In its long and illustrious history, there are numerous shining examples of why Packard consistently stood head and shoulders above its rivals, year after year. From the company’s inception in 1899, the Packard name represented quality and uncompromising excellence. In 1913, Packard’s recently-hired chief engineer, Jesse Vincent, began work on a sophisticated new V12 engine to power the company’s flagship models, and firmly establish the marque as the undisputed king of American luxury. The typically conservative board gave Vincent the green light to develop the engine for aircraft use, which progressed into approval for motorcar production. Ahead of its launch in 1916, Packard’s president drove a Twin Six half-way across the country in grueling conditions, and declared it “the greatest piece of machinery that ever went upon the highways.”
Following a hiatus, the Packard V12 returned in 1932 as an all-new clean sheet L-head design. The Twin Six name also returned; however, the marketing department changed it to the more upscale-sounding Twelve from 1933 onward. As it had with the original Twin Six, Packard engineers created a truly superb engine that delivered seamless power with unparalleled refinement for a truly exceptional driving experience. It held its place as the flagship of the marque through 1939, providing us some of the most exquisite and sought-after automobiles of the Classic Era.
The 1207-839 Coupe-Roadster offered here represents one of the most desirable, breathtakingly elegant Packards of the period. The Twelfth series marked a significant step forward in Packard styling, as designers fully embraced the latest streamlined styling trends. Features like bullet headlights, a painted radiator shell, and deeply skirted fenders imparted the new models with a lower, more flowing, and substantial appearance. Between the two V12 chassis options, buyers could select one of fifteen body styles – ten on the standard chassis, and five for the long-wheelbase. The illustrious Dietrich name (now under the auspices of Murray Body Corp) would disappear after 1935, but not before turning out a final flourish of spectacular machines such as this gorgeous 2/4 passenger Coupe-Roadster.
Packard produced just 781 twelve-cylinder cars in total during 1935, and a mere handful received Dietrich’s luscious Coupe Roadster coachwork. Some experts place the number at just 51, and only a handful survive today. This superb example once belonged to the respected Packard collector and enthusiast Zach Brinkerhoff. He bought and sold well over 100 Packards through his years of collecting, though this Coupe Roadster remained a proud highlight of his collection until his passing. After acquiring the car from a Pebble Beach judge in California, Brinkerhoff brought it to the highly respected expert Mr. Mark Clayton of Clayton Restorations in Colorado, who performed the restoration.
The most recent owner acquired the Coupe-Roadster from Brinkerhoff’s estate and immediately turned it back to Clayton to bring it to the standard it presents today. The extensive list of tasks included rebuilding the mighty V12 engine, restored brightwork, new glass, and details like restored cloisonné badges, clock, and factory radio. As a finishing touch, the owner sourced a genuine Packard trunk that he had restored and painted to match the body. The owner has thoroughly enjoyed and cherished the car in his years of ownership, participating in numerous concours and Packard Automobile Club events, earning a coveted People’s Choice award in a highly competitive field of fellow Packard owners.
It is a strikingly beautiful motorcar, with deep maroon paintwork in superb condition. Options and accessories include dual sidemount spare wheels with body-color covers, fog lamps, goddess of speed mascot, a trunk rack, and the Packard trunk. The chrome and bright trim are all in superb order, and the car rolls on gorgeous chrome wire wheels with period correct whitewall tires.
Supple tan leather is a highlight of the beautifully detailed two-seat cabin. It presents in near-concours condition, showing only the slightest evidence of use since the restoration work. The level of detail is impressive, with intricate wood grain effect on the dash and steering wheel, exquisitely restored instruments, a rebuilt factory radio, and gorgeous wood door caps with inlaid banding. Matching materials are used in the rumble seat area, which appears virtually unused.
For the Twelfth Series, the V12 engine received several notable improvements, including aluminum cylinder heads and an increase in stroke. The changes also boosted displacement to 473.3 cubic inches and output to a Cadillac Sixteen-matching 175 horsepower. With an all-synchro gearbox and boosted brakes, the 1207 has superb road manners and is one of the best driving Packards of the pre-war era. The mighty twelve in this car is in beautiful order under the hood and is properly detailed with correct finishes and hardware, showing some signs of light use. Thanks to the efforts of the previous owner and Mr. Clayton, it runs exceptionally well with all of the effortless power and refinement expected of the legendary Packard Twelve.
To many enthusiasts, the 1935 Twelve represents the zenith of Packard’s pre-war effort, as few cars before or since seamlessly blended stunning Classic Era proportions with such exceptional, easy-going road manners. Rare, beautifully restored, and maintained in excellent order, this Coupe Roadster is one of the finest examples we’ve had the pleasure to offer.
Offers welcome and trades considered