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Lot 221

1934 Packard Twelve Sport Coupe by LeBaron

  • Chassis no. 750795
  • Engine no. 901601
  • Vehicle no. 1106-4 / 783-4

Sold for $2,200,000


Please note that this lot is titled as a 1939.

Series 1106. Body Style 4070. 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: 135 in.

  • The last of four built; numerous one-off features
  • The 1934 New York Auto Show car
  • Distinguished provenance, including long-term Texas history
  • One of the most important Classic Era Packards
  • A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity


Packard’s most beautiful automobiles of the 1930s were arguably produced as part of the Eleventh Series, and they boasted the first gentle hints of streamlining, such as a slightly angled radiator shell, more deeply skirted fenders, and vee’d headlamp lenses. The 12-cylinder models of this series were the ultimate Packards, and the ultimate of the ultimate were the versions designed by Alexis de Sakhnoffsky and built by LeBaron, of Detroit. These scarce cars featured the latest in aerodynamics, including separate sensuously rounded pontoon fenders, curved running boards nearly blended into the body, and tapered tails. They were the hottest thing to come from East Grand Boulevard in years.

Two of the LeBaron styles, the Runabout Speedster and the Sport Coupe, were given their own unique, sporty chassis, which ended up being a shortened 136-inch wheelbase variant of the Twelve platform, known as the 1106. The chassis was mounted on a sturdy Standard Eight frame, and it utilized the V-12 engine. The Sport Coupe, with its fastback roofline inspired by the Mercedes-Benz Autobahn-Kurier, was the real shape of things to come, so it is no wonder that Packard tried to claim credit for it; the bodies may have been built by LeBaron, but they were attributed to the Packard Custom Body Division.

Packard historians generally agree that four Sport Coupes were produced, while older references list only three survivors. Today, all four have been located, and one of them is the car offered here.

THE NEW YORK SPORT COUPE: VEHICLE NUMBER 1106-4

The fourth and final car, vehicle number 1106-4, is the vehicle offered here. It is powered by engine number 901601—a number that is important to verifying its history, as will soon be seen. The engine is, in itself, the lowest engine serial number known of the Eleventh Series, and it is either the first or second V-12 engine built for that series.

Vehicle number 1106-4 was photographed when new on the famous “turntable” at the Packard factory. This photograph clearly shows that when it was first built, the car had the same fixed rear quarter “teardrop” windows and steel roof as the other three Sport Coupes that preceded it, as well as conventional 1934 Eleventh Series front end styling.

Following the 1934 show season, 1106-4 was returned to the Packard factory and updated with the Twelfth Series’ new front sheet metal, which included a more angular grille and head lamps, as well as a leather-covered padded roof that obscured the rear quarter windows. It was then returned to the turntable and photographed again, this time as it appears today.

Copies of these photographs, which feature the car in both its Eleventh Series and Twelfth Series forms, are reproduced here courtesy of Michigan State University. The MSU copies are, importantly, both inscribed with “engine no. 901-601,” which is the engine that is still under the hood of this important Packard today, and they also identify this car in both its forms as being the 1934 New York Auto Show car.

According to Edward J. Blend’s book, The Magnificent Packard Twelve of Nineteen Thirty-Four, vehicle number 1106-4 remained with Packard for five years, and it was originally delivered to a Pittsburgh industrialist, Mr. Braeburn, in 1939, which was also the year that it was first titled in Pennsylvania. It was kept at the garage of the Morrowfield, an exclusive hotel and apartment complex in Pittsburgh’s Oakland district.

Mr. Blend notes that the car was sold out of Pittsburgh 10 years later. It made its way to Texas, and for many years it was part of the collection of James Tagliabue, a Houston-area funeral director with a large stable of Packards, which all had padded roofs and were painted dark green. The late Robert K. Voss, a long-time Packard enthusiast from Texas, recalled seeing the car in the Tagliabue Collection, and he confirmed that, at the time, it was still in its original and unrestored condition and finished in Packard Green, as it is today. By this time, the car is recorded by Blend as having adopted its present vehicle number, 783-4, which is a reference to its Packard style number and body number.

The car was restored in the 1980s while part of the prominent Jerry J. Moore Collection in Houston, and it was exhibited by Moore at numerous concours d’elegance. Today, it has a 1983 AACA National First Prize badge and a CCCA National First Prize badge, number 1049. It was eventually sold into the ownership of renowned collector Arturo Keller, in whose stable it remained for many years. Mr. Keller traded the car to David Kane, of New Jersey, for another Packard, of which he was enamored, and it was then passed to well-known enthusiast Carmine Zeccardi, from whom it was attained by the Andrews’.

This well-known and highly regarded Sport Coupe is featured in Hugo Pfau’s The Custom-Bodied Packard (page 151), Dennis Adler’s Packard (page 57), Beverly Rae Kimes’s Packard: A History of the Motor Car and the Company (page 438), and Michael Lamm and Dave Holls’s A Century of Automotive Style (page 221). It has been well-maintained and properly conserved as part of the Andrews Collection, with only the gentle patina of age found in its paint and matching leather interior. The temptation is to drive it and see what that hot drivetrain will do, but also equally tempting is the thought of a show restoration, one that will see this onetime dazzler once again entrance audiences.

Simply put, the New York Sport Coupe remains very much a showstopper.

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