Lot 442: 1907 Packard Model Thirty U Series Runabout
James Ward Packard was a demanding character who entered the motoring arena in the closing years of the nineteenth century, buying a Winton motor car in 1898 which caused him so many problems and major fall outs with the equally demanding and even more feisty Scotsman, Alexander Winton, that Packard decided that he could do better and so set about building his own gasoline motor buggy. Recruiting first his brother, William Doud Packard, and then enlisting Winton�s key men, George Weiss and William Hatcher, James Ward set aside part of the family Warren, Ohio, transformer factory to design and build their first automobile. On November 6th, 1899 that first automobile nudged out of the factory gates for its test run which was successfully accomplished, leading the Warren Tribune to report �the successful completion of the machine will probably mean a factory for automobiles in this city.� Little did they realise that they had witnessed the start of a legend. Motor car production began in earnest in Warren and it was not until 1903 that production shifted to Detroit.
In 1900 a new company, the Ohio Automobile Company, was formally established with production that year reaching 49 motorcars. The Model B of that year followed very much the pattern of the 1899 prototypes with a conventional single-cylinder, four-stroke engine driving through a planetary transmission system, with final drive by chain. Packard�s automatic ignition advance was years ahead of its time and along with the H-pattern gearshift was a feature later adopted across the industry. The seal of approval for the new models was the patronage of no less than William D. Rockefeller who ordered his new car at the New York Automobile Show late in 1900, switching allegiance from Winton�that must have given J.W. and W.D. a great deal of pleasure!
Engine size was progressively increased and in 1902 the first twin cylinder Packard, the Model G, was built in Warren � it was not deemed a success, only four were built. Packard had the business acumen to recognise his mistakes and move on quickly, resulting in the announcement of the first four-cylinder car, the Model K, in the Fall of 1902. Now the Packard brothers were really motoring and that same year the Packard Motor Car Company was established, a new factory being set up in Detroit in 1903. Recognising the value of participation in motor sport, the new four cylinder cars were entered in competition, designer Charles Schmidt taking the wheel himself and driving to a creditable fourth place in the first Vanderbilt Cup race in 1904 and at Daytona achieving a remarkable 77.6 mph mile record. Packard sales escalated on the back of the publicity generated and by 1904 annual production exceeded 200 units for the first time. 1904 models displaced 241.7 cu.in., the 1905 models being just slightly bigger at 265.7 cu.in., but it was in 1906 that massive strides forward were made with the Model S (otherwise known as the Model 24) which feature for the first time a �T� configuration cylinder head and magneto jump spark ignition. The Model Thirty was a development of that Model S, the highly efficient T-head engine now displacing 431.9 cu.in. and developing a purposeful 30bhp, helped by the larger valves now fitted. The more formal touring car and the limousine and landaulette model were assembled on the longer 122in. wheelbase chassis, while the distinctly sporting Runabout with two passenger seating was built on the shorter 108 in. wheelbase chassis. In total some 1,128 Model Thirty (U series) cars left the Detroit works.
Chassis no. 3924, with Runabout coachwork, was supplied new in 1907 to a Mr. Shaw of Topsfield, Massachusetts, who retained the car until 1940 when it was acquired by well-known early collector Rod Blood, who kept the car for some 26 years. Passing in 1966 to a Ms. Ivy Finn, it was later owned by George Waterman, then Robert Petrarca of Warwick, Rhode Island, then to Joe Beers of Windgap, Pennsylvania in 1972, who retained the car until his demise in 2006. Beers was a veteran of no less than 28 Glidden Tours and many other events.
This imposing Runabout, the subject of a ground-up restoration in Illinois in 1984, is distinctively presented in yellow, suitably pinstriped in deep maroon, with red wheels and chassis detail, the curved bucket seats being upholstered in deep-buttoned red leather. Impressive and comprehensive driving equipment includes a cape top, secured by leather straps, folding brass-framed windshield, rear view mirror, brass gas headlamps and kerosene side and rear lamps, while curiously the passenger is provided with the facility of a bulb horn. The wooden artillery wheels are equipped with NON SKID tires, with two spares mounted on the driver�s side. Fittings throughout are of brass, including the distinctive �trademark� Packard radiator. Chassi no. 3924 is presently running on its dual distributors, although the magneto accompanies the car. In short here is a car fully equipped for the more demanding �Brass and Gas� tours, with an impressive record of success in such events that, subject to the usual careful re-commissioning and safety checks, it is well capable of continuing.
This wonderful survivor is one hundred years old with every owner known and the thirty-second oldest complete Packard known to exist.
Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia|
Bonhams & Butterfields, Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club, Carmel, California
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||$403000|
|Engine number||displacing 431.9 cu.in. and developing a purposeful 30bhp, helped by the larger valves now fitted. The more formal touring car and the limousine and landaulette model were assembled on the longer 122in. wheelbase chassis, while the distinctly sporting Ru|
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