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 While this old data plate has been retained in the car’s files, it has been replaced by a correct reproduction.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.

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