Packard Twelve 5-Passenger Phaeton

Packard discontinued its first V-12, the massive Twin Six, after 1923, replacing it with the smaller Single Eight, which outperformed it. After Cadillac brought out a V-16 in 1930, however, and then a V-12, Packard was drawn back into the cylinder race. The response was a new Twin Six, one with no resemblance to the old. At 445.5 cubic inches, it was larger than its predecessor, and with a 67-degree vee, it was wider. Most importantly, it vastly outperformed it, 160 bhp to the old engine’s 90. When introduced in January 1932, an amazing 22 body styles were offered, priced from $3,745 to $7,950, but fewer than 550 V-12 cars were sold during the model year.

For 1933 the line was re-christened simply “Packard Twelve,” and while the marketing was just as ambitious, the results were nearly the same as the previous year, with 540 cars built. Finally, in 1934 the market improved, and sales nearly doubled. All Packards received new, more streamlined bodies in 1935. The Twelve gained aluminum heads and a quarter-inch of stroke.

Raymond Dietrich was hired in 1913 as an apprentice draftsman at Brewster & Co. in New York. He was just 19. Brewster sent him to the Andrew F. Johnson Technical School, then the most rigorous education available in the field of coachbuilding. Upon graduation, he defected to Chevrolet as assistant body engineer. Then, as Chevrolet was sold to General Motors, Dietrich went back to Brewster, met Tom Hibbard, and shortly the two of them went out on their own to form LeBaron, Inc. In 1925, however, Edsel Ford lured Dietrich to Detroit, where he accepted an invitation to form Dietrich, Inc., in partnership with the Murray Corporation of America, a body supplier to much of the Detroit auto industry.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2012 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.

175 bhp, 473.3 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension, four-wheel power-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139.25"

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Packard Twelve 5-Passenger Phaeton