18-19 January 2018

1938 Packard Twelve Landaulet by Rollston

  • Engine no. A600504
  • Body no. 650
  • Vehicle No. 1608-2025

  • Originally delivered to legendary socialite Doris Duke
  • One-off, bespoke coachwork by a legendary firm
  • Exceptionally elegant and beautifully detailed
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic

One of very few surviving late Packard Twelves fitted with truly custom coachwork, this sumptuous 1938 1608 Twelve was ordered as a chassis by Doris Duke, heiress to the American Tobacco Company fortune. At the age of 25, Miss Duke was already the world’s wealthiest woman, and was a prominent figure in the society and gossip columns for much of her eight decades of life. She was a horticulturalist, a noted collector of jewelry and Oriental art, and a major philanthropist, and at various times was married to a U.S. Ambassador to Canada and to infamous sportsman Porfirio Rubirosa.

The Duke Twelve was custom-bodied by Rollston, New York’s most famous and costly coachbuilder, as a modern landaulet, a limousine with a convertible section over the rear seat. Similar in style to a Rollston body produced for the Duesenberg Model J, number J-577, the body featured a relatively rakish one-piece windshield, as well as a lavishly appointed interior with a clock and speedometer. It also featured storage for cocktail accouterments in the rear passenger compartment. Controls for the radio were placed literally at Miss Duke’s hand, in the right rear armrest.

Reportedly the car was delivered to Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey, and was used to transport its owner on her regular trips between the Garden State and her summer “cottage,” Rough Point in Newport, Rhode Island. Both landmark homes are today restored and open to the public.

The current owner located the fascinating and beautiful one-off Packard in New Jersey in 2007, still wearing its “D.D.” monograms and owned by Charles Patterson. Ray’s Auto Restoration of Webster, Massachusetts, a noted local Packard specialist, oversaw its complete restoration to original condition, including the correct original Duke color scheme, over a two-year period. Fittingly, given its early history, it was first shown at the Newport Concours d’Elegance in 2009, winning Best Pre-War Open Car.

Arguably one of the most significant and desirable late Twelves, this is a spectacular “full custom” Packard, with rich social history that is difficult to match. It is an automobile deserving of “The Richest Girl in the World.”


Please note that the title is in transit.

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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

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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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