10-11 March 2017
1933 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria
- Chassis no. 901136
- Engine no. 901140
- Vehicle no. 647-12
Sold for $522,500
- An exceptional, award-winning concours restoration
- Extremely pure and authentic; four owners from new
- Believed to have been originally delivered to Alfred G. Vanderbilt II
- One of the finest surviving Tenth Series Twelves
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
According to former owner Bradford E. Blake Jr., this 1933 Packard Twelve convertible victoria, the second example built, was purchased new by Margaret Emerson Vanderbilt for her son, Alfred G. Vanderbilt II. Young Mr. Vanderbilt was an heir to not one, but two great American fortunes, as his mother was the heiress to Bromo-Seltzer, that universal “cure-all” of the early 20th century. She had initially purchased her son a new Rolls-Royce, as a 21st birthday gift, but he declined the car, finding it too ostentatious; the Packard was soon acquired, via Baltimore’s Zell Motors, as a suitable substitute. It remained at the family’s renowned Sagamore Farms stud farm in Glyndon, Maryland, for eight years, before Mr. Blake acquired it, directly from the family, on 14 August 1941.
As the United States entered World War II soon thereafter, gas rationing made the use of a twelve-cylinder Packard nearly impossible, and Mr. Blake put his new purchase into storage to await richer times. He retained and maintained the car, driving it only occasionally, from 1941 until his passing in early 2012 at the age of 91. At that time, the Packard was passed to a new caretaker, after 71 years of good care. The Packard’s current caretaker acquired the car later in 2012, becoming only the fourth owner from new.
As-acquired, the Packard was found to be amazingly complete and authentic, down to the original brass Dietrich body number tag and the original firewall data plaque, both of which are often lost to time. The original testing tag from the Packard Proving Grounds, dated 1 August 1941, was still on the glove box. Not only were the cigarette lighters still in the dashboard, but the vintage cigarette butts were still in the ashtray! The body wood remained sound, and significant portions of the original black finish were still present on the solid original sheet metal. The odometer showed less than 20,000 miles, and due to Mr. Blake’s occasional use and maintenance, the car still operated well.
Nonetheless, with his passion for quality and correctness, the new owner oversaw a concours-quality and very authentic restoration of his Packard by Harbor Auto Restoration of Rockledge, Florida. Great care was taken to preserve the car’s correctness throughout, including the aforementioned original tags, while also returning it to, as near as possible, its original condition; three different Packard judges were brought in to consult on the work. The result was Second in Class at the renowned Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2015, followed by Best in Class at the Packard Nationals the same year. It then won a Pinehurst Award at the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance in 2016, its third and most recent show appearance. Further, the history of the car has been further authenticated by conversations with Leigh Brent, who knew the Packard back to the 1950s and recalls the story of its Vanderbilt past. The car is offered with a correct jack and a tool roll, as well as additional research by the owner into its past.
An exceptional open Tenth Series Twelve, with superlative provenance and an outstanding restoration, “The Black Packard with Red Wheels of Sagamore Farms” stands ready to add a new chapter to its enthralling history.
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