Amelia Island

10 March 2012

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Lot 180

1914 Packard Model 4-48 Five-Passenger Touring

  • Chassis no. 63228
  • Engine no. 63228

$350,000 - $425,000

82 bhp, 525 cu. in. L-head six-cylinder engine, three-speed transaxle, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 144"

• Recent participations at Amelia Island and St. John’s concours events

• Ideal for Brass Era touring

James Ward Packard was one of the first customers of pioneer auto manufacturer Alexander Winton. However, Packard found several shortcomings in his new 1898 Winton, and he let Mr. Winton know about them. Winton, on the other hand, felt that his car was the epitome of perfection and told Mr. Packard that if he wanted his ideas incorporated in an automobile he should build it himself.

By November 1899, with the help of his brother William and two former Winton employees, George Weiss and William Hatcher, Packard had done just that. Four more cars were built that year and 47 of a new “Model B” in 1900. The cars were built under the auspices of the New York and Ohio Company, a subsidiary of the brothers’ Packard Electric Company, which manufactured transformers and electric lighting equipment. Fairly conventional for their time, the Packard cars were runabouts with a single-cylinder engine under the seat, a two-speed planetary transmission and chain drive. Novel for the period was an automatic spark advance.

On September 10, 1900, the brothers formed the Ohio Automobile Company in their home town of Warren, Ohio. Finding their customers satisfied, they adopted the slogan “Ask the Man Who Owns One.” Men who owned one included William Rockefeller and wealthy Detroit businessman Henry B. Joy, the latter buying large quantities of stock in the company. Joy subscribed the entire issue of 2,500 shares in 1902, at which time the firm became the Packard Motor Car Company. A year later, it moved to Detroit, where a huge modern concrete factory, designed by renowned industrial architect Albert Kahn, was being built.

Four-cylinder cars were added to the line in 1903, but it was a single-cylinder car that bettered Winton’s coast-to-coast record in that year, with driver Tom Fetch carving two days off the record in “Old Pacific.” Other Packard competition included the Vanderbilt Cup races and sand racing at Ormond Beach in Florida, where chief engineer Charles Schmidt set a world record in January 1904. With the launch of the Model 30 in 1907, Packard became a well-established builder of luxury cars, comprising, with Peerless and Pierce-Arrow, the “Three Ps” of prestige American automobile manufacturing. Packard was the only member of the Three Ps to survive the Depression, but only because it diversified into medium-priced cars. Still, Packard continued to lead the American luxury segment after World War II and was outsold by Cadillac only once before 1950.

Packard’s first six, a massive 525-cubic inch T-head, debuted in April 1911. Designated Model 48 for its rated horsepower, it developed a full 74 bhp at 1,720 rpm, and Packard advertised that it would reach “60 miles per hour in 30 seconds from a standing start.” A Bosch dual ignition system was used, along with Packard’s unique float-feed carburetor with automatic mixture control. Prices started at $5,000 and ranged upward to $6,550. Thirteen body styles were offered on wheelbases from 121.5 to 139 inches. The new car immediately became popular, with nearly 1,350 sold in the first year of production and a lengthy list of anxious customers awaiting delivery.

In the summer of 1912, the new 1913 Model 2-48 was introduced, with eight more brake horsepower, improved lubrication and electric headlamps. The fuel tank was moved to the rear, its place under the driver’s seat taken by the battery and tool box previously on the running boards. Early in 1913, the Model 3-48, sometimes called “New 48” and in some company documents “1448,” arrived, with it left-hand drive and a combination starter-generator.

In February 1914 came the fourth iteration of the 48 called, appropriately, 4-48. Its wheelbase extended to 144 inches, but the big news was under the hood. Although the engine displacement remained the same, instead of three blocks of two cylinders it had two blocks of three and seven main bearings and was of L-head configuration. Prices ranged from $4,750 to $6,510, and 441 were built during its five months of production, through June 1914.

This Packard 4-48 was restored approximately 10 years ago. The restoration looks fresh, belying its age, substantiated by its recent invitation to Amelia Island and, just last summer, the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan. Its primary activity, however, has been touring, where it has been a regular fixture on Brass Era events.

The car is well equipped, with twin rear-mounted spares, a bulb horn and Elliott double combination clock-speedometer. It is ready for the show field or equally eager to embark on tour. Packard told prospective buyers to “ask the man who owns one.” We did, and he told us it’s a magnificent car.


According to the roster keeper for early Packards, John Grundy, this car first surfaced in modern time in the hands of Jean Grengs, in 1965, more than 50 years ago. At that time, it had been converted to a motorhome. Grengs conducted the first restoration, removing the body, sourcing missing parts, and building new correct style coachwork. The chassis had been modified to accept the heavier motorhome body, so the restoration was carried out with the aid of a parts car from which the missing components were sourced. Later, well known Florida collector Bill Lassiter, carried out the current restoration, completed to a much higher standard between 1985 and 1998.

According to Mr. Grundy’s records, only about a dozen surviving 48HP Packards of all years are known to exist. Of those, the vendor believes that less than half survive in largely original form. Most, including this car, have required extensive restoration for one reason or another. Today, s/n 63228 is a very correct example, finished with a high quality restoration, and perhaps the only example available for sale in today’s market that is eligible for a wide range of Packard and other brass era tours, where it is likely to be one of the fastest cars in a given event.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Pete Fisher

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Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more