Hershey

9-10 October 2014

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Lot 146

1939 Packard Twelve Touring Cabriolet by Brunn

  • Engine no. B602030A

Sold for $143,000


Series 1708. 175 bhp, 473.3 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed column-shifted manual transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, semi-elliptic leaf-spring rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139 in.

  • Offered from a prominent private collection
  • One of the final Packard “catalogue customs”
  • Reportedly the first of two built in 1939
  • Intriguing Hollywood connection
  • A well-preserved and largely original car


This car is believed to have been the first of only two style number 4086 touring cabriolets built by Brunn on the Packard Twelve chassis in 1939, the final year of V-12 production. At $8,355 each, these were among the most expensive factory-authorized Packards ever built. This particular example is believed to have been originally delivered to Los Angeles through Packard’s “dealer to the stars” Earle C. Anthony. It is reported, but has never been confirmed, that the original owner of this car was successful Hollywood actor and bandleader Ray Noble, known for his appearances at New York City’s famed Rainbow Room.

This Touring Cabriolet was more recently owned by the late enthusiast Sam DelRusso Sr., of Connecticut, for many years, and then it was acquired from his estate by Robert Castignetti, of Massachusetts. The car later became part of the Richard and Linda Kughn Collection, from whom it was purchased by the current owner. It remains a very well-maintained and very original car that still wears what is believed to be its factory coat of black lacquer, which still holds a deep shine over straight, true body panels; only the paint around the windows has been redone. The tan cloth upholstery within is also believed to be original and is in very nice preserved condition, as is the interior hardware, which exhibits just mild tarnish and wear. The fabric top covering has been replaced at some point and shows minimal staining.

The walnut accents throughout the interior were refinished and highly varnished, and they have a deep, rich appeal. While the driver’s compartment is nicely detailed, the original steering wheel exhibits a few cracks. An interesting feature on the car is its optional column shift for the transmission, which was an option available on the 1939 models, making this one of the few CCCA Classics to boast a column-shifted transmission. The exterior brightwork is in good condition, and the car is equipped with wide whitewall tires. Dual side-mounted spares, coupled with a commodious trunk and an external folding trunk rack, give real meaning to the term “touring” cabriolet. The side-mount covers are fitted with Packard See-Rite side-view mirrors.

Perhaps the most fascinating, evocative touch on this car is the custom original umbrella, which is housed in a special compartment in the driver’s area, ready to be whisked out by the chauffeur at a moment’s notice to protect cherished clientele against the elements. Another especially interesting feature is the pair of stylish dual-tinted glass “Neutralite” skylights mounted above the windshield, which was a Brunn innovation that was intended to increase visibility for the driver. The fabric top features an elegant cabriolet bar and is semi-collapsible, with the rear portion folding down to provide enjoyable open air motoring to the rear passengers.

Given its overall condition and careful examination of all components, this appears to be a thoroughly original automobile that has been maintained but never fully restored, and the 59,874 miles recorded may well be the original reading since new.

Only 446 Packard Twelves were built in 1939, with the total number of all versions of Brunn touring cabriolets estimated at fewer than 10 examples. These touring cabriolets were among the last factory catalogue custom V-12 Packards, and they were also the most expensive. As a result, this is the perfect opportunity to acquire one of the rarest of the rare from the final year of the V-12 Packard, and one in very much its original condition.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more