10-11 October 2013

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Lot 129

1934 Packard Eight Convertible Victoria

  • Engine no. 376305
  • Vehicle no. 727-42

Sold for $198,000

Series 1101. 120 bhp, 319.2 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 136.25 in.

  • Best of Show at the 1975 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
  • Believed to have been purchased new by actress Marie Dressler
  • Formerly part of the Milhous Collection
  • One of the most awarded “Junior Eight” Packards in the world

Packard, the preeminent American luxury car marque, introduced its new 11th series cars on August 21, 1933, but they were considered 1934 cars, and they remained in production through the following August, when the 12th series cars of 1935 were launched. Each of the three models, the Eight, Super Eight, and Twelve, were available in three wheelbases; an ambitious total of 41 different combinations of engines, wheelbases, and body styles; and 17 “catalog customs” bodied by coachbuilders LeBaron and Dietrich. Considered among the most beautiful today are the Dietrich-designed five-passenger convertible victorias, the body style offered here, which was available in all three series.

New fender contours graced the 11th series, with the fronts curving downward nearly to the front bumper, and they were heavier than previous ones. Other changes were more subtle, such as the hood door handles, radiator caps, running boards, better upholstery, and a fuel filler that was integrated into the left tail lamp. In the engine compartment, there was a new oil cooler and an oil filter was installed.

The company was now placing much emphasis on ride control and silencing. Advertising boasted that Packard Twelve owners could “drive a thousand miles a day without fatigue.” Packard’s share of the luxury market climbed to more than 40 percent in 1934.

This Series 1101 Convertible Victoria was delivered by W.H. Collins Inc., the Hollywood dealer, on November 18, 1933, and it is still beautifully presented today. Although it is undocumented, it has long been understood that this car was owned new by Academy Award-winning, Canadian-American actress Marie Dressler. Dressler appeared in more than 40 pictures, including Tugboat Annie (1933), but, unfortunately, she passed away in the summer of 1934 after a brief battle with cancer, making her ownership of the car very brief. The Packard was then believed to have been inherited by her maid of 20 years, Mamie Cox, and her husband, Jerry, the family butler. It is known that Dressler was very generous with the couple, leaving them a sizable inheritance, including cash, with which the Coxes opened the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Savannah, Georgia.

The Packard was acquired by the noted Milhous Collection in the early 1970s, and it spent over three decades amongst that outstanding assembly of automobiles. Following its restoration in the mid-1970s, it was presented at Pebble Beach in 1975, which had been founded as a concours d’elegance event in 1950 and has risen to become the most prominent event of its kind in the world. Without exaggeration, Best of Show at this prestigious event may be considered the most desirable such award in the world. This Packard received this award while in the Milhous Collection in 1975, joining an elite group of winners that have been owned by such enthusiasts as J.B. Nethercutt, Otis Chandler, William Harrah, and Phil Hill, among others.

The car has also earned a Classic Car Club of America National First. It has been painted Butterscotch with brown moldings and is tastefully pinstriped in orange. Despite the age of the restoration, the car presents very well, and all body contours are excellent. The paint exhibits a good shine, and the tan canvas top is unmarred. Quite simply, the car looks like it was restored within the last three years. Its appearance is, in a word, stunning. In all, the Milhous Collection confirmed seven total Best of Show awards in eight concours and car show appearances.

The interior is upholstered in brown leather and is in very good condition, with the exception of slight abrasions to the driver’s seat. The floor has brown carpet, with some scuffing at the driver’s heel pad, and the dashboard has excellent wood, nicely-restored instruments, and an Earle C. Anthony service medallion. The wood door moldings are particularly fine, and the odometer shows some 63,500 miles.

The engine compartment is very clean and nicely presented. A Packard Purolator oil filter is fitted, and the car has central lubrication. Brightwork is all excellent, with additional features including Trippe driving lights, a rear-mounted accessory trunk with fitted luggage, in addition to the integrated luggage compartment, and California black plate registration tags.

The convertible victoria, long a Packard favorite, has earned the distinction of being one of the most attractive open models ever built by Packard. This is a particularly nice example, and it is all the more desirable thanks to its Best of Show Award at Pebble Beach in 1975, which confirms the attention to detail and correctness of the restoration, as well as the car’s exceptionally elegant design. The design is so elegant, in fact, that its most recent owner displayed it in the living room of a prominent Florida home.

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


+1 864 313 6844
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


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
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


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

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

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
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


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

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


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

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

Jake Auerbach


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

Kurt Forry


+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

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


+1 805 231 6410
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


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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


+1 519 352 4575
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


+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
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


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

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

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
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


+31 653 84 19 60
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