1936 Packard Twelve Gentleman's Tailback Speedster V12

1936 Packard Twelve Gentleman's Tailback Speedster V12

According to America’s Packard Museum, this coachwork was designed and executed by the fabled Howard “Dutch” Darrin in Paris, in 1936, when he was in partnership with J. Fernandez, a wealthy banker and furniture manufacturer. It is one of a group of either five or six speedsters (history is a little vague on this point) which Darrin built on various chassis, including Packard, Duesenberg, Delage, and Buick (and perhaps another) in the 1936/1937 time frame, and shortly before Darrin shut down the Paris operation and returned to Hollywood, California in mid-1937. It is believed that the Buick example exists today and the Delage was spotted on national television with President Jimmy Carter riding in the car.

These particular speedsters were all produced by using a cache of Auburn Speedster “bodies-in-white” which Darrin had been able to acquire from the financially troubled Auburn Distributor in Paris, as a starting point.

This example is believed to have been originally commissioned by Parisian playboy Count Armand de La Rochefoucauld, Darrin’s polo-playing pal. Howard Darrin’s passion for polo was shared by La Rochefoucauld, who, though not having Darrin’s skill, was still an aficionado of the sport, and owned many of the ponies ridden by Darrin. It is reported that by early 1937 La Rochefoucauld owned not only a Fernandez & Darrin Town Car, executed on a Hispano-Suiza chassis, but the Packard Twelve Speedster as well.

This magnificent motor car, like many others, has acquired over the years a “Legend” in which it is claimed that a Mr. Dick Saunders, in upstate New York, built this piece of rolling art, “in his backyard” using a rope, a tree limb, a dis-used Auburn boattail body, and a Packard Twelve chassis and engine. Or maybe it was first on a Marmon chassis, either with or without a Marmon V-16 engine, depending on who is telling which version of the Legend. Or maybe the Packard Twelve was in the Marmon chassis. Or maybe the Marmon V-16 engine was in the Packard chassis.

Descriptions & pictures by wikipedia & conceptcarz & mecum & imgur

Production Start 1936
Country of origin USA