Few American cars capture the spirit of Classic Era elegance and prestige quite like a Packard Twelve. The Twelve served as Packard’s flagship from 1932 (then known as the Twin-Six) through 1939, and the range highlighted the company’s commitment to engineering excellence and unrivaled quality. Coachbuilders worldwide used the Packard Twelve chassis to show off their skills, with Dietrich and LeBaron responsible for many of the most memorable and elegant creations. Dietrich had a long-standing relationship with Packard, and many of their designs were featured as “custom catalog” options, produced by the factory body shop. Among the most desirable of Dietrich styles is the Convertible Victoria, a handsome two-door, five-passenger open car defined by its broad blind quarters and low, sporting profile. It was offered in various forms throughout the pre-war era and was typically one of the most expensive and exclusive open designs.
Packard introduced the Sixteenth series midway through 1937 as a 1938 model. The Twelve returned, though slumping sales meant this was its penultimate year as the company flagship. Several formal and sporting bodies were offered, and the Dietrich-designed Convertible Victoria returned as style number 1127 in the catalog. At $5,230, it was the second-most costly body available on the 134-inch 1607 chassis, and it would prove to be one of the rarest.
Packard produced just 566 of the twelve-cylinder 1607/1608 series, and this stunning 1607 Dietrich Convertible Victoria is one of only a handful of its kind built. This superb example was treated to a comprehensive body-off, nut-and-bolt restoration completed in 2002, and has since earned numerous awards, including a CCCA National First Place award, and earned an appearance alongside the best of the best in the Packard Circle of Champions. Finished in an appropriately sporting shade of crimson, it is a marvelous automobile with enormous presence. Fittingly for a sporting open Packard, it features a host of accessories including dual senior Trippe lights, cormorant mascot, twin side-mount spares with painted covers, Packard-script mirrors, an Appleton spotlight, and a factory trunk rack. Paint quality is excellent all around, and the body displays good fit, finish, and detailing. The brightwork is similarly well presented and in fine order all around.
The luxurious cabin is trimmed in burgundy mottled leather with matching carpets. Details include restored instruments, the correct factory radio integrated into the gauge cluster, factory heater, and a proper three-spoke banjo steering wheel. Controls, switches, and interior brightwork are all in excellent condition. The soft top is trimmed in beige Haartz canvas and includes a matching canvas boot to keep the lines clean with the top folded. Signs of use are notable in the upholstery, particularly in the light creasing of the driver’s seat and slight wear on the carpets. However, it remains quite inviting, with an honest charm of a car that has been enjoyed as originally intended.
Power comes from Packard’s 473.3 cubic-inch L-head V12, rated for upwards of 180 horsepower. Beyond horsepower and torque figures, the Twelve was all about refinement and silent operation. Paired with a comparatively light body like this Convertible Victoria, the Packard Twelve is a formidable performer with superlative road manners and cruising ability, with powerful hydraulic brakes and independent front suspension. This car’s V12 is finished in the proper shade of green and detailed with correct chrome hardware and period-appropriate fasteners, wiring, and fittings. Since its restoration, the owners have toured occasionally in the car, and like other areas, the engine displays a subtle patina.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire one of a mere handful of Series 1607 Dietrich Convertible Victorias extant. With its high-quality, well-maintained restoration, this example is the ideal companion for touring and driving events, with a striking presence that invites enthusiastic use.
Offers welcome and trades considered