5-6 October 2017

The Thomas F. Derro Collection

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Lot 254

1941 Packard Custom Super Eight One Eighty Convertible Victoria by Darrin

  • Engine no. D508239B
  • Vehicle no. 1429-2014

Sold for $407,000

  • Offered from The Thomas F. Derro Collection
  • “Banacek’s Darrin,” used in the popular 1970s NBC television series
  • Beautiful, correct restoration by Packard expert Don Sears
  • AACA, CCCA, and Pebble Beach Concours award-winner
  • Perhaps the most famous extant 1941–1942 “Darrin”

In 1939, Packard purchased the rights to Howard Darrin’s design for a sleek four-passenger convertible, which he had been hand-building at his shop in Hollywood, California, for members of the movie colony elite. Packard put the design into limited production as the Convertible Victoria by Darrin, which was built at factories in Indiana and, later, in Ohio, from 1940 through 1942. It is considered one of the most beautiful Packards of all time, so much so that when the producers of the popular 1970s NBC television series Banacek required a classic automobile for the suave main character, a “Darrin” was what they chose.

Two Darrins were utilized for the filming of Banacek. That offered here was the main filming car, used for most photography out of Boston, and appeared with George Peppard in most scenes of the series, in which it is accurately described by Banacek as a 1941—one of 35 made that year. A second, 1942 model (with its side grilles “disguised” in most scenes) was used for occasional shots in Los Angeles. That car survives as part of a prominent Midwestern collection.

According to former owner Tom St. Martin, the Banacek '41 Packard was originally delivered in March 1941 in Florida. has a history known back to 1951, when it was owned by Earl Perry Fletcher of Gary, Indiana. It was subsequently owned by George Taylor of Gary, then Robert Friggens of New Mexico, who sold it in 1971 to Jim Carlson of Massachusetts. James O'Dea of Westport, Connecticut, purchased the Packard in 1972, and was the owner who supplied it for the filming of the television series.

Following its use in California, the Banacek '41 Packard made its way to Wisconsin, where it was eventually acquired in 1980 by the late Bob Adams. In 1981 the car was acquired from Tom Crook by Tom St. Martin, who drove it for several years before beginning its ground-up restoration with Lakeland Restorations of Minnesota. In a recent conversation, Mr. St. Martin recalled that the car showed evidence of a early rear end collision, which was properly repaired with new sheet metal, and that numerous "N.O.S." and original parts were utilized in the restoration.

In 1990 the car was sold to Packard guru, Don Sears, who oversaw the completion of the high-quality, authentic restoration, including installation of a correct 1941 engine, replacing the cracked original block. Virtually every element was attended to, including some oft-overlooked details as the correct combination of a brown marbled plastic dashboard and tan steering wheel. The result gathered numerous awards, including at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, in Antique Automobile Club of America judging in 1992, and a 100-point score with the Classic Car Club of America, with which the car holds Senior Premier badge number 1679.

Sears sold the Packard in 1992, after it had won virtually all that it could win. The following year it joined Thomas F. Derro’s collection, where it has been well maintained but only occasionally shown. Recently polished, detailed, and mechanically serviced, it proved to have excellent power for the highway in a recent road test. Indeed, one authority has commented that these cars were able to outperform the vaunted Buick Century, the “banker’s hot rod” of the same era.

Outside of the Darrin used by Clark Gable, there is no more well-known example of this most legendary of Packards than the authentic Banacek 1941 model. It is a car for the suave, debonair adventuresome man of distinction; it was true in 1941, it was true in the early 1970s, and it is still true today.


Please note that additional history has been discovered since the catalogue's publication. Please refer to rmsothebys.com for the latest, most complete description on this Packard.

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


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

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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Ontario, Canada

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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California, United States

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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United States

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

Donnie Gould


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Florida, United States

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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Ontario, Canada

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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California, United States

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

Kurt Forry


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California, United States

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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California, United States

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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Ontario, Canada

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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United Kingdom

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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United Kingdom

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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Ontario, Canada

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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California, United States

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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United Kingdom

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