1939 Packard1708 Twelve Touring Cabriolet

Vehicle Information


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Trans: 3 Speed Manual

Engine: 473ci V12

Stock #: 200338

Vin: 17082014

Coachwork by Brunn & Company

Chassis no. 1708-2014

Engine no. B602402

* 175hp, 473.3-cid L-head V-12

* Three-speed manual

* 139" wheelbase

* One of two built in 1939

* Among the last 100 Packard Twelves built

* CCCA Full Classic®

Always built to the highest standards, the Packard was unquestionably one of the finest American cars of the pre-war era. As early as 1915 cars with twelve cylinder power plants were offered, which Packard badged as Twin Sixes from the outset. These gave way to the Eight in 1924, for which the marque is so well known, and it was not for another eight years, by which time competitors Cadillac, Pierce-Arrow and others had brought in twelves, that Packard re-introduced their own, keeping it initially as a Twin Six, before succumbing to the terminology of the day for the 1933 model year.

1939 was the Seventeenth series year for Packard, and with sales of less than 500 Twelves it would be the last year that the model was offered. The model closely resembled the previous year's series, which had seen the introduction of the Vee windshield and generally smoother lines with rounded fenders, and kept the '38 styled grille and hood also. Independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes had already been part of the Packard specification for some years.

The majority of Packards produced in '39 left with factory bodies, but a small number received coachbuilt skins. One of the few coachbuilders contracted by Packard to produce bodies was Brunn & Co.  Hermann A. Brunn founded Brunn & Company after branching off of his uncle's coachbuilding company to focus on bodying motorcars. Known for their extremely high quality, Brunn bodies were highly sought after and appeared on Rolls-Royces, Pierce-Arrows, Packards, and especially Lincolns. His German heritage instilled a Teutonic look in his cars, and as such one can be forgiven for seeing more than a passing resemblance to a Mercedes-Benz in look of Brunn's creations.

The offered Packard is one of only two such Brunn-bodied Touring Cabriolets built in 1939. Originally featured on Lincoln's K chassis, Packard fancied the style enough to contract Brunn to build a few Touring and All-Weather Cabriolets (the latter featuring a removable roof over the driver's seat) for the top of the line 1608 and 1708 models. In a break from standard practice, Packard requested Brunn mount the bodies on their chassis at their Buffalo, New York facility. The running Packard chassis was shipped to Buffalo with a soapbox driver's seat and Packard paid $150 for the body to be installed. As a cost savings measure, Packard demanded that its factory door stampings be used to save money, but the stampings were so poor that every door had to be heavily refurbished and leaded to meet Brunn's high standards, making the cars loss leaders. In all, only 21 Touring Cabriolets were built, ten in '37, nine in '38 and the aforementioned two in '39.

This car, as with most of the Touring Cabriolet's produced, was sold new by California Packard distributor Earl C. Anthony's Wilshire Motors at the corner of Wilshire and La Brea in Los Angeles. While little paperwork exists, it is believed to have been purchased new by Adolph Spreckels, Jr., heir to the Spreckels Sugar Company fortune and one of the richest and most notorious playboys of his day. One of the unique options included was a rear seat radio, likely so 'Little Adolph' (as he was called in the day) could stay on top of what the press was saying about his antics. The regal sedan eventually made its way up north to Washington state, where is spent a considerable amount of its life. It later headed south to Arizona, then Texas, before arriving back in the state in which it was originally sold in 2009. The recipient of an older restoration, the Packard still shows well and last year was refurbished with a new top and some freshened paint.

One of the last of the really special cars Packard built before it focused down market, this Touring Cabriolet checks all the boxes. Top of the line chassis and drivetrain? Check. Extremely rare coachbuilt body by a renowned constructor? Check. Interesting history? Check. Eligible for countless events as a CCCA Full Classic®? Check. 

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