Founded in 1899, The Packard Motor Car Company for many years made prestigious luxury cars. The original Packard, "Old #1", still exists and runs. To own a Packard was to make a statement to the world that one had truly arrived.
Early in the company's history, Packard built a twelve cylinder engine they called the "Twin Six". For a variety of reasons, the Twin Six was dropped and Packard's straight eight became their mainstay engine.
In the early 1930s, Packard re-introduced its Twin-Six, later re-naming it the Packard Twelve. In the opinion of many Packard enthusiasts, the 1934 Twelves were the pinnacle of Packard design for the era. More graceful than the offerings of the 20s and early 30s, but not yet 'streamlined' as were the Packards of the late 30s, the 1934 models even today are beautiful cars. Only 960 Twelves were built in 1934, the country being still in the depths of the Depression.
The Packard Twelve is a 445 cubic inch engine. Developing only 160 horsepower from all that displacement, the engine is decidedly under-stressed, just as Packard engineers intended. However, it does develop plenty of torque to haul the 5,000 pounds of Packard around. The engine is silky-smooth and quiet, exactly as one would expect of a car of the Packard's status.
«Louis» spotted this beautiful 1934 Packard Twelve LeBaron Sport Phaeton in Emeryville. Only three such Packards were built. Note how the headlamps echo the shape of the classic Packard radiator shell. In the photo, the car appears to be a two passenger vehicle, but if you look closely, you see the rear doors and the the rear cowl folded down. It is, in fact, a four-door, four-passenger car.
«Louis'» dream car is a Packard of a later vintage - a Packard Caribbean.
Photos courtesy of Fantasy Junction, Emeryville, CA