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Lot 233

1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Stationary Coupe by Dietrich

  • Chassis no. 901968
  • Engine no. 901979
  • Vehicle no. 1108-32

Sold for $4,180,000


Series 1108. Body Style 4068. 160 bhp, 445.5 cu. in. modified L-head V-12 engine, three-speed selective synchromesh manual transmission, vacuum-assisted clutch, shaft drive with a hypoid rear axle, front and rear leaf-spring suspension, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 147 in.

  • A sumptuous, beautiful Dietrich design on the Eleventh Series chassis
  • One of five known survivors; long-term enthusiast ownership
  • Well-known history, with fascinating original ownership
  • Exquisite Pebble Beach Best in Class-winning restoration
  • Simply put, the epitome of CCCA Full Classic design


Packard management, while conservative, was always on the lookout for new talent. When Raymond Dietrich set up Dietrich Inc. in Detroit as the design arm of Murray Body Corporation, his smart and elegant designs attracted the attention of East Grand Boulevard. As a result, Packard soon became one of Dietrich’s best customers, to the point where they incorporated his styling cues in later production cars. After 1933, all open Packards carried Dietrich body tags, as they recognized the influence of Dietrich’s work.

However, as all true Packard aficionados know, Dietrich does not necessarily mean “Dietrich.” True Dietrichs are the so-called Individual Custom cars that were built and offered on a limited-production basis, with only a few of each style being produced per year between 1931 and 1934. These Individual Customs were offered only on Packard’s Senior Eight and Twelve chassis, and their lines were simply exquisite, beginning with its graceful vee’d windshield, continuing on to the Dietrich’s trademark beltline, and finishing with a superb and elegantly tailored roofline and tail.

One of the most impressive Dietrich bodies was the two-passenger stationary coupe, so-named to set it apart from the coupe roadster. This body was the ultimate in Classic Era logic, and it rode the same 147-inch-wheelbase 1108 chassis as other Eleventh Series Individual Custom Dietrichs, but it could hold only a comfortable pair of adults and their luggage. It was a stunning machine that looked as powerful as, indeed, it was.

Five surviving 1934 Eleventh Series Twelve Individual Custom Stationary Coupes are known, of which all but the car offered here are held in long-term, private museum collections, from which they are unlikely to soon emerge.

MRS. EKEN’S PACKARD

The Stationary Coupe offered here is vehicle number 1108-32, and it was delivered on November 1, 1933, to Morristown Packard, of New Jersey, as is indisputably proven by the original vehicle number plaque still attached to the firewall. While the original Dietrich brass tag is no longer mounted to the wood below the driver’s seat, it was fortunately photographed on the car by a previous owner, identifying it as being body style number 4068 (the stationary coupe) and body number 8232.

Most impressively, we know the name of the original owner, thanks to a properly filled-out service booklet for Packard Lubrication Service, which accompanies the car. The booklet notes that model 1108, with engine number 901979, was sold new on November 2, 1933, to Mrs. A.J. Eken, who had addresses in both Morristown and Madison. Given that the date of sale is so near to that of the car’s delivery, it is likely that rather than being built as a showroom display model, this car was specifically crafted for Mrs. Eken. Mrs. Eken is believed to have been the spouse of Andrew Jackson Eken, one of the contractors who built the Empire State Building.

The next owner of record for vehicle number 1108-32 was Charles Earle Theall, who purchased it on August 27, 1957, from Valerie Motors, of Mamaroneck, New York. Mr. Theall’s ownership of the car was no secret, and it was definitely known to enthusiasts, as he is listed with the car in Edward J. Blend’s The Magnificent Packard Twelve of Nineteen Thirty-Four. He worked on its restoration for over 40 years, in a garage that had been built specifically for this purpose, as it was completely walled-in and without a garage door, to keep prying eyes away and to make theft considerably more difficult.

The car was acquired from the Theall Estate by Ralph Marano, the first of several important modern-day Packard enthusiasts to have since owned this Stationary Coupe. Its restoration, which was performed by well-known Stone Barn Restorations, of Alpha, New Jersey, was begun for Carmine Zeccardi, but it was completed for J. Frank Ricciardelli, who had fallen in love with the car’s elegant lines and masterful detailing. Reportedly, the car’s long, careful storage in the Theall garage had preserved it well, and the panels and paint surfaces were able to be fit laser-tight, with only minor repairs.

Considerable research was required to determine the correct colors for the car, which ended up being a lovely, very subtle two-tone mint green arrangement that had been taken from the original sales manual for the Individual Customs. A small square of the original upholstery provided proof of the original materials and weave, while a period photograph reportedly determined the colors. The result is a truly wonderful car with an undeniably authentic look.

The completed car debuted at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where, in a virtually unprecedented performance, it was recognized with a First in Class, the CCCA Award of Excellence, and the Most Elegant Closed Car.

Given that historical factory documentation simply does not exist for Packards, it is rare indeed to find a Dietrich Individual Custom with proof of its origins, but in this case, not only does this car have its original firewall-mounted data tag, it also has the service booklet, which confirms its original engine number, original owner, and delivery details. This confirmed history, coupled with the best modern, authentic restoration, which has been recognized as superlative by the most finicky of judges, has resulted in a truly superb Packard Twelve, one that has lines that are anything but stationary!

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