It’s ironic but some of the best looking cars were built during the depths of the Great Depression. Just look at Packard; financially, the company was in good health, but the recession had taken its toll on sales in the fine car segment so their response was simple — design better cars — and, it worked. Beating off the threat from Cadillac and Lincoln was their new Twin Six and a variety of spectacular custom bodies wearing Dietrich coachwork, but the best was the Packard Twelve Coupe.
Featuring finely tailored lines with redesigned fenders extended to the front bumper, a refined chassis, and a whisper-quiet V12, the eleventh series was the signature car of the classic era. The dash was a jewelled work of art, surrounded by rich burled walnut trim, and the first to incorporate a built-in radio.
The 160bhp motor was mated to a three-speed selective synchromesh manual transmission with a vacuum-assisted clutch. Although it was built on huge long 147in wheelbase, it was designed to just accommodate two adults and their luggage. It was the ultimate in the small-cabin-on-a-long chassis style and unsurprisingly won First in Class at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It was a rolling, functioning piece of art, a truly stunning machine that looked as powerful as was — but only the truly wealthy could consider a new Packard Twelve, the moderately well-to-do could only dream of owning one and the same applies today. At a 2015 auction, one of the remaining five fetched over Dh14 million.
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