Proven reliable tour car. Known history dating back nearly 80 years. Rebuilt engine, overdrive, new wiring, restored wheels. Full weather equipment, including sidecurtains and tonneau. Powerful, fast early Full Classic ready to tour.
This handsome Third Series Twin Six has never been fully disassembled for restoration, but rather used and maintained the way the best cars tend to be, keeping it at the peak of mechanical fitness and ready to be used at a moment’s notice. Repainted once, perhaps in the 1950s, it has a fantastic look with a soft patina that isn’t deteriorated, but simply the result of aging gracefully. By taking a stroll around this centenarian, you can see the quality of the work and the care it has received over the past half-century. It needs nothing to be enjoyed, toured, and shown with pride at any event you care to attend and few of its peers can showcase their history in such a grand fashion. Black fenders and hood complement the deep burgundy bodywork, although there’s no disguising the car’s massive size.
By 1918 the era of high-maintenance brass was over, so there are some nickel details but for the most part, the trim is painted black, including the radiator, headlight rings, windshield, and even the door handles, giving the big touring car a very uniform look. You could add more bright trim, but I don’t think it would make the car look any better. Note details like the Boyce Moto-Meter which features a bi-plane on its face, perhaps linking to Packard’s experience with Liberty aircraft engines (which surely influenced the design of the Twin Six). There’s also a side-mounted trunk that’s quite handy for spares and tools, and we find the form-follows-function look of the trunk rather appealing. Twin spares out back balance the car’s mass quite well and there’s an accessory STOP light in the center of the spare tire rack, along with auxiliary marker lights that function as both stop lights and turn signals for safe touring.
The interior was freshened in the 1970s with correct-looking black leatherette on the seats, but it’s worth noting that the door panels, front seat back, and jump seats are 100% original. A massive wood-rimmed steering wheel makes the giant Packard remarkably easy to handle (this car was frequently driven by the owner’s wife as a parade vehicle, speaking highly of its user-friendly nature) and the controls are arranged in a familiar way, so it will be easy to get acquainted with your Twin Six. A full array of gauges monitors the engine, with an auxiliary temperature gauge added to the left of the steering column, perhaps because the Moto-Meter is just too far away to see clearly. The original Waltham clock has been removed for cleaning but will be reinstalled before delivery to the new owner. You may also be wondering about the additional knobs, including the large red one in the center of the dash—these are for the Borg-Warner overdrive unit that was installed in the 1970s for improved high-speed touring. Those of you with sharp eyes might also spot the updated Bosch voltage regulator and brand-new wiring under the dash, another addition that makes this car a reliable touring partner.
An accessory rear windscreen makes travel especially pleasant, and it folds down when not in use to give the car a very sleek profile. The top has surely been replaced at some point since it’s just too nice to be 100 years old, but it looks quite correct and remains in excellent condition with no rips, tears, or other issues. The car also includes a full tonneau, both front and rear, plus a complete set of side curtains under the rear seat and irons that store beneath the flap on the left side of the rear seat area, while an umbrella is stored on the right. There is also a proper top boot for the top when it’s in the down position, although it was not present for our photos (it will be included with the car upon delivery).
The magnificent 424 cubic inch V12 engine is a marvel of nickel-era engineering. This car carries its original engine which has been rebuilt, including new pistons, and runs superbly. It has been properly detailed in Packard Green engine enamel with a massive cast aluminum crankcase and removable cylinder blocks, as was typical of the period. Dual ignition systems fire the engine if it were two inline-6s and a centrally-mounted carburetor hangs under the cast aluminum water inlet manifold that feeds the radiator up front. You’ll note some repairs to the aluminum water inlet, which is typical and could be dressed a bit to improve the appearance, plus a set of 1-inch spacers that help move the carburetor away from the exhaust manifolds. Together with the heat shields in the valley of the V, this car doesn’t suffer from the usual vapor lock issues that plague many Twin Sixes.
It’s a little grumpy when you first start it (it’s more than 100 years old, after all) but the sound is sophisticated and far smoother than you might expect. There’s effortless torque at virtually any speed and performance exceeds just about anything else of the era, and downshifting is superfluous unless you’re at a dead stop. With the overdrive engaged, it will cruise comfortably at 50-55 MPH, although you should always bear in mind that the external contracting brakes are rear wheel only. The overdrive itself is so neatly integrated that it looks like it was installed by the factory, and the incredibly heavy-duty parts used throughout speak to Packard’s quality. You’ll note a modern electric fuel pump, which is how the car is currently running, but the complete air-pressure fuel delivery system is intact and simply disconnected, so it can be put back into service if that’s your inclination. In back, modern tube shocks have been installed to help improve ride and handling, but again, the original recoil-style shocks are still in place with their canvas straps. The 25-inch wooden wheels were restored recently and look tremendous against the burgundy bodywork with their matching pinstripes. 35x5 Universal blackwall tires are the right choice, giving this Twin Six a purposeful and restrained look.
With long-term ownership, an interesting history (for example, John Glenn was a passenger in the car during his first campaign for US Congress), thoughtful upgrades, and thoroughly-sorted mechanicals, this is a marvelous early Packard that delivers superior performance on the road. If you’re seeking restored perfection, this isn’t it, but if you understand that the best cars to own are those that have always been loved, respected, and used as intended, this Packard will not disappoint. Now that these are CCCA Full Classics, this would be a fine addition to any CARavan or Glidden Tour without worries that primitive performance will hold you back. Today, as when it was new, performance makes all the difference. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com