Sold for $55,000 at 2016 RM Sotheby's : Hershey.
Packards twelve cylinder cars were originally known as the 'Twin Six'. It was a 60-degree V12, with two blocks of six cylinder set on an aluminum crankcase. It was designed by chief engineer Jesse Vincent, and gave the engine a displacement size of 424 cubic-inches. For 1916, this was the sole engine offered by Packard. Packard offered two wheelbase sizes, one that measured 125-inches and the other was larger, at 135-icnhes. Of course, a myriad of bodystyles were available, ranging from $3,050 to $5,150. This combination was well received by buyers, and sales reflected. Packard outsold its nearest luxury competitor (Pierce-Arrow), by four-to-one in its introduction year.
In the early 1920s, Packard offered a slightly less expensive version of the Twin Six. It was referred to as Single Six, Light Six or Series 116. It was an economical version and had a lower cost of manufacture.
For 1924, Packard replaced their Twin Six with a straight eight. This nine-main bearing unit was called the Single Eight. This Packard would serve the company for the next thirty years. Instead of using two fours mated end-to-end, it was one four in the middle of another, all cast en block. This resulted in a then-unusual firing order, but much reduced vibration. Crankshaft throws at the ends were at 90 degrees to those in the middle. Lighter by 350 pounds than the Twin Six, it developed ten percent greater horsepower and 20 percent better economy.
Another new feature to the mid-1920s Packards was the use of four-wheel brakes. Again, the public responded with sales exceeding 8,000, better than any Twin Six since 1917.
As the Great Depression came into sight, it immediately became clear that the luxury car market would suffer as the pool of potential buyers quickly dwindled.
On August 21 of 1933, Packard introduced its new Eleventh Series cars. They would remain in production through the following August when the Twelfth Series, 1935 cars were launched. The three models (Eight, Super Eight, and Twelve) were available in three wheelbases. In total, there were 41 different combinations of engines, wheelbases and body styles. To add to the diversity, there were 17 'catalog customs' bodied by coachbuilders LeBaron and Dietrich.
The Eleventh Series cars were given new fender contours that curved downwards nearly to the front bumper. Other changes included new radiator caps, hood door handles, better upholstery, and a fuel filler integrated into the left tail lamp. Mechanical changes included a new oil cooler and an oil filter.
As the Great Depression continued to progress, it became common to see vans and service cars on chassis such as Pierce-Arrow, Cadillac and Packard. In addition to their reliability and robustness, they could cruise at highway speeds achievable by few commercial trucks of the day.
This particular example began life as a Packard Super Eight LeBaron All Weather Town Car. It was delivered from the factory Park Avenue dealership in New York City on Christmas Eve 1933. Its ownership history is largely unknown, but at some point one of its owners took it to Peter McAvoy & Son, a commercial auto body builder in New Rochelle, New York.
Born in Ireland around 1860, McAvoy immigrated to the United States in 1881. By 1910, the census listed him as the proprietor of a wagon factory. By the 1920s, the census listed his occupation as 'carriage builder.' His son James later joined the business and became the president of Peter McAvoy & Son after his father's death in 1929. The company survived until at least 1955, by which time James' son John had become vice president.
The McAvoys cut the LeBaron body off just aft of the division partition, and constructed a high-quality wood body in its place. It has two fuel tanks which allows it extended range between fill-ups.
Around 1948, it was put into storage. In 1984, it was advertised for sale in Cars & Parts magazine, the sole contact given as an apartment address in Bronxville, New York. Prior to the current owner's acquisition in 2012, it passed through at least two further owners.
This unrestored vehicle has sliding glass rear windows, large roof vents, tether rings around the body, and no rear seating. The exhaust exits over the roof. It is believed that its purpose may have been to transport hunting dogs.
Currently, there are just two automobiles known to have been converted to wood bodies by Peter McAvoy & Son, and this is the only one believed to survive. The other is a 1939 Studebaker.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2016