12 Cylinder Luxury Roadster: 1934 Packard Twelve

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

The Packard Motor Car Company dates all the way back to the late nineteenth century when the company first began producing vehicles in Warren, Ohio during the year 1899.  Packard was known for its innovation during their early days, including the introduction of one of the first production V12 engines, and also for manufacturing high-quality luxury automobiles that were considered prestigious status symbols to have in your driveway.  In 1916, the company introduced its Twelve, which was originally offered until 1923 when the car took a ten-year hiatus until the second generation of cars emerged in 1933.  If you’ve been in the market for one of the latter vehicles to take on as a project, this 1934 Packard Twelve for sale here on eBay might just fit the bill.  It’s located in Lakewood, California, and so far nobody has placed the opening bid of $65,000.  There’s also a reserve, so it’s going to take more cash than that for this one to end up in your garage.

Barn Finds would like to thank reader Peter Rettig for spotting this Twelve and sending it our way!  The whereabouts of this Packard can be dated back 70 years, as the car has been in the same family since 1952, with the above photo taken way back in 1953.  Unfortunately, it’s not looking quite the same these days, as the car apparently sat under numerous tarps in a Long Beach driveway from 1960 until early last year.  The good news is that the seller says the car is surprisingly complete, and even still has a factory radio intact.

One supposed Packard expert who looked at the car thinks its original exterior color may have been blue, but the seller doesn’t see any evidence that the car has ever been in any accidents or had any repairs made to the body, although he does state there is some rust present.  There are also a handful of photos included from the underside, including this one, and hopefully, most of the corrosion we’re seeing from down below is primarily on the surface.

Sometime between the years of 1952 and 1957, the seller mentions that the original V12 was swapped out for a different 30k mile engine from a 1933 Packard Twelve sedan.  After the changeover, the car was taken to the DMV with the replacement powerplant in place for inspection, and the seller still has the letter from the Department Of Motor Vehicles which he offers as confirmation that the motor exchange did indeed take place.  The seller does not think the V12 still turns, although he has never made any attempt to turn it over.

The same expert who thought the original color was blue also believes that the front seats are not original to the car, and in addition thinks the top isn’t the original material, although the seller is not positive about any of these theories.  However, the rumble seat leather is stated to be original, though it’s very aged.  While it seems like the next owner is going to have a pretty good-sized job on their hands getting this one back to its glory days, with the overall completeness of the car maybe it’s a worthwhile project for a buyer with the right set of skills.  What are your thoughts on this 1934 Packard Twelve?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972Member

    First off, you’d need to find out what a restored example is worth on today’s market. Then you’d have to estimate what it will cost to restore the car. If the restoration, plus what the seller wants for the car costs more than the car will be worth, then you’ll have to decide if you are willing to restore the car at a financial loss. You’ll probably come out of it eventually, but it may take a long time. I have a feeling the seller overvalues the car as it sits, and his reserve is probably optimistic. But what do I know, maybe it’s a deal for the right person. Anyway, I think this is a Jay Leno car. He’s got the resources and the deep pockets to take this on.

    Like 8
    • Robert White

      One never makes a clear profit on a restoration. Restorations are always ventures that eat up bank accounts for very little in the way of return profits.

      Nobody in the restoration business really makes money on the restorations.
      Most just stay afloat and move on to the next restoration with the cash they retrieved out of the last restoration.

      Most of the hours spent are never recouped.

      Bob

      Like 10
      • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972Member

        Can’t say I believe that Bob. If there wasn’t any money in the restoration business, nobody would do it. Where I had some body and paint work done on my ’95 F150, they specialized in restoring/repairing old cars and pickups and they had plenty of work from what I saw and they had been in business for years. A lot of guys don’t have the skills to do mechanical or body work but have plenty of money to pay somebody to do it for them. You almost always come out on top restoring a big dollar car or you have dad’s old car restored and don’t care if the restoration costs more than the car is worth because it’s dad’s old car.

        Like 11
      • KurtMember

        Well stated.This should be printed on a waiver form to be acknowledged by signing at the bottom by the spouse of every restorer!

        Like 3
      • David Cremer

        If that is true then how do the restorers themselves make repeated and flashy trips to Pebble Beach and Amelia all the time? As someone else just said, if there was no money to be made in the business, no one would be in it. There is money all over in the restoration business. It’s why only well-heeled people can afford to buy a car like this one and have it restored.

        Like 1
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    No wonder they made great tow trucks, a fate of many “full classics”. While the photo may suggest some fancy movie star, I doubt they would have a snow tire on the front, with a puddle of oil, looks pretty fried. I just don’t know what the future holds for these types of cars. Not nice enough to enjoy right away, plenty of full classics, sitting in storage, with a ton of dust on them, and TURN KEY too, but just no interest anymore. A ’51 Plymouth is a tough sell today.
    Far as the restoration debate, I’m going to side with Robert. Many restorations are stalled because of gargantuan increases in costs, many times with the owner bailing out, leaving the shop with hours of labor and a half finished car nobody wants, that can’t be recouped. Oh, TV makes it seem so glamorous, maybe in S. Cal., but in the rest of the world, shops are failing left and right. With soaring costs just at the grocery store, a car restoration is way down on the list, if at all.

    Like 7
    • GitterDunn

      Interest in the true Full Classics (I’m not talking about the ’51 Plymouths or ’38 Oldsmobiles, etc.) remains strong. This coupe roadster is a prime restoration candidate, and it will sell (maybe not for $65K), and it will be restored. The top restoration shops, those with master craftsmen, who specialize in meticulous high-end restorations are generally the ones who are doing well. The folks who buy and undertake the restoration of these cars are not the folks who fret about the price of groceries.

      Like 13
  3. Jay E.Member

    I love what these cars represented when they were made, a true reflection of power and wealth. It was more than the cost, it was a reflection of the finer things in life that could be attained and because of the quality, could allow transportation to be more than just getting from place to place.
    I’m not sure that todays million dollar supercars carry the same status. They may be fast, but is it really usable? I can’t imagine even getting in and out of one, let alone crawl along in LA traffic. The Packard was opulent function that I can wrap my imagination around..
    I’d love to have something like this because it would still reflect something that I don’t have now. The money to own it, a place to put it and the time to enjoy it. Hopefully someone with the means and foresight will bring this one back to its former glory. Great find. Great history. Great car.

    Like 14
  4. Ricardo Ventura

    Good manufacturer , beautiful model and with many details .
    I hope it stays in good hands.

    Like 7
  5. larry

    I would figure $200k for a decent restoration and no. You won’t get that back in today’s market.

    Like 2
  6. Bob “The ICEMAN”

    This is car I have been looking for. Good Lord it has great potential if brought back to life under the care of a person who has the funds. It is a shame the car had been left for so long, but it is what it is. There is hope, but this is not a job for guy who thinks he can whack this out with an adjustable wrench and a can of paint.

    Like 3
  7. George Birth

    Another optimistic seller. These guy’s throw a high price on old cars and hope they find some one foolish enough to shell out that kind of cash. This would be a beautiful car once finished but to take it to that level is going to deplete some one’s wallet. For what is being offered the price is way to high for any return.

    Like 3
  8. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    Just yesterday I attended the Rockville, MD, car show, and as a Packard guy, I had to check out the Packard Club’s row of fine motorcars. At the very end of the line was an identical, but recently restored, 1934 Packard 12 convertible coupe with rumble seat, and a similar color scheme. Hope you enjoy the photo. Also including an original Packard factory photo of what it looked like new.

    The car in the ebay ad and the one I saw at the show are both Packard model # 739, and part of the 1107 series of Packard 12 cars. They are exceedingly rare, so much that the website Packardinfo.com says no 739 cars are known to exist, so there may well be only 2 remaining.

    So what could it be worth when it’s professionally restored? Hard to say if there are no fairly recent examples of similar cars selling. Done to national concourse 99.9 specs, it could possibly be around $250,000.

    But as this car is not running, and the cost of a Packard 12 restoration is extremely high, I suspect this car is priced a bit on the high side.

    Like 13
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      And here is what one looked like when new. This photo is from the Packard factory archives. Love those black wall tires on a very expensive car!

      Like 7
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      Correction: I checked a Packard Club membership book, and it lists 8 examples of the #739 1107 series 12 Conv Coupe.

      Like 3
      • Little_Cars Little_Cars

        As you and many others in my automotive circle know, my father owned two Packards prior/during WWII. While stationed at Fort Knox, he owned a blue example of this car, albeit an 8 and not a 12. I have one photo of it parked at the barracks as well as the military license tag that was mounted on the car. He never put any additional significance on the car other than it was the finest motorcar he’d ever owned and didn’t keep it long enough!

        Like 1
    • Jay E.Member

      When you see these restored Packards and Duesenburgs out in a lawn like that, it is breathtaking. Especially when parked next to a restored hemi cuda or other high end car. They easily hold their own and the craftsmanship is so much greater, especially in the small details. Even in rough condition it is hard to believe one is available for $65k.Thanks for posting this photo.

      Like 1
  9. CalMotorMember

    Optimistic seller? Three sales of this same model (’33-34 Twelve factory bodied coupe roadster) have sold at auction recently: RM Monterey 2019 for $390,000, Mecum Glendale 2022 for $440,000 and RM Monterey 2021 for $511,000. Restoration is very expensive but you could probably spend $300K+ and still sell the car and break even. Lots of 30s cars are losing value but top end models like this have always brought strong prices.

    Like 9
  10. douglas hunt

    “Unfortunately, it’s not looking quite the same these days, as the car apparently sat under numerous tarps in a Long Beach driveway from 1960 until early last year.”

    I am surprised that the city of Long Beach allowed that to happen until 2021.

    Like 3
    • David

      I live in Long Beach in a 1920s Craftsman house, we have long driveways in our neighborhood, I have a 1973 Datsun 240Z roller parked in front of the tiny garage, in my driveway covered for the last 5 years, no problems with the city. Still have room for the Porsche Boxter, her X5 and my Volt. Lakewood would be even easier to get away with Long term outdoor storage, Long Beach and Lakewood are side by side cities with Lakewood being more inland and a very middle class city, built by Douglas Aircraft wages back in the day.

      Like 0
  11. dogwater

    Bob you are so right its harder to find a shop that wants to do restoration’s the money is in new cars replacing a fender and throwing some paint on for $1000.00 also the guys that where doing the old cars are retired or died and if you get someone to do your car its $150.00 an hour

    Like 1
  12. V12MECH

    The rob Peter to pay Paul resto shops that poster white spoke of don’t last long, they come and go. Ask Paul Russell and 50 others still in business, that’s why it costs $120.00 an hour for a CORRECT resto, be it a A-bone or Ferrari. And that’s why today you will are better off to buy a driver or a finished car.

    Like 3
    • Woody

      Absolutely agree.
      A well restored, well sorted restoration, whether old boat or old car, is best enjoyed by the first person who purchases the vessel or vehicle from the individual who had it restored.
      They’ve often already buried themselves in the project and are now on to the next one……😄

      Like 0
  13. C.J. Lemm

    I just sold a 1937 Packard senior Club Sedan, I drove it for years until the engine was totally worn out, most engine rebuild shops wouldn’t do the machining for me, the few places that specialize in Packard V12s and Super 8s wanted a crazy money just to hot tank and bore the block, there are the weird rod and Main bearings that were also insanely priced ,the crankshaft counter weights have to be removed in order to turn and polish, they may bring big money at auction but you would be lucky to break even by the time your finished restoring it

    Like 1
    • HCMember

      I can only imagine what a machine shop would say if you brought this V12 in for a rebuild. Most old school builders of these Packard engines are gone, and anyone else would need to do some serious homework before attempting it. It’s also hard to believe that the seller hasn’t even tried turning this one over, much less tried getting it running. Most all machine shops today are backlogged for months just doing basic rebuilds and waiting for parts.

      Like 0
  14. Heck DodsonMember

    Unfortunately, most of the older guys that used to collect and restore this year Packard are long gone. It’s a museum type vehicle that should go to a Packard car club possibly, for its restoration. At least you know that it would be done right. Leno probably already has a couple of these. It’s still a great find

    Like 1
  15. Mitch

    By 8 known of 739 i believe that one like this has gone for 300k
    When we compare this car with pre-war Benz or Bugatti where Ettore
    made from some model some more, this is a rare opportunity.

    This pre-war cars are demanding. By owning. By maintenance.
    By restoration. Not to mention the wooden frames. Tricky

    We here are a dying sort that we are interested in such things. The smartphone generation only knows about coloured lights and flashing keyboards or artificial backfires. They seem to lack an understanding of what moved our great-grandparents.

    Like 0
  16. ben root

    were lucky here where iam in fl to get 50 to75 for resto work down south yes maybe more

    Like 0
  17. KurtMember

    Wish there were auto shop courses in high school like back in the day, with experienced mechanics and repair shops as sponsors. Imagine this car, restored to showroom state, in front of a very proud group of kids whose hard work produced beauty!

    Like 1
    • RunnerX

      Several real bidders at over $75K. And the 2 top bidders (both real) took it over $91,000. It may have not met the reserve set on EBay but the car has now sold for “strong” money and has already arrived at its new home. The new owners are ecstatic. And the several under-bidders all of bit disappointed they didn’t take it home. They all came back after the auction ended to try and get the car. So much for $65K being “too high.” There were actually 3 players on this car at approx $90K…..one of them made that offer before it even got to EBay. One of the interested parties said they couldn’t even believe such a car still existed today. The last owner inherited the car from their parents….which is why it mostly sat until the past couple of years. They didn’t have any control of the car. The car was presented to a couple “Packard Sources” to get the engine turning over but were either too busy or just not really interested. More than likely with a couple weeks of soaking the engine and applying leverage, the engine will rotate again. This is one of the few in existence with a proven paperwork trail back to the early 1950’s and with a factory data plate. The vast majority of Packard 12’s still around today can’t claim that….making this car all that much more desirable. And despite a little bit of surface rust on the car’s frame, it was pretty much rust free.

      Like 2
  18. Lee Jacobsen

    The new owner , Ken, loves his ‘project’, and many of us other Packard twelve owners will help him get it back on the road. Ken and his buddys love ‘rust’ so they are now in ‘heaven’. Ken’s is 739-55, mine is 739-51, the 41st one out of close to 50 supposedly built. Why 50? Numbering starts at 739-10 for some reason. MG starts each model run with 0251, their phone number!. Ed Blend, expert twelve owner and author, lists 739-58 as built in July of 1934, near the end of production for the year. No more have been found later than that, and his list was made in 1977. Having the brass plate on the firewall is a big plus, but there are about 26 other areas that can document the difference of a super eight from a true 1934 twelve roadster. Both the super 8 and 12 share the Vee shaped headlamp lenses. They share a chassis. Two areas have stamped 3/8th inch high body style numbers, the end of the rumble seat boot lid, opposite the locking latch, hard to access unless removing the lid, and in the wood of the golf club door. Mine has had several owners since the 50s, and other number references can be found in the paperwork or on pieces of new wood written in pencil to replace rotted wood. Ed Blend lists the differences. A twelve has raised lettering on the instruments, and has a 32 gallon gas tank, while an eight has screen printed dials and is 24 gallons. The steering box number on a twelve is stamped 90 degrees across the casting, while the eight has a number that is parallel to the steering column. The springs are wider on a twelve. The spokes on a twelve wire wheel are threaded, but welded on a super eight. While numbers on Packards of this era are not ‘matching’ , they should be close in a family. The anti-theft cowl number should be similar to other 739 series. The twelve has a Packard crest in the horn button, and wood grained, not so with the super eight. The ID cloisonne wheel and trunk emblems are obviously different. Finally, nothing is cast in stone, as $$ will buy whatever a Packard customer wants. Want a custom body made for winter use, it was done. A Packard twelve roadster is the hardest restoration I have attempted, now going decades and counting. Hope to finish it, but am doing all, and I mean ALL , the work myself, interior, paint, top etc, but now thinking of farming out some of the engine boring etc. What a beautiful project! Can’t wait to drive it.

    Like 2
    • GitterDunn

      One of the all-time great comments, Lee! Best of luck to both Ken and yourself on your Packard Twelve restoration projects.

      Like 1
  19. Gary

    Wow such a high price for a car that needs everything and has a different engine. I bough a nice packard for 27,000 V12 1934 that needed everything as well it is an 1108. I figure the restoration at about 200,000 with me doing a lot of the work.

    A custom bodied V12 will bring good money but if you are paying over 50,000 for that car you will be underwater when it is done. It looks like about a 20,000 dollar car because it doesn’t have the original motor……………….

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds