- Chassis # 1708-2014
- Engine # B602402
- 1 Of Only 2 Examples Produced In 1939
- Sold New By Famed Earl C. Anthony's Wilshire Motors
- Believed To Have Been Owned By LA Playboy And Sugar Magnate Adolf Spreckles
- Freshly Serviced And Ready To Be Shown And Toured
The Packard Twelve was a series of V12-powered luxury cars built by Packard in two generations from 1916 to 1939 to compete with other luxury brands like Pierce-Arrow, Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, and Lincoln who began offering the same number of cylinders in their cars. The second generation of the Twelve saw some cars being built with custom coachwork, but nowhere near as many as were custom prior to the Great Depression. Packard employed the famed coachbuilder Brunn & Co, known for producing bodies for Rolls-Royces, Pierce-Arrows, and Lincolns, to produce a few coach-bodied examples between 1937 and 1939, one of which was the Touring Cabriolet. The 17th Series Packard Twelves built-in 1939 served as the last year of the model.
The 1939 Packard Twelve Touring Cabriolet had a partial convertible top and retained the eponymous V12 engine. It put out 175 hp through a column-mounted three-speed manual transmission and featured independent front suspension and hydraulic drum brakes. The assembled Packard chassis was shipped to Buffalo, NY where Brunn mounted the body for $150. A finished production car measured 19’6” in length, 78” in width, and a 139” wheelbase. When topped off with fluids, it weighs around 6,000 lbs, over 1,000 lbs more than the top-of-the-line Hummer H3 Alpha.
The interior was as luxurious as the price tag would suggest, with features such as a Jaeger clock, burled wood grain surfaces, rear cloth seats, built-in umbrella, glass divider, food cushions, automatic choke, and wooden running boards to allow the car to get close enough to the curb so passengers did not step into the street.
Sales of the regular Twelve fell to just 500 units in 1939, with only 21 Brunn-bodied cars ever produced: ten in 1937, nine in 1938, and a mere two in 1939.
This particular example, Chassis # 17082014, is one of only two Brunn bodied Touring Cabriolets produced in 1939. The exterior is finished in black with a striking tan interior. This Packard’s storied journey began in 1939 when it was sold new by Earl C. Anthony, who was the sole Packard distributor for the entire state of California, a radio and television station owner, an Edsel dealer, one of the developers of the gasoline service station, and a pioneer in inter-urban bus transportation.
The car was originally sold to Adolph B. Spreckels Jr., a California businessman and the heir of the Spreckels Sugar Company. Mr. Spreckels Jr. was an infamous playboy in his day and liked to treat his mistress to all the fancy things her heart desired, an act that later earned him the nickname of “Sugar Daddy,” a term that survives to this day. Something that was unique to Mr. Spreckles Jr.’s cars, and is present in this Packard as well, are the radio controls that were relocated to the backseat. This was reportedly so that he could scan through the radio stations and hear the gossip about his adventures from the night before.
After Mr. Spreckles Jr.’s adventures with this Packard came to an end, the car made its way to Washington State where it spent a significant amount of time. It once more traveled to Arizona where it likely spent most of that period of time outside, with the elements taking a toll on its elegant coachwork. The car was later rescued and made its way to Texas then back to its home state of California in 2009 where it likely received the restoration it deserved. Dr & Sir Luxury Car, LLC bought it in 2017 and investing around $10,000 into the engine, brakes, and tires.
This Packard also recently received a new voltage regulator and an amp gauge rebuild from Leading Edge Autosport in West Chester, PA, ensuring reliable starts. Non-service-wise, both the exterior and interior received a comprehensive detail from Museo Detail in Chester, PA.
Upon purchase, the new owner will receive copies of the car’s previous service records and a detailed history report written up by Dr & Sir Luxury Car, LLC.
body and paint
The black paint throughout the car is in good serviceable condition with good color but showing signs of its age in some places. There are some paint chips on the front that have been touched up. There is some bubbling in the paint along seams on both the driver and passenger side doors as well as some cracking near where the convertible top comes back on the passenger side. There are some light scratches on the passenger side fender. The paint on the trunk is a little runny and shows some stressing under the paint. The body of the car is nice and straight with no major issues. All panel gaps appear to be consistent and show good tolerances.
glass and trim
The glass throughout the car is relatively clear with some minor pitting and light scratches but overall shows to be in sound condition. The brightwork throughout the car is in relatively good condition with good shine but some minor aging to the chrome as well as some light scratching on areas such as the trip safety lights located in the front of the car. The rear bumper is a little hazy and shows a bit more scuffing and scratching than some of the rest of the car. The headlights lenses are nice and clear. The marker lights mounted on top of the fenders show a little bit of aging and discoloration. The taillights have some minor scratching and pitting but appear to be structurally sound although the license plate light cover is cracked on the driver's side. The rubber trim throughout the car has begun to show its age and is cracked especially around the front windshield. Most of the rubber appears to be quite firm and has lost most of its color and supple nature. The running board rubber shows some cracking around the edges as well as some discoloration but overall remains structurally sound.
The wheels show in presentable condition with some chipping in the painted surfaces throughout all 4 wheels. The chrome presents much like the rest of the car with some good shine but showing some scuffing and minor pitting.
Overall this car presents very nicely but does show signs of being an older restoration with some normal wear and tear beginning to present itself. There are some minor paint issues as well as some older chrome and rubber items that have begun to show their age. Please refer to the detailed photos above for a better understanding of the current condition of the vehicle.
seats and surfaces
The interior of the car presents very nicely. The front driver seat contains relatively smooth and issue-free leather with good color. There is some minor creasing forming along the buttons and pleats of the seat but no tearing or separating. The wood throughout the front of the car presents very nicely with beautiful grain although it does appear to be a bit dry in places. The two small glove boxes on the outsides of the front dash appear to be a little miss-aligned. The gauges are all in good order with nice color and are good and readable. There is some slight dirt accumulation forming under some of them but overall they remain in good condition. The brightwork throughout the interior shows much like the exterior of the car in good serviceable condition but with some scratching, pitting, and general wear visible. The headliner throughout the car remains tight and clean. There is some rubber trim on the driver's side door which has come unglued and flops down a bit. The rear of the car is finished nicely in tan cloth and it presents very nicely with no real wear to show. The wood throughout the back seating area of the car is likewise very nice with excellent grain. There is some light fraying around the edges of the convertible top on the inside rear of the car. Again, the chrome and brightwork in the rear compartment remains in nice serviceable condition. The speaker cover mounted in the rear bulkhead does show a bit more wear to the cloth covering than the rest of the rear compartment.
functionality and accessories
The gauges all appear to read their requisite functions as they should, with the exception of the dash-mounted clock which we do not believe is currently working. The windows roll up and down with ease and the metal covers that sit over the top of the frame when the windows are down are a beautiful touch. It does not appear that the interior dome light in the rear of the car is currently working and the Jager clock mounted in the rear bulkhead also does not appear to be working. We do not believe that the interesting rear-mounted radion controls are currently working, along with the cigarette lighter on the driver's side of the passenger compartment. The driver's side rear door hold open strap has some issues and does not retract properly into the door.
There are some minor items that could use attention on the interior of the car mostly relegated to trim work, the misaligned glove boxes, and non-functioning electronic items. Overall though, the interior remains in great condition and is certainly a nice place to pilot the vehicle or ride in style. Please refer to the detailed photos above for a better understanding of the current condition of the vehicle.
engine bay and trunk
The engine bay presents very nicely and is largely correct minus a few more modern clamps on some of the hoses. Painted surfaces are clean and tidy and the brightwork appears in good order. All hoses wires and tubing appear to be both structurally and cosmetically in good condition. There are no signs of any mechanical issues past or present. The only area that shows any real wear is the paint on the intake manifold which, in normal fashion, has begun to chip away revealing the bare metal underneath. The cloth welding that goes in between the bonnet flaps and the frame of the engine appears to be older and has become quite flattened.
The trunk area is accessed by flipping down the rear trunk platform which is easy and simple to do. The trunk itself presents with a bit more age than the rest of the car. The carpets are a bit worn and frayed at the edges but appear to be the original type. There is a later aftermarket battery box mounted in the trunk which does not necessarily fit with the rest of the car but appears to be a good functional upgrade.
The underside of the car appears in good order, showing good painted surfaces and minimal signs of corrosion. The wooden floorboards all appear solid, with no signs of any issues. Suspension and mechanical components appear well looked after and show no signs of any issues.
Other than some normal wear and tear items as well as some more modern upgrades, the engine bay, trunk and underside appear to be in good order. Please refer to the detailed photos above for a better understanding of the current condition of the vehicle.
While under our custodianship, this vehicle has been gone through to ensure proper running condition. It starts with just a few turns of the starter and a little throttle when cold. It settles into a smooth, quiet, and consistent idle. During our testing of the car, it produced smooth and reliable power. We did learn (the hard way!) that the car has a secondary more modern fuel pump installed to assist in maintaining fuel pressure on extended highway driving or when the engine gets a bit on the hot side.
The transmission appears to be the standard “three on the tree” column shifted manual transmission. It engages gears as it should and shifts smoothly between gears once you get the hang of the column shifted manual. It should be noted that the 3-speed is geared a little low for modern highway driving but certainly does the trick!
brakes and suspension
The brakes appear to be working as intended, bringing this large automobile to a slow but controlled stop. The pedal feels is appropriate and no signs of shutters or pulsing were experienced during our testing. The suspension is soft but compliant and did not show any odd road behavior or noises.
The tires are 4-ply B.F. Goodrich Silverstone white walls in 8.25-16 on all four corners. We are not exactly sure when they were installed but they appear to have ample tread and solid sidewalls all around. Further inspection should be done on them however before any extended driving is done.
This 1939 Packard Twelve presents a wonderful look back in time at what many refer to as the golden age of motoring. The craftsmanship on the Brunn body is extraordinary and it provides a smooth and luxurious ride, whether you are driving or being whisked around town in the rear of the car. The big V-12 engine is remarkably smooth and quiet and provides ample power for use even in today's modern traffic. This Brunn bodied example is the perfect mix of timeless elegance with unique and interesting history and would make the perfect addition to any collection centering around classic American vehicles!