11-12 October 2012

Collection of John O’Quinn

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Lot 187

1937 Packard Twelve Seven-Passenger Limousine

  • Engine no. 906875
  • Body no. 48 MT 3742
  • Vehicle No. 1039-309

Sold for $49,500

Model 1508. 175 bhp, 473.3 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 144.25 in.

• Known history from new

• Ex-James Melton, Winthrop Rockefeller, and William Harrah

• Offered from the estate of John O’Quinn

In 1917, Mrs. John D. Gordon, of Norwalk, Connecticut, purchased a new Pierce-Arrow, complete with the limousine body seen here. Mrs. Gordon retained the formal body and later had it mounted to this 1937 Packard Twelve chassis. Important early-Connecticut collector James Melton became the second owner of the car in 1950, when Mrs. Gordon gifted it to him; Melton, in turn, presented it to his wife as a Christmas present. In his book, Bright Wheels Rolling, Melton states, “Inasmuch, as this chassis only had about three thousand miles on it, there wasn’t a thousandth of wear anywhere…incidentally, this body had outlasted two other chassis before it was put on the Packard; and the same chauffeur drove it every mile of its life, from a Pierce-Arrow showroom in 1917 to the door of my museum in 1950!” Melton also playfully comments, “We also carry my daughter’s current miniature car up in the baggage rack on top. If she has another little girl traveling with her, we take two miniature cars in the rack…”

In 1961, the “Packard-Pierce” was sold as part of a group of cars to Winthrop Rockefeller, who placed them on display in his museum in Arkansas. William F. Harrah acquired the car in 1976 and retained it in his collection until 1984, when it was purchased by Mr. Robert Brinkman, of Glendale, California, and then by the O’Quinn Collection.

As-presented, this 1937 Packard is equipped with jump seats, bud vases, and dual side-mounts with full metal covers and pedestal mirrors. It was serviced as recently as 2009, as evidenced by a receipt for a master cylinder. With its history well-documented early on by James Melton, this truly superlative piece will generate ample conversation as a feature in any collection with a focus on Packards, Pierce-Arrows, or classics from virtually any era.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Michael Squire


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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

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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

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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

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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