1937 Packard V-12 Convertible Sedan
Vehicle No. 1073-216
Motor No. 906274AA
Series 1508. 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: 144 in.
Packard’s Fifteenth Series models are justifiably famed for their beautiful, graceful, perfectly proportioned design and superb engineering, including the company’s first use of hydraulic brakes. None are more prestigious than the mighty Twelve, which was offered in three lengths of wheelbase, including the 144-inch 1508 accommodating touring sedan, limousine, and convertible sedan styles.
The convertible sedan offered here is identified by its original firewall data tag as having been delivered by the Packard dealer in Hubbard Woods, Illinois, on January 27, 1937. Noted Packard historian Bob Supina corresponded in the late 1960s with then-owner Edward H. Bennett of Lake Forest, Illinois, a prominent second-generation Chicago architect and preservationist. Mr. Bennett wrote, “The original owner of this car was my aunt, Miss Gwethalyn Jones, who used the car extensively in traveling in the East and in California, before the last war. About 1957 she gave it to me, and I went to California to get it, where it was stored unused. We added windshield washers and an electric fuel pump, and drove it home.” He made it as far as Cimarron, Kansas, before an engine problem waylaid the journey and the Packard “finished in its trip home on the Santa Fe.” Mr. Bennett noted that he subsequently had new pistons made for the car by the original manufacturer, but otherwise “never tried to restore [the Packard] as it is in fine shape.”
It is believed that the Packard was acquired from Edward H. Bennett in the late 1980s or early 1990s by longtime Classic Car Club of America member Courtland Cross of New Hampshire. In his ownership it was regularly seen on the road, reportedly participating in numerous regional tours in which its abundant smooth performance was ably demonstrated. The Packard is believed to have always been a reliable “runner,” which was freshened over the years but never fully restored, retaining the original finishes to the undercarriage in good condition. Today it retains its original interior leather, with the cloth seat inserts replaced using correct material, and the original carpets remain in place.
At the age of 88, Mr. Cross sold his Packard to Richard Amistadi of Massachusetts, who recalls Mr. Cross describing himself as the second owner – indicating that Mr. Cross had indeed acquired the Packard from the Bennett family. The current owner subsequently acquired the Twelve from Mr. Amistadi. The car remains in handsome overall condition, with a recent road test noting that it steers well and that the engine easily starts and holds good oil pressure, in addition to operating steadily within the normal operating temperature. Further, all lights, including the interior courtesy lights, Trippe driving lights, and added turn signals, work well. The owner notes some $20,000 in additional work was performed by the noted marque specialists Parker’s Packards, including rebuilding the water pump, installing a new oil pump and emergency brake cable, considerable work on the brakes, and other adjustments throughout. Invoices for the work are available for inspection.
This would be a superb CARavan car for a fortunate new owner, able to accommodate both friends and luggage in a convertible twelve-cylinder Packard of tremendous beauty and elegance.