Motor City

25 July 2015

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Lot 137

1930 Packard Deluxe Eight Dual-Cowl Sport Phaeton

  • Chassis no. 185699
  • Engine no. 186153
  • Vehicle no. 185926

Sold for $308,000

106 bhp, 384.8 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with leaf-spring suspension, solid rear axle with hypoid gear drive, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145.5 in.

  • An authentic and well-respected example
  • Formerly of the Harold Crosby, Craven Foundation, and Jim Miller collections
  • Recent cosmetic and mechanical freshening by RM Auto Restoration
  • A superb Packard with the most iconic styling of its era

With new styling overseen by famed designer Ray Dietrich, the Seventh Series Packard models debuted on August 29, 1929, sporting lower, sleeker lines and the beautifully flowing front fenders so emblematic of the Classic Era. New headlamps and the repositioning of the lights from the cowl to the front fenders were other notable stylistic changes. Even though a wide range of custom bodies were available from the finest coachbuilders of the time, most Packards were production cars, and they were well built, luxurious, smooth, and very quiet nonetheless. Even these were frighteningly expensive, selling for the price of a very nice house.

Mechanically speaking, 1930 marked the first time Packard did not build its own carburetor, opting instead for an outsourced Detroit Lubricator updraft unit to feed its eight-cylinder engine. A new low gear was added to the three-speed gearbox to create a smooth-starting four-speed. Cooling was improved by a redesigned water pump with dual fan belts, and the slightly sloped grille was fitted with thermostatically controlled shutters. Five more lubrication points were added to the 1930 models, and Packard claimed that the standard Bijur lubricator dash control with its “Pull Daily” handle accomplished the work of “43 men with 43 oil cans.”

The dual-cowl sport phaeton was the most desirable among the open Packard body styles available in the Seventh Series. It was a classic four-passenger open model with a second windshield and cowl for rear seat passengers. In many ways, this dashing and well-proportioned style, which was so appropriate to country estates and summer homes, defined the 1930s Classic Era.


The known history of vehicle number 185926 begins with the renowned Southern California Packard connoisseur Harold Crosby, who acquired it at some time in the 1960s. While unfortunately the previous ownership history of the car is not known, Mr. Crosby was, in the words of one noted Packard historian, “a man who owned genuine cars,” and that, along with the presence of much of the original body wood found in this Packard, indicates that it was likely a well-kept and original example. In addition, all of the car’s mechanical components—chassis frame, engine block, and steering box—are properly numbered relatively close together, indicating that they are all the original factory-installed components.

Following Mr. Crosby’s initial restoration, the car was displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1970 and was awarded Best in Class, an auspicious beginning for what has been this Packard’s very fortunate life.

The car next passed into the ownership of well-known enthusiast, and founder of the Lester Tire Company, Tom Lester. In late 1972, it was sold by Mr. Lester, still in 100-point condition, to the Craven Foundation of Toronto, Ontario. Established by the Canadian tobacco company of the same name, the Craven Foundation was intended to be the Northern equivalent to Harrah’s Automobile Collection: a world-class public museum of the finest automobiles, accompanied by a large reference library. It was in operation for about 15 years in a purpose-built building on Lawrence Street West in Toronto and is still highly regarded by both Canadian and U.S. enthusiasts for the quality of its carefully chosen cars. Reportedly, this Packard was the finest automobile in the Craven Foundation’s collection and became one of its most famous “signature” vehicles.

Following Craven’s acquisition by Rothsmans, the Foundation was shuttered and its collection sold. In 1986, the Packard was acquired by Ross Young, of Lindsay, Ontario, and remained in his ownership until 2008, when it was purchased by the late, respected Ontario enthusiast, and friend to many, Jim Miller. Mr. Miller, like Mr. Crosby, was known for his superb eye for the best-restored and most authentic automobiles, and this Packard was a highlight of his family’s collection until its acquisition by the present owner.

During Mr. Miller’s ownership, the car underwent a high-quality cosmetic restoration by RM Auto Restoration, in which it was refinished in proper Packard Blue and Black—the original colors chosen by Mr. Crosby—and had its chrome re-plated as necessary. The tan leather interior is very well preserved and still in good condition, as is the tan canvas cloth top. Dual Pilot Ray lights, a radiator stone guard, the famous “Daphne at the Well” radiator mascot, dual side-mounted spares with mirrors, dual cowl lights, wind wings, a trunk rack, and chrome wire wheels shod in wide whitewall tires accentuate the dramatic and period-correct appearance. Additionally, in a recent road test, the Packard ran and drove smoothly and beautifully, a testament to proper care that has extended for most of its life.

This car is legendary in Packard circles for its quality, authenticity, and ownership by known knowledgeable connoisseurs. This is an outstanding example of one of the great designs of its era, a factory dual-cowl sport phaeton that is, in every way, Classic!

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

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
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

+1 203 912 7168
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

+1 415 302 2247
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

+1 617 513 0388
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

+1 954 566 2209
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

+1 519 352 4575
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

+1 310 559 4575
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

+1 717 623 1638
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

+1 805 231 6410
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

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

+1 519 352 4575
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

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
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

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

+1 519 784 9300
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

+1 310 559 4575
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

+31 653 84 19 60
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