St. John's

28 July 2012

From the Collection of William Ruger Jr.

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Lot 138

1937 Packard Twelve Coupe Roadster

  • Chassis no. 1039-238
  • Engine no. 906021A

Sold for $352,000

Model 1507. 175 bhp, 473 cu. in. modified L-head V-12 engine, three-speed synchromesh manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel, vacuum-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139"

• Known ownership from new
• Desirable, classic styling with later ’30s engineering
• Offered from the collection of William Ruger Jr.

The original owner of this gorgeous 1937 Packard Twelve was Mr. Frederic Grant Roosevelt, who retained the car until the mid-1940s when he passed it to his nephew, a student attending the University of Chicago. In 1948, the car was purchased by Jay Spaulding Gross, of Iowa. Allegedly, during Mr. Gross’ ownership, he switched the data plate with another 1937 Packard Twelve he owned. When Mr. Charlton restored this example, he found all the bodywork to be intact and original, locating the proper body number “238” in several places and noting that the embossed firewall number of 306468 was in line with the correct series of convertible coupe production. While this old data plate has been retained in the car’s files, it has been replaced by a correct reproduction. Arthur Granlich, of Arizona, became the next owner in 1979, followed by a short succession until it became part of the Bud Lyon Collection in 1998.

Mr. Lyon commissioned Chris Charlton, of Classic Car Services in Oxford, Maine, to perform a body-off restoration, in the process turning this car into what is regarded by many qualified enthusiasts as one of the finest examples in existence. Mr. Charlton’s work has won numerous accolades at some of the most competitive concours events in the country, including Best of Show at Pebble Beach. The body was removed from the frame so that the chassis, suspension, and brakes could be restored to the highest standard possible. From there, the engine was completely rebuilt with new pistons, seals, and bearings, as was the transmission. Finished in Roosevelt Maroon with a tan leather interior and a tan cloth top, the fit and finish of this Twelve is second to none, with exceptional paint, straight body lines, and even gaps atop a stunning chassis. Since completion, it has earned a First Prize in the CCCA Primary Division at the 2004 summer Grand Classic at the New Hampshire International Speedway and is now in the Senior Division with badge no. 2633.

Showing 69,214 miles on the odometer, this Packard is further equipped with a top boot, Packard radio, dual side-mounted spare tires with full metal covers and Packard See-Rite pedestal mirrors, a trunk rack, matching metal trunk, and fine details, like the original cigarette lighter. Mr. Charlton recently stated that Mr. Lyon and Mr. Ruger had both been excellent caretakers of the car, which has helped maintain its exceptional level of presentation. He was recently commissioned to install a new clutch and make some steering adjustments that make the driving experience of this example second to none. Mr. Ruger also notes, “’37 was a great year for the Twelve, because it retained some of the older styling but has independent front suspension, hydraulic brakes, and a sturdier frame, none of which are seen on the ’36. It has the best combination of looks and engineering.” Having been lightly sorted and driven sparingly by Mr. Ruger, this example is ready to tour or grace the show field once again.

Please note: RM has verified that the original data plate for 1039-238 still exists on another vehicle, leaving opportunity for the next owner to improve the provenance by reuniting this car with an important piece of its original identity.


Please note that RM has arranged for the original data plate to be reunited with this car after many decades on another car; it will be included in the sale.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

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Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more