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Lot 147

1931 Packard 840 Individual Custom Convertible Sedan by Dietrich

  • Chassis no. 840-206
  • Engine no. 189598
  • Body no. 141611

$200,000 - $300,000

120 hp, 384.8 cu. in. L-head eight, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 140.5"

- From the collection of Gene Perkins, former Chief Judge, Classic Car Club of America

- Owned and restored by J.B. and Dorothy Nethercutt

- Ex-Harrah Collection

- One of fewer than 10 built

For Packard buyers that wanted an extra level of exclusivity, the factory offered so-called “Individual Customs,” which consisted of coachbuilt catalog offerings by Dietrich. The bodies were ordered in batches by Packard and would be finished as far as primer so that the purchaser could select his or her own colors and materials. Among the offerings for 1931 was the Style #1881 Dietrich Convertible Sedan. According to authoritative research, no more than nine were built and with good reason; at a price of $5,275, this was one of the costliest styles available. Chassis 840-206, one of six known survivors, was sold new in March 1931 in Pasadena, California. It was purchased in 1958 by famed collector Mr. J.B. Nethercutt, who commissioned a meticulous restoration done to extremely high standards that would not be prevalent for decades.

Included in the thick restoration file, which still accompanies the car, is documentation regarding the engine rebuild, which employed a custom-made Iskendarian camshaft, as well as the rebuilding of the rare late-1931 or early-1932 four-speed transmission with synchromesh top gears. As was common in the period, Mr. Nethercutt chose to replace the original engine for a correct original replacement. Chassis 840-206 has had only 1,000 miles added to the odometer since completion of the restoration for a total of approximately 61,000 original miles. Paperwork in the car file includes two Nethercutt titles, as well as a Nevada title from its next owner, Mr. Bill Harrah.

This Dietrich was sold to Harrah in 1963 as part of a group of 15 cars. It was retained by the Harrah collection until 1988 when it went into private hands and was purchased by Mr. Gene Perkins about 8 years ago. Despite being an older CCCA Senior Award-winning restoration, this car displays very well, owing its condition to the quality of the craftsmanship as well as maintenance performed by its well-known owners. Although there are a few cracks evident in the Cream and Chocolate Brown paint and the doors still retain the initials of Mr. & Mrs. Nethercutt, the chrome reportedly remains excellent, and the top was replaced within the last several years. The Brown cloth interior is barely worn, and the woodwork is described by Mr. Perkins as “dynamite.” The underside and engine bay are clean and present nicely. Since this car does not have a divider window, the front seat can be adjusted for a driver of any size. Aside from being a rare model, this Packard is equipped with side-mounted spares with dual painted and chromed enclosures and mirrors, a “Daphne at the Well” radiator mascot, dual taillights, luggage rack with trunk, wide whitewall tires, radiator stone guard and sunshade. With an exceptional restoration, prominent ownership history, unquestionable authenticity and rarity, this would be an exceptional motor car to tour or freshen and return to the concours field.


Please note this vehicle is titled by its Engine Number 189598.

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

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

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