19-20 January 2012

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Lot 235

1935 Packard Twelve Five-Passenger Phaeton

  • Chassis no. 831-203
  • Engine no. 903535
  • Body no. 831-8521

Sold for $154,000

Model 1207. 175 bhp, 473.3 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension, four-wheel power-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139.25"

• Powerful and prestigious Packard V-12

• Elegant Dietrich body

• Attractive restoration

Packard discontinued its first V-12, the massive Twin Six, after 1923, replacing it with the smaller Single Eight, which outperformed it. After Cadillac brought out a V-16 in 1930, however, and then a V-12, Packard was drawn back into the cylinder race. The response was a new Twin Six, one with no resemblance to the old. At 445.5 cubic inches, it was larger than its predecessor, and with a 67-degree vee, it was wider. Most importantly, it vastly outperformed it, 160 bhp to the old engine’s 90. When introduced in January 1932, an amazing 22 body styles were offered, priced from $3,745 to $7,950, but fewer than 550 V-12 cars were sold during the model year.

For 1933 the line was re-christened simply “Packard Twelve,” and while the marketing was just as ambitious, the results were nearly the same as the previous year, with 540 cars built. Finally, in 1934 the market improved, and sales nearly doubled. All Packards received new, more streamlined bodies in 1935. The Twelve gained aluminum heads and a quarter-inch of stroke.

Raymond Dietrich was hired in 1913 as an apprentice draftsman at Brewster & Co. in New York. He was just 19. Brewster sent him to the Andrew F. Johnson Technical School, then the most rigorous education available in the field of coachbuilding. Upon graduation, he defected to Chevrolet as assistant body engineer. Then, as Chevrolet was sold to General Motors, Dietrich went back to Brewster, met Tom Hibbard, and shortly the two of them went out on their own to form LeBaron, Inc. In 1925, however, Edsel Ford lured Dietrich to Detroit, where he accepted an invitation to form Dietrich, Inc., in partnership with the Murray Corporation of America, a body supplier to much of the Detroit auto industry.

Dietrich did a number of custom designs for Packard dealers, which brought him to the attention of Alvan Macauley, Packard’s president. Macauley went to visit the up-and-coming designer and ended up ordering 175 bodies, beginning a long association that saw a number of Dietrich designs in Packard catalogues. Continuing to work for other clients, Dietrich, Inc. became the largest American constructor of non-production bodies and won gold medals at Paris and Monte Carlo. Raymond Dietrich left to work at Chrysler as the bespoke body business began to wane in 1932. Murray, however, continued to produce a number of Dietrich designs for Packard and still had the rights to the “Dietrich label.” In 1934, much of Murray production capacity was needed for the new One-Twenty Packard, so senior open bodies were delegated to Dietrich, Inc., still operating at Holden Avenue in Detroit, north of the Packard works on Grand Avenue. In July 1935, however, Dietrich, Inc. was wound down, although the label continued to be used for two years longer. This is one of the last “Dietrich” Packards to be completed.

Delivered new on April 22, 1936 by the West Chester, Pennsylvania Packard dealer, this car was owned in the 1960s by J.S. MacKiernan of Dorchester, Massachusetts. By 1963 he had sold it to John Hagerty of Cohasset, Massachusetts. Hagerty passed it to Ray Molder of Canton, Ohio, from whom the current owner acquired it in 1986.

It was restored in the 1990s, the paint and bodywork performed by Jeff Smith of Doylestown, Ohio, upholstery by Lehman Upholstery of nearby Wadsworth. Mechanical restoration was by T.J. Link of North Canton, Ohio, with the engine rebuilt by Classic Car Center of Warsaw, Indiana. Although now an older restoration, the car remains in excellent condition. Never shown since its completion, it is entirely worthy of a debutant season at some of the prestigious events.


Please note this car’s aluminum cylinder heads were replaced by original iron heads.

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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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

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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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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

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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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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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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

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