1933 Packard 1005 Twelve Convertible Victoria
Vehicle no. 647-12
Frame no. 901136
Motor no. 901140
Body no. 3050 / 6200
Series 1005. 160 bhp, 445 cu. in. modified L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142 in.
From August 14, 1941, until 2012, a remarkable span of over seventy years, this Packard remained in the ownership of Bradford E. Blake, Jr., an engineer from Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Blake drove the car only occasionally. According to a written attestation from Leigh Brent, who had known both Packard and owner while growing up nearby, Mr. Blake claimed to have bought the car from Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Jr.
Mr. Vanderbilt maintained an impressive Baltimore-area estate and thoroughbred farm, Sagamore Farms, the legacy of his mother, local socialite and Bromo-Seltzer heiress Margaret Emerson Vanderbilt, one of America’s wealthiest women. It is believed, given the timing of the car’s sale on February 7, 1933, that it had been bought by Mrs. Vanderbilt as a 21st birthday gift to her son, after he declined a Rolls-Royce on the basis that it was too ostentatious. Surely, then, the subtle yet elegant Packard met his standard. Further, by sheer luck, Mr. Brent later encountered his wife’s childhood nanny, Lee Johnson, who informed him that her husband Wilbur had worked at Sagamore Farm, where his jobs included taking care of the “beautiful black Packard.”
After his acquisition of the Packard in 1941, Mr. Blake largely maintained it in his garage; he would, according to Mr. Brent, occasionally “start ‘the old girl up’” but seems to have seldom driven it – a habit reportedly spawned from the gasoline rationing of the war. It remained tucked away until its longtime owner’s passing in March 2012 at the age of 91, then passed to a new caretaker.
The fourth owner, a noted private collector and great Packard enthusiast, acquired the car in 2012, finding it to be in remarkably complete, authentic original condition. Not only did it retain the original chassis, engine, and body, but it even retained the original Dietrich body tag, the original firewall tag, and the original proving grounds tag on the glove box! The body wood remained sound and much of the factory black finish and red leather upholstery were still intact, although both were significantly worn by time and age.
With the odometer showing fewer than 20,000 miles, the car was, in short, the perfect basis for a full concours restoration, undertaken to a meticulous standard by Harbor Auto Restoration of Rockledge, Florida, and preserving the aforementioned original data tags. The car went on to achieve 2nd in Class at the competitive and revered Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2015, followed by Best in Class at that year’s Packard Nationals and a Pinehurst Award at the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance in 2016. The following year it was acquired its next owner, in whose care it has remained unshown but extremely well-preserved and still in virtually show- ready condition. In the care of the collection manager it has received proper maintenance, including routine starting and driving exercises, and continues to display beautifully. Further, it is accompanied by a correct jack and tool roll, as well as a book assembled by the previous owner documenting the restoration including a set of side-by-side comparison photos showing the unrestored car next to the now-restored car, showing how all original details were faithfully adhered to.
There are few more superb examples of the Classic twelve-cylinder Packard – boasting extraordinary provenance, all original components, and an award-winning restoration. It is truly a thoroughbred machine.
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