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Lot 45
1932 Packard Twin Six 905 Sport Phaeton


From the Miller Family Packard Collection

CHASSIS NO: 900179

• Miller family ownership for over 40 years
• Winner of numerous awards, including AACA National and CCCA First Places
• Exhibited at Pebble Beach in the mid-1980s
• Highly desirable dual-cowl Sport Phaeton
• Excellent driver; older high-quality restoration that presents beautifully

Series 905. 445.5 cid modified L-head V-12 engine, 160 HP, single Stromberg dual downdraft carburetor, three-speed manual transmission, semi-elliptic front and rear leaf spring suspension with live axles, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes; wheelbase: 142.5”

Packard, despite being in the throngs of the Great Depression in 1932, introduced its new Ninth Series with an expanded line of luxurious, beautifully engineered cars, crowned by the Twin Six. In 1932, Packard responded to Cadillac’s opening salvo in the multi-cylinder war with the revival of their famous Twin Six after a nine-year absence. With a narrow 67-degree vee, it was of unusual configuration, with nearly horizontal valves actuated by hydraulic tappets. The combustion chamber was partially in the block, giving rise to the description “modified L-head.” A Stromberg dual downdraft carburetor fed fuel supplied by a Stewart-Warner pump capable of 160 horsepower and 322 ft/lbs of torque. While not as technically advanced as the overhead-valve Cadillac Sixteen, the Packard Twin Six offered comparable power with exceptional refinement and reliability. Accommodating the V-12 engine was a new X-braced chassis with four-wheel vacuum-assisted braking, a three-speed synchronized transmission, and Packard’s meticulously engineered steering and suspension. Packard claimed a top speed for its new 1933 V-12 “in excess of 85 mph” with the actual figure reportedly closer to 100 mph for all body styles. There were 21 in all, divided between two lines, of which the 905 boasted a 142-inch wheelbase chassis and included the sportier styles.

Given its superb quality and outstanding performance, the Twin Six was an excellent bargain for a luxury car buyer in 1933, with its prices only $100 to $150 above those of the Deluxe Eight. As with the Auburn V-12 of the same era, buyers were apparently put at unease by such a low price for a “fine car,” and sales of the model in its introductory season were mediocre: a reported 549 cars. Sales improved somewhat when prices were raised by $500 the following year, and the Packard V-12 would remain on offer through 1939, although the Twin Six name was retired in favor of the Twelve after 1932.

The stunning Sport Phaeton offered here has been an often seen, and always admired, fixture in the southern California classic car hobby for decades. Its history is tracked back to the early 1970s when it was owned by Steve Gunder. This original chassis and engine was fitted from new with a five-passenger sedan body and upgraded with the current sport phaeton body during restoration. Mr. Gunder would then sell the car to Ed Councelman of Topeka, Kansas. It stayed there until 1979 when it was acquired by the Miller Family. The high quality of the restoration was evidenced when spirited bidding required Mr. Miller to pay $150,000 at auction - a large sum at that time for this handsome and elegant Packard. It is very well-appointed with dual side-mounted spare tires, spotlights, and Pilot Ray driving lights. This correctly and meticulously restored car was awarded both the prestigious AACA First Place and CCCA First Place badges during this same period. Mr. Miller and the Packard were soon invited to the prestigious Pebble Concours d' Elegance where it was displayed amongst many of the finest cars in the world. It was also given the honor of participating in the 1990 Tournament of Roses Parade where Mr. Miller chauffeured Astronaut, and then United States Senator, John Glenn as a passenger. A letter from Senator Glenn thanking Mr. Miller for this is on file. This Packard would also serve to convey the legendary Bob Hope, on his 95th birthday, and his wife Delores, at the 1998 Toluca Lake Village Parade. A copy of an autographed photo from Mr. Hope is also on file.

Since then, it has continued to be carefully maintained in beautiful overall condition in a climate-controlled garage along with many other Packard stablemates. It presents very well today, a testament to both the superior quality of the restoration and the loving care this grand, classic Packard has received over the years. Twelve-cylinder Packards of this era have always been held in high regard by collectors, not only for their timeless beauty, but also quality, reliability, and drivability, making this rare Packard 12-cylinder Phaeton ideally suited not only for exhibition, but for enjoyable touring and participation in club events.

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