Packard Twelve 7-Passenger Limousine

In 1917, Mrs. John D. Gordon, of Norwalk, Connecticut, purchased a new Pierce-Arrow, complete with the limousine body seen here. Mrs. Gordon retained the formal body and later had it mounted to this 1937 Packard Twelve chassis. Important early-Connecticut collector James Melton became the second owner of the car in 1950, when Mrs. Gordon gifted it to him; Melton, in turn, presented it to his wife as a Christmas present. In his book, Bright Wheels Rolling, Melton states, “Inasmuch, as this chassis only had about three thousand miles on it, there wasn’t a thousandth of wear anywhere…incidentally, this body had outlasted two other chassis before it was put on the Packard; and the same chauffeur drove it every mile of its life, from a Pierce-Arrow showroom in 1917 to the door of my museum in 1950!” Melton also playfully comments, “We also carry my daughter’s current miniature car up in the baggage rack on top. If she has another little girl traveling with her, we take two miniature cars in the rack…”

In 1961, the “Packard-Pierce” was sold as part of a group of cars to Winthrop Rockefeller, who placed them on display in his museum in Arkansas. William F. Harrah acquired the car in 1976 and retained it in his collection until 1984, when it was purchased by Mr. Robert Brinkman, of Glendale, California, and then by the O’Quinn Collection.

As-presented, this 1937 Packard is equipped with jump seats, bud vases, and dual side-mounts with full metal covers and pedestal mirrors. It was serviced as recently as 2009, as evidenced by a receipt for a master cylinder. With its history well-documented early on by James Melton, this truly superlative piece will generate ample conversation as a feature in any collection with a focus on Packards, Pierce-Arrows, or classics from virtually any era.

Part of the RM Auctions Hershey event in October, 2012.

175 bhp, 473.3 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 144.25 in.

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Theo Civitello

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