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.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

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

Annette Abaci


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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht


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Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener


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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... 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 lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose


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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould


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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


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Ontario, Canada

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Ian Kelleher


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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom


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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach


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Ontario, Canada

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

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Indiana, United States

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Mike Fairbairn


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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... 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 ho... 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, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... 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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