Always built to the highest standards, the Packard was unquestionably one of the finest American cars of the pre-war era. Dissatisfaction with his Winton motor carriage is said to have spurred James Ward Packard to build a superior automobile. Aided by his brother and two defectors from the Winton company, Packard set up shop in his electrical engineering factory in Warren, Ohio, from which the first Packard car - the single-cylinder Model A runabout - emerged in November 1899. The Packard's innovative engineering and superior build quality were soon attracting the attention of wealthy clients, William D Rockefeller purchasing two at the New York Automobile Show in November 1900. 'Ask The Man Who Owns One,' was adopted as the company's advertising slogan.
Cars powered by two-, four- and six-cylinder engines quickly followed, before Packard became the first manufacturer to introduce a series production V12 with the launch of the Twin Six for 1916. Competitively priced at just $2,600 when launched in 1915, the Twin Six would turn out to be an immense success for the company, with in excess of 35,000 sold by the time production ceased in 1923. Powered by a 7.0-litre 60° V12 engine producing it maximum of 88bhp at a lowly 2,600 revs, it was available in two wheelbase lengths: 125" and 135", and was notable for its ability to accelerate from walking pace to a top speed of 70mph in top gear. One of the most formidable high-performance production cars of its day, the Twin Six was replaced by the all new Packard Single Eight in 1924.
This Series 1 Packard Twin Six was originally fitted with a tourer body.
The car was imported from Australia in the 1980s and then laid up until its purchase in 2012 by the current owner. With the original body and wheels being unusable, the owner decided to set about recreating the racing Typhoon body of the record breaking car from 1916 from original photographs, the only changes made being subtle ones to please the eye. The body incorporates a third seat at the rear, while the wire-spoked wheels were made to Typhoon specification. A huge open-wheeled racer that looks fit for Goliath, the result is truly remarkable.
The car's overall condition is said to be exceptional, with not a single drip of oil visible on the engine. The latter drives via a three-speed gearbox, with an added overdrive operating on 2nd and top gears. The overdrive makes for increased top speed and more comfortable cruising while lessening the strain on the engine, and the Typhoon really is a pleasure to drive on the road.
The dashboard is made from beautifully varnished wood, incorporating period Jaeger instruments and three switches for fuel, ignition, and the overdrive. The front seats are upholstered in period-style button leather with the driver's seat mounted on adjustable rails. Removing the rear compartment cover unveils a beautiful single seat, covered with the same button leather, while there is also a selection of tools and a custom fitted cover.
This unique car has been loved and used in various events and venues over the last few years including Brooklands and Prescott, and it even took 4th place (out of 200) in the 2017 Brooklands Double Twelve Event. A stylish 'Brass Era' American sports roadster from a premier make, this magnificent Packard has recently been dated by the VCC.