Packard Twelve Coupe Roadster

By the 1930s, the Packard Motor Car Company already possessed a wealth of experience with 12-cylinder engines. Their first, the Twin Six of 1916-1923, had become almost synonymous with the genre and was phased out in favor of the simpler and more advanced Single Eight that was introduced in 1924. While the Single Eight set new standards for smoothness and agility during the late 1920s, the rekindled multi-cylinder wars had resumed in earnest by the onset of the 1930s in Detroit. Cadillac introduced both its V-16 in 1930 and its V-12 in 1931, while Auburn, Marmon, Pierce-Arrow and even Franklin had their own 12-cylinder engines in the wings for 1932.

Resurrecting the “Twin Six” name, Packard met this new competitive threat with a completely new engine. A large-displacement V-12 design with a 67-degree cylinder-bank angle, development of this new power unit was the happy by-product of an aborted front-wheel drive development project. As released, the new Twelve initially displaced 445 cubic inches, 20 more than the old Twin Six, while developing 75 percent more power. In 1933, the model name was simplified to “Packard Twelve,” and two years later, engine displacement rose to 473 cubic inches, and output now climbed accordingly to 175 brake horsepower.

Overall, the Packard Twelve was a conservative car with finely tailored lines, elegant appointments, a refined chassis and a whisper-quiet, 12-cylinder engine. All-new bodies introduced for 1935 offered true envelope styling with the body, hood, fenders and running boards incorporated into a smooth design. In addition, increased horsepower and improvements in suspension and steering, along with improved engine mounts, provided ease of operation and dramatically improved passenger comfort.

While the 1936 models were virtually unchanged, the Fifteenth Series of 1937 brought a comprehensive series of mechanical improvements. Most notably, the introduction of “Safe-T-Flex” independent front suspension, based on the sound design of the junior One-Twenty, debuted on the “Senior” Packard models. Other improvements included the adoption of hydraulic brakes, disc-type steel wheels and the elimination of the Bijur central chassis lubrication system.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2011 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan and in July of 2012 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan.

175 bhp, 473 cu. in. 67-degree V-12 engine, three-speed synchromesh manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel, vacuum-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

Gallery: Packard Twelve Coupe Roadster