Mar. 23rd 2012 – Auto of the day – HAND BUILT – Auto #3
Lot No: 341
1932 Packard DeLuxe Eight 904 Individual Custom Convertible Victoria
Coachwork by Dietrich
Chassis no. 194181
Engine no. 194200
Serial no. 904-95
*385ci,135 horsepower straight eight
*Rare, open coachwork
Packard’s most expensive and prestigious eight-cylinder offerings for 1932 were the superb 147.5-inch wheelbase “Individual Custom” models. Counted among these limited production semi-custom models was the beautifully sleek Vee-windshield Convertible Victoria by Dietrich. It’s arguably the finest expression of that body type ever to grace a Classic-era chassis.
Carrying a factory price tag of $6,850—enough to buy ten new 1932 Ford V-8s in that year of unprecedented economic crisis—only four of the lovely Ninth Series Dietrich Convertible Victorias were built. One of them is the car offered here.
Raymond Dietrich had been a consultant to Packard and overseer of its series-built custom body program since 1927. His Dietrich, Inc. design shop—a subsidiary of Murray Body Corp.—also produced several semi-custom styles, mostly sport models, for Packard each year. Regrettably, Ray Dietrich would leave Packard just as the 1932 models, which included some of the most beautiful designs of his career, commenced production.
Developed from a style that initially found favor in Europe, the first Packard Dietrich Convertible Victoria was introduced in 1929. However, it was the beautifully restyled 1932 Individual Custom edition that to this day epitomizes the classic design.
The elegant close-coupled Convertible Victoria for 1932 carries a slender two-piece V’eed windshield that accents its breathtaking sleekness of line. Doors hinged at the front pillar are a Dietrich design hallmark. The body-color metal sidemount covers and trunk add unity to the appearance. The offered example is additionally equipped with chrome wire wheels.
Packard’s highly regarded 385ci eight, rated at 135 horsepower for 1932, powers the Dietrich Convertible Victoria. The automaker’s new V-12 engine, which followed the DeLuxe Eight line into production in early 1932, was also available. The twelve-cylinder model was essentially identical in appearance, except for series identification, to the car offered here.
A Bijur automatic chassis lubricator provides lubrication to 40 points on the Ninth Series DeLuxe Eight chassis. “Ride Stabilizers” designed into the front bumper ends utilize weights mounted on springs to reduce road-induced vibration. A total of 700 DeLuxe Eight Individual Custom chassis were produced—610 during 1931, and 90 during 1932.
The offered DeLuxe Eight 904 Dietrich Convertible Victoria still carries its original body and chassis plates. An “every nut-and-bolt” restoration was completed in 1999, and the car subsequently received multiple Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) awards. The Packard was acquired by the late John O’Quinn for this Classy Classics Cars collection in 2006 and made its debut Concours showing in Michigan that year.
Presented in splendid livery and remaining in exceptionally fine condition, this authentic Packard Dietrich Convertible Victoria provides a momentous opportunity to acquire one of the most beautiful and coveted Classic automobiles recognized by the CCCA.
Estimate: US$600,000 – 700,000