1938 Packard Twelve All-Weather Collapsible Cabriolet, model 1608
Coachwork by Brunn
Engine no. A600416
Body no. 5
Series 1608. 175 bhp, 473.3 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed column-shifted manual transmission with overdrive, coil-spring independent front suspension, semi-elliptic leaf-spring rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139 in.
Packard’s final factory-catalogued custom bodies were offered in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Series of 1938-39, respectively, including two offerings, the all-weather cabriolet and touring cabriolet, from the famed Brunn & Company of Buffalo, New York.
The all-weather cabriolet was based upon Packard convertible sedan body stampings, though the stampings were so extensively reworked by Brunn that the result was truly “custom.” It could be had with two different top variations, with or without a landaulet top over the rear passenger compartment; either version came with a driver’s compartment that could be opened to the air, for truly formal use. The interior was lavishly appointed, with finely tailored upholstery and other fitments. Examples of the Brunn all-weather cabriolet have figured into the collections of many prominent enthusiasts, not least among them the late, beloved racing driver and Packard collector, Phil Hill.
This particular all-weather cabriolet is identified by its Brunn body tag as having been the fifth produced, and is reportedly one of five extant survivors from the Sixteenth Series of 1938. It was acquired by a noted western U.S. enthusiast in the early 1990s from the collection of Don Koll of Newport Beach. While in this ownership, the car received a complete engine rebuild, by the well-known marque specialists Classic & Exotic Service of Troy, Michigan, in 2003, after which it was occasionally used for several years before its sale to the present owner in 2012. The restoration is older but well-maintained, and the car boasts several very charming features, including a period rooftop blue light that would have helped the owner pick it out among the black limousines jostling for space on a crowded street outside the ballroom or theatre.
Exceptionally elegant and graceful in its appearance, this is a lovely survivor from the last years of true “catalogue customs” in the Packard line, and a superb design from one of America’s finest coachbuilders.