Classic Car Overview
1939 Packard Twelve 2/4 Passenger Coupe Only 9 of these 1939 17 Series Packard Twelve Coupes are known to still survive. This beauty was formerly owned by Ken Kercheval better known as Cliff Barnes on the TV series Dallas. In 1939 with most cars selling for $600, the very idea of someone plunking down $5,000 for a 2-passenger automobile was a tad ostentatious. Extremely powerful for its day, a Packard Twelve, weighting over 2-1/2 tons, could accelerate from 0 to 30 mph in under 8.5 seconds. These elegant carriages were the personal Lear Jet of the day, moving the very wealthy from one place to another in supreme comfort - symbols of style and class - the affirmation of success and power for the man or woman who knew what he or she wanted. Features include golf club compartment, rumble seat with correct leather arm rests, complete personalized set of luggage within rear trunk, extraordinarily rare Peacock Hood Ornament (which is actually the functional antenna for the factory Packard radio), dual wheel mounts, new correct wide white wall tires and much more. Exterior From that amazing Peacock hood ornament, to the tall vertical ribbed front grille flanked by a metal covered chrome bezeled bullet style headlight on either side, you HAVE arrived. Large bulbous front fenders tastefully pleated in the center, and coves to accommodate the dual metal encased spare tires with rear view mirror toppers, this car is the definition of wealthy. Just the continuation of the curve after the spare enclosures drips of over design, but looks fabulous. Nice straight running boards make the connection to the curved rear fender, long sloping curved mother in law seat, and a body matching painted and chromed cantilevered trunk with custom luggage inside, the side view of this car seemingly goes on forever. Crisp clean no corrosion chrome is on this car with plenty of bumper guards, bezels and trimmings to feast your eyes on. Wide white sidewalls wrap chrome ring dished wheels with a Packard Twelve badged dog dish hub covering on all 4 corners. All wrapped up in good condition Belfair Green paint. Interior Tufting and buttoning was all the rage in the late 1930s and this car interior is the embodiment of wool broadcloth, complete with oval buttons. This is seen on the door panels along with a wood lacquered top rail, and shiny chromed cranks and levers. Slipping inside we are enveloped in more tufted and oval buttoned broadcloth, wide buckets, that move independently of each other. All this in a tasteful and matching light green. Turning to the dash which is fronted by a swooping stylized banjo steering wheel with a bakelite dark pea green wheel, which fronts plenty of wood burl behind it. This lacquered burl has a polished aluminum trim strip running horizontally and houses the instruments. Speedometer and gauges have a wonderful warm background with white lettering and 20s style Langsdorf necktie pointers. These gauges all maintain beautiful bezels for highlighting them. A series of extra chromed knobs and ignition switch hangs below the dash. Very nice wool carpet in matching light green covers the floors. A broadcloth headliner appears as new. A note to the rear rumble seat, which is in green leather, and is also spotless. Drivetrain Virtually 2 inline 6-cylinder engines have been put together in a V formation and with 445.5 cubic inches fed by a single 2-barrel Stromberg carburetor, there is plenty of power to go around. A 3-speed manual transmission is bolted on back. Noted is the nicely performed restoration on the engine and engine bay, maintaining originality. Undercarriage A wildly successful amalgamation of straight steel, and X frame reinforcing it, rust free body hangers, clean wheel wells, and no rust, the undercarriage presents as well as the top side. Steel floorpans, and suspension are all clean, and present in beautiful black. Drum brakes are attached to all 4 wheels, and independent coil spring suspension for the front, and leaf spring for the rear are noted. Drive-Ability One of the benefits of writing for Classic Auto Mall is I have the opportunity to drive virtually anything that comes through the door, and this car did not disappoint. Despite its weight, it accelerated well, handles nicely, and did not have the feel of a large car. It turned around the corners smoothly, shifted easily, and noted the interior has wonderful sound deadening. A beautiful driver. About as close to exceptional as one can get with this neat coupe having a V12 power plant, snazzy wood broadcloth interior with this oval buttons, and excellently preserved exterior. All the trimmings are still here including that custom fitted luggage trunk levitating off the back of the car, and all working buttons and knobs. Venturing into how the other half lives is not a bad thing, and I might just stay there.