Packard dominated the American fine car market and was in excellent financial health, despite the dramatic stock market crash of late 1929. The company's leaders, however, were concerned by the growing economic crisis and its possible impact on buyers spending abilities. Boldly, Packard developed the new generation Twin Six offered in a wide range of factory and custom-built bodies.
Packard management was inspired by the front-wheel-drive Cord l-29 and innovative front-drive Miller racing cars of the 1920s, resulting in a prototype being commissioned. The engine considered was a twelve-cylinder unit formed by two tandem six-cylinder engine blocks, joined by a large single crankshaft. The idea was deemed impractical as it required an extremely long hood and there were extreme torsional loads on the crankshaft. Next came a more compact and workable V-12 engine for the intended front-drive chassis which proved worthy of providing the necessary packaging needed for the front-drive setup. Work, development, and testing revealed significant weaknesses in the front-drive chassis, and it lacked sufficient traction at the front wheels. When the weight was shifted forward, steering became nearly impossible. This, compounded with the development costs, made the project impractical.
By this point in history, Cadillac and Marmon had introduced their new sixteen-cylinder models. Feeling the pressure, Packard fitted the new V-12 engine into the proven Deluxe Eight chassis. The resulting automobile was called the Twin Six, in honor of Packard's first V-12 engine which had been introduced more than 15 years earlier.
The new V-12 engine had a narrow 67-degree vee-angle and displaced 445 cubic inches. It was smooth and silent, with an advertised output of 160 horsepower and 322 ft-lb of torque. Depending on the coachwork, it could carry the Packard to speeds exceeding 100 mph, however, Packard coyly described the Twelve's top-speed performance as being 'over 85.'
Attempting to appeal to a wider audience, Packard introduced a new smaller, lighter entry-level car for 1932, called the Model 900 Light Eight. It had a price of $1,750 to $1,795 which put it in competition with senior Buick customers. Buick's, however, cost less to build, and by the end of the year, the Packard was dropped. The Twin Six model, introduced in January of 1932, was priced from $3,790 to $7,950. It was available in two wheelbase sizes and had a line of Individual Custom bodies, mostly by Dietrich.
By 1933, the name had been changed to the Packard Twelve. The Standard Eight and Deluxe Eight were renamed Eight and Super Eight, respectively. The Tenth Series of cars had been introduced in January of 1933 and mechanical advancements included sturdier X-braced frames, driver-adjustable power brakes, downdraft carburetion with automatic choke and a fast-idle circuit, and dual-coil ignition system. The exterior designs featured classic lines with flowing fenders, and a vee-shaped radiator shell and shuttered radiator. Two basic wheelbase lengths were available, both with an array of factory-built and custom body designs. The Model 1005 rested on a 142-inch wheelbase and had nine available body styles. The Model 1006 had a 147-inch platform and three open and three closed designs by Dietrich, along with a number of custom bodies by Brunn and other coachbuilders of the era. For 1933, production reached 520 examples.
Traditional registration processes of the 48 states resulted in a model year being assigned when a car was sold, if not before. Packard, who avoided models years, tended to introduce a new 'series' to coincide with significant changes to the model line, often around the first of the year, which aligned with state systems and the policies of the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce. 1933 was an exception as Packard effectively shortened the model year to concentrate on improvements for 1934. This meant production of the 1933 Tenth Series ended in August, with production of the Eleventh Series beginning on August 21st of 1933.
by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2019
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1933 Packard 1005 Twelve
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