Packard 745 Deluxe Eight Convertible Victoria
With the purchase of the defunct Woonsocket Manufacturing, of Providence, Rhode Island, in 1928, Waterhouse Company was founded. Former Judkins employee Charles L. Waterhouse, his son L. Osborne Waterhouse, and financiers Roger Clapp and S. Roberts Dunham set out with the initial goal of supplying bodies for the duPont motorcar, a contract that had been previously held by Woonsocket. After moving the operation to Webster, Massachusetts, the startup sustained itself by taking orders for the manufacture of boat hulls, in addition to taking in the odd collision repair job.
George Briggs Weaver had been designing automobile bodies for Woonsocket since 1926 and offered his services to the newly established Waterhouse. In a positive confluence of events, Waterhouse was awarded the contract for production of duPont bodies, and Weaver was hired to oversee the engineering department at duPont motors in Wilmington, Delaware. This made him effectively available to design for Waterhouse while minimizing the financial strain of an additional employee on a fledgling company.
With the notoriety and traction afforded by the duPont contract, the firm earned the opportunity to clothe many prestige chassis, including Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Stutz, and Marmon. In a short but distinguished run, the firm produced approximately 296 bodies: 131 are believed to have been built on the Packard chassis, with eleven of them being sport sedans and the rest being convertible victorias.
The blind quarter victoria was Waterhouse’s trademark and is notable as one of the earliest American-built bodies to incorporate European styling. The extremely long, low profile on this coachbuilt Packard further benefits from a low, raked windshield and a graceful fender line, which has since come to characterize the Classic Era. For 1931 models, the cowl was moved forward to provide additional interior legroom, which shortened the hood line by five inches and makes the longer 745 far more desirable. These striking body lines captured attention in the industry, particularly from competitors; imitations of the Weaver-penned designs soon took its toll on the firm and custom body production ended a mere six years after it began.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2012 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan.
106 bhp, 384.8 cu. in. inline L-head eight-cylinder engine, four-speed transmission, solid front axle with leaf spring suspension and solid rear with hypoid gear drive, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase 145.5"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Matt Hughes