenders that now curved down almost to the front bumpers, which were wider, with stabilizing dampers fitted to the Twelves. Other changes involved trunks now integrated into the closed car bodies, higher seat backs and more luxurious upholstery, motor oil cooled by circulation through a core surrounded by radiator water, and an oil filter.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in March of 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.

160 hp, 445.5 cubic inch V-12 engine, three-speed manual synchromesh transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear live axle, four-wheel, vacuum-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 147"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Dan Savinelli and Darin Schnabel

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