1934 Packard Twelve Coupe

Packard’s landmark 11th series was first introduced to the world on August 21st 1933. Considered a high-water mark for Classic Era Packard automobiles, the 11th series was among the last of the traditionally-styled Packards before streamlining trends began to influence the company’s design portfolio. Graceful and curvaceous, the 11th series is counted among the most beautiful of all pre-war American designs.

Keeping with tradition, the Standard Eight served as the entry model of the lineup, followed by the Super Eight with its additional power, trim and more luxurious body options. At the top of the range lay the prestigious and exclusive Twelve, which had been renamed from the earlier “Twin Six.” Packard’s magnificent 445.5 cubic-inch, side-valve V12 delivered 160 horsepower with turbine-like smoothness and in virtual silence. Along with the Packard’s typically exquisite build quality, it featured a fully synchronized 3-speed manual transmission, vacuum assisted clutch, adjustable ride control, and vacuum assisted four-wheel brakes. Beautifully engineered and built, the Packard 11th series is a genuine driver’s car with an effortless quality that belies its size. Packard’s overall 1934 production reached approximately 8,000 vehicles, however only 960 of those left the Detroit factory equipped with the expensive and prestigious twelve-cylinder engine.

As usual, Packard offered its customers a seemingly endless variety of standard, custom-catalog, or full custom coachwork. Buyers of the Twelve had no fewer than twenty-four different chassis and body combinations available to them in 1934. Three wheelbases were offered, the model 1106 at 134-inches, the 1107 at 141-inches, and the ultimate 146-inch 1108. Bodies ranged from sporty to formal, understated to extravagant. The 1107-738 would have been found in the upper-middle range, an elegant yet understated two/four-passenger coupe on the 141-inch wheelbase chassis. This handsome motorcar is one of the rarest of the 11th series, as many of the originals have been sacrificed to create convertibles. Today, a scant few genuine coupes survive intact.

Our featured 1934 Packard is one of approximately 8 known surviving examples of the twelve-cylinder model 1107-738 two/four-passenger coupe. This lovely Packard presents with a well-earned patina and careworn charm. According to information provided by previous owners, it was discovered in the 1950s in Illinois, and subsequently restored in the early 1960s. It earned a CCCA National First Prize shortly after that and is featured in Ed Blend’s seminal book “The Magnificent Packard Twelve of Nineteen Thirty Four.” Many years later, this car was purchased by noted Packard restorer and expert Marc Ohm, who found it to be in remarkably correct condition, retaining many of the original parts that so often go missing. He tidied the car up, serviced it as needed and enjoyed it on several CCCA CARavan tours before eventually selling it on to a fellow Packard collector in 1999, who has since retained the car in his extensive collection of significant Packards.

Our consignor reports this to be an excellent driving car that has needed little more than basic maintenance in the nearly 20 years he has owned and enjoyed it. It still presents with its 1960s restoration, and while the two-tone bronze/brown paint shows extensive cracking and imperfections, it maintains a certain charm and appeal in its patina. The body panels present in fair condition, appearing well-aligned with doors that shut with reassuring solidity. It sits proudly on the road, with painted wire wheels adorned with correct Packard Twelve hubcaps and blackwall tires. Chrome trim is complete and in good order overall, with straight bumpers featuring Packard’s unique vibration dampeners, correct-type Depress Beam headlights and a Goddess of Speed mascot atop the radiator. The body also features dual side-mount spare wheels with rare original metal covers and a folding trunk rack.

The interior is trimmed in brown leather which is pleasingly broken in, showing some wear on the outer bolster of the driver’s side, but is in presentable and sound condition. The carpets, door panels and headlining are excellent and show that the car has been enjoyed but properly cared for in the hands of its current and previous owners. The original instruments are clear and in tidy condition, as are the controls and switches. Features include twin vacuum wipers, adjustable ride control, Bijur chassis lubrication system, opening windscreen, and opening rear glass to converse with rumble seat passengers.

Packard’s 11th Series stands as one of the finest driving cars of the American Classic Era, and this example lives up to that expectation. The consignor reports he has enjoyed the car on the road for many years, using it regularly and ensuring it has been maintained in top mechanical condition; storing it in a climate controlled facility when not in use. The Stromberg carburetor has been rebuilt recently, and the car runs very well, with the signature smoothness and power expected of the legendary Packard 445.5 Cubic Inch V12. The relatively clean and orderly undercarriage further supports the well-maintained nature.

Single digit survival rates put this Packard 1107 Coupe in exclusive company. Lovingly looked after by marque experts, this rare and important motorcar remains suited to touring and everyday enjoyment while also being an excellent candidate for a cosmetic restoration to return it to its original Classic Era glamour.

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