Packard Deluxe Eight Convertible Victoria
Many consider Packard’s Model 840 and 845 Deluxe Eights to rank among the marque’s ultimate models of the early 1930s. Their long wheelbases provided the ultimate platform for the custom coachbuilders of the era to create what many consider their finest designs. For 1931, Packard moved the cowl forward, creating even more space for increasingly luxurious custom coachbuilt creations.
Mechanically, the Eighth Series big eights represented the peak of development for Packard’s huge, silent and smooth inline engine. It is also worth noting that the Seventh- and Eighth-Series cars were fitted with four-speed transmissions, giving greater flexibility and improved performance. Most Packards were production cars – well built, luxurious, smooth and quiet. Even these were frighteningly expensive, selling for the price of a very nice house. Far rarer, even more expensive and much more desirable are the one-of-a-kind customs built by the great design houses of the time – many of whom looked to the latest innovations in Europe for ideas.
In 1929, a brilliant designer named Alexis de Sakhnoffsky was commissioned by the Belgian firm of Vanden Plas to build a special body on a Packard chassis. His bold new design was innovative, combining the virtues of a five-passenger coupe with those of a roadster. The resulting car debuted at the Monte Carlo Concours d’Elegance, where it took the grand prize.
So appealing was the design that it was not long before the idea crossed the ocean. The aggressive young firm Waterhouse and Company, on a Packard 745 chassis, built the first Convertible Victoria in America, and the result was truly striking. The long hood of the 745 was particularly well suited to the close-coupled new body, with its rakishly angled windshield. More than a copy of de Sakhnoffsky’s design, these new convertible Victorias combined European flair with American style, creating an overnight sensation. Waterhouse may have introduced the Convertible Victoria style to America, but one of its most successful proponents was Rollston, which built refined versions for Duesenberg, Lincoln, Packard and Stutz.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona, in July of 2011 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan and in March of 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
120 bhp, 385 cu. in. inline eight-cylinder side valve engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with front and rear leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel