Packard Historian Beverly Rae Kimes describes the Packard Twelves of the 1930s as “the ultimate in conveyances to emanate from East Grand Boulevard” (Packard’s historic headquarters and factory). Although Packard had produced a fine, earlier twelve-cylinder car known as the ‘Twin Six’, the Packard Twelve offered from 1933 through 1939 became one of the most esteemed automobiles of the Classic Era. Introduction of the Packard Twelve came about as a result of marketing need and engineering serendipity. Cadillac created an enormous advantage in the luxury market with the introduction of a V-16 engine at the 1930 New York Auto Show. This was followed by the introduction of a new V-12 the following year, giving Cadillac a full range of 8, 12, and 16-cylinder engines. In addition to Packard, luxury automakers Lincoln, Pierce-Arrow and Franklin all responded with new V-12 engines – the others at great expense for development. Packard’s new V-12 was already in development by Indianapolis champion Tommy Milton and Cornelius Van Ranst, who was instrumental in creation of the Cord L-29, for a front-wheel drive Packard. That project was stillborn, but Milton and Van Ranst were paid $10,000 for development of the V-12 engine that quickly found its way into a new Packard model built on the long wheelbase Deluxe chassis and carrying a wide range of factory and custom bodies.
Packard’s legendary chief engineer Jesse Vincent brought an ongoing series of developments to the new Twelve engine and chassis. By Packard’s Fourteenth Series in 1936, the 473 c.i.d. V-12 produced 175 hp, only 10 hp less than Cadillac’s V-16. The engine was matched with a three-speed selective synchromesh manual transmission. Mechanical–vacuum assisted brakes on all four wheels were standard, as well as wire wheels. In spite of dwindling sales in the continuing Depression years, the Twelve was offered in fifteen factory body styles in 1936 on long 139 in. and 144 in. chassis. Production of 1936 Packard Twelves totaled only 682 cars. The Twelve coupe was one of the more exclusive body styles offered, designed for the gentleman, or woman, who desired to drive and enjoy the power of the V-12 engine for themselves.
This smart looking 1936 Packard Model 1407 Coupe is stunning to observe, and an absolutely outstanding example of both the Twelve chassis and the coupe body style. This Packard underwent a full restoration to concours quality, probably ten to fifteen years ago. Today the car presents as a gorgeous automobile for showing or touring, and a CCCA Full Classic™. A close observation of the exterior reveals the grandeur of the big coupe and many outstanding features. The sunny yellow paint is accented with a dark red corresponding with the cloisonné Packard wheel centers and still presents nicely, as does the chrome trim. The long hood is flanked with dual body color enclosed side mount spares, each mounted with rear view mirror. The sides of the hood feature stylish, art deco horizontal hood vents that flow back most of the length of the hood highlighted by slender chrome trim. Other special features include locking golf bag doors on both sides, body colored Trippe Lights that are understood to be a Packard-approved dealer-installed accessory, and the very correct hinged luggage rack. A rumble seat is an unexpected discovery at the rear of the car.
The interior is very nice, upholstered in high quality pleated tan broadcloth while the exposed rumble seat is finished in tan leather. The dashboard features a chrome central gauge panel with an authentic Packard rotary radio. Windshield and door window trim is painted with an excellent woodgrain finish, and the rear window raises and lowers for fresh air by means of a rotary knob. A graceful Packard Cormorant hood ornament adorns the stately radiator to be equally enjoyed by the driver. The finish and detail under the hood is outstanding, painted in Packard green with black accessories and plated trim that includes the very impressive acorn head bolts – 21 to a side!
A fabulous car to drive, this is an excellent example of a seldom seen Senior Packard that can be enjoyed for many years with minimal effort, and will only increase in value. The sporty appearance resulting from the exterior color, trim and accessories make this a Packard that will be welcomed enthusiastically for either shows or tours.