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1939 Packard Twelve Brunn Touring Cabriolet

Mention “473 cubic inch V12” and you’ll see car enthusiasts of all sorts perk up to hear more. Even if muscle cars or tweaked-out four-cylinder tuners are your thing, take a minute to check out this 1939 Packard Twelve Brunn Touring Cabriolet in Lakewood, California. Listed here on eBay by the owner’s Son-in-law, the Packard’s description includes his best recollection of the owner’s stories about the car. At least eight bidders like what they see enough to raise the value of this long-stored luxury ride above $37,000. Parked where you see it since 1960, the Packard’s life as an automobile took a lengthy pause, making it part time capsule and part artifact.

Packard Twelve models took their name from the fabulous V12, an evolution of the previous “Twin Six” engine. This 1939 model marked the last year of Packard’s V12 engines, making 175 HP from 473 cubic inches, according to Wikipedia. You see a 1937 version running, in typical vibration-free Packard form, here on YouTube.

What is that? The Brunn-bodied cabriolet featured this unique treatment at the front windshield, easier to appreciate on this fine Sotheby’s example. Like numerous coach builders of the day, Brunn & Company of Buffalo, New York took a rolling chassis from Packard or other manufacturers and created bespoke vehicle for buyers of certain means. This cabriolet’s top includes a folding rear section, presumably for the enjoyment of the car’s chauffeur-driven owners.

The elegant Banjo-spoked wheel compliments a well-appointed interior. Column-shift for the three-speed synchronized manual transmission became optional in 1938. Because the original buyer owned dogs, he had custom canvas covers made for the seats and side panels.

Originally black, the Packard gained this tan paint before delivery to the original owner, which begs the question of who commissioned the Brunn bodywork. Either a Packard dealer gambled on selling the black coach-built cabriolet, or another buyer commissioned the car and then dropped out of the picture. Due to its enormous length, the Packard’s rear bumper was removed to allow the garage door to close. The bumper and other loose parts relating to the car come with the sale. Compared to more plebeian barn finds, a classic like this often comes with detailed service records and word-of-mouth history. It’s amazing to think of it sitting some 60 years, about two-thirds of its life, in one place. Now you can write the next chapter of this car’s story. What’s your idea of the ultimate barn find?


  1. Paolo

    Wow! Mugsy Spanier and his Dixieland Band. In High Fidelity!
    Nice Packard. I’ve never seen that windshield treatment before.

    Like 7
  2. William Shields

    I think I remember seeing a late thirties Lincoln with the same style

    Like 4
    • Bob Roller

      Herman Brunn,custom coach builder in Buffalo NY and finally closed in 1940 or 41The last Duesenberg I worked on had a Brunn 4 door convertible sedan body and was one of 3 made to this style and were called Riviera Phaetons.Brunn also made a long wheelbase Duesenberg sedan for E.L.Cord and another long wheelbase Duesenberg dual cowl phaeton known as the Brunn Torpedo phaeton.I have also seen several V12 Lincolns
      with Brunn bodiesAll 3 of the Rivera’s and the Torpedo phaeton
      had tops that folded out of sight into the rear of the body.
      This marvelous Packard will sell quickly and certainly a survivor
      of a time we hope will not be repeated called the “Great Depression” and World War 2 and the scrap drives that took useful cars to the smelters.

      Like 10
  3. Mike

    What a bizarrely written description. Here’s an excerpt:

    Written 14 Dec 2020…
    (1)1939 Packard Twelve Brunn Touring Cabriolet. Factory color, was black,,, rose-tan colored cloth interior,,, column shift,,, 473 cubic inch, 12 cylinder (see photos),,, Brunn, custom aluminum bodied, Touring Cabriolet. Engine number B602415 (see photo),,, Clearly stamped, but faded, firewall tag # 1708-2014 (see photo),,, Embossed firewall body numbers # “triangle 412141 triangle” (see photo),,, ( “clean” misplaced, currently lost, CA title, from 1954, with color copy of same.)
    (2)Purchased by my Father in Law in 1954. (My FiL=Father in Law )
    (3) According to my FiL, all the following, is, was true ( to the best of my memory, his memory, at the time. ( He told me, these stories, over 30 years, of me knowing him)
    (a) He, my FiL, purchased this car from the nephew of the original owner, up towards Pasadena, CA. The car, has since spent 66 years, in the Long Beach, California, area, where it sits, unmoved, since 1960.)
    (b) The original owner, (Original Owner = OO) was a “well to do” banker, in Santa Barbara, CA. He, the OO, had the car, chauffer driven.

    And it goes on and on with every sentence numbered, lettered and trivial things overexplained. Weird….

    Like 7
    • Jesse

      And that is the exception with some of the writers for this page. Some of the articles devolve into incoherent examples of how not to write a description of a car, and it makes you wonder why they even try.

      Like 7
      • T.R. Jones jr


        Like 0
    • Paolo

      You are overthinking it.

      Like 2
  4. norma desmond

    Seeing this, all I could think about was my
    Isotta Fraschini in the gay-rahge on blocks!

    Like 3
  5. Steve R

    Interesting car. The seller seems fairly high strung, I have a feeling he’s going to be fun to deal with.

    One pet peeve, if you are going to ask a lot of money for your car, make sure the title is in your name.

    Steve R

    Like 16
  6. BlondeUXB Member

    “The Last Convertible”

    Like 4
  7. charlie Member

    A magnificent car, could be Pebble Beach material if it is not far gone in any respect.

    Like 4
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Hopefully this will clean up to become a nice original unrestored car, rather than an over-restored trailer queen. I’ve owned over 300 Packards, but never a V-12. While most pre-war Senior Packards are rare, this is a VERY rare automobile, and hopefully it will be preserved as it is.

      Like 0
  8. Lance

    Something that old and that big dosen’t normally come with a V12. It comes with a Detroit Diesel 671

    Like 1
    • Charles Sawka

      What ?

      Like 2
  9. Norman McGill

    Grab that car NOW if you have the means. It appears to be a “one off” with that windshield treatment and the aluminum body. I’ve watched and owned a couple of Packard’s in my life and I’ve never seen anything like this one in person or otherwise. It must be restored. No rat rods or pimp mobiles here. This is a true piece of history and it needs a total restoration,mostly cosmetic, like a new paint job to match the original color. That car is fabulous and worth any amount you can get it for.

    Like 8
  10. Bob Roller

    Could be Pebble Beach material if they have a category for unrestored cars.
    Most shows cater to multimillionaires and their grossly over restored cars that are seldom used.
    Packard had a V12 called the Twin Six and it was discontinued in 1923 and then brought back in 1932 and changed the ID to Packard 12 in 1934 until 1939.During WW2 Packard’s high end manufacturing produced thousands if V12 aircraft and marine engines for the war effort.Packrad was considering a new V12 in 1956 but money was not available and another great old car maker passed away.

    Like 1
  11. Dewey Gill

    Not sure what Mugsy has to do with the Packard. In 1937 he was relaxin’ at the Tuoro (a mental hospital)

    Like 0
  12. Sunshine

    A lot of car to admire. Here is a finished example: https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20322/lot/488/

    Like 3
  13. Bill Hall

    This would be something I would love to have drive and show off. However since I am to cheap to buy lottery tickets it goin to happen.

    Like 2
  14. BigDoc Richard Van Dyke Sr

    I wish I was independently wealthy

    Like 0
  15. Maestro1 Member

    I’m with Norman. I think the Seller is irrational so I’d have to be patient but it’s one to save absolutely. Easily North of $100,000 in restoration and it doesn’t matter. If I had the room it would be sold.

    Like 0
  16. 27Stutz Member

    I, gave up, couldn’t make it to, the end, of his, description, it was too, late, and I had, to go, to, bed. Beautiful, Pack,ard, though.

    Like 3

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