Did You Know Packard Built A Twin-Six?

Illustration for article titled Did You Know Packard Built A Twin-Six?

We've all heard of GM's industrial-grade Twin-Six, but did you know Packard built a Twin-Six decades before and put it in passenger cars? Indeed, and here's a runabout with one in the nose for sale in Houston.


Packard's Twin Six was designed with some of the same elements of the legendary Liberty engines built for WWI airplanes (they're said to have been designed in only five days after a request from US War Department). The passenger car version of Packard Twin Six was a 424 cubic inch 60-degree V-engine with 85 HP at 3,000 RPM. Between 1916 and 1923 Packard produced about 35,000 copies of the engine, and one of them is in this totally cool 1916 edition runabout. Check out the totally rad array of levers riding on a couple cross-car bars. There's one you have to straddle as you're driving, that's a terrible idea but it's so freakin COOL.

If you're so inclined, here's the brief history on the car, but we're still geeking out on the levers:

HISTORY Our records and documents state three twin-six chassis and two 8-cylionders engines were shipped to Argentina between 1916-1919 to a group of automobile enthusiast It appears through the letters and correspondences acquired thus far, shows that this may be the last of the group found. Its ownership could be traced back to Mr. Mariano de la Fuentes and/or Mr. DePalma.

Information shared between pass owners suggests that Chassis # 321568 was race in the Cordoba region of South America and had many voyages to and from Europe during the 1920 to the 1930's. The next 30 years leaves a hole in this racers history; there is no documented history on chassis #32168 till 1962, when this Runabout was purchased by William Humphries with the intent to restore it. A High level executive for Shell Oil, based in America and Argentina, Mr. Humphries realized the project was too specialized for his abilities and decided to sell the car to Mr. Frederick Douglas.

Mr. Douglas, a fellow executive at shell had plans to restore and to import the Packard back home to Midland, Texas. He would preserve its story and it could be a very special piece of Packard race history. The problem came when government officials of Argentina refused the exportation of what they claimed was a national treasure. In the next 12 months, Mr. Douglas hired, a Mr. Columbo to essentially camouflage the Packard by putting old pick up truck parts, some model T parts, and repainted the car green, red, and black to disguise the Packard. Mr. Douglas also shipped back the original parts to his home in Texas throughout the same time frame undetected. The Packard passed customs and made sail in 1964 to America. Mr. Douglas acquired information on servicing and reassembling the automobile, and even ordered copies of its manuals which still existed. Mr. Douglas became ill and passed away in 1968 before he even began restoration of this Runabout.

The late Mrs. Douglas had no interest in keeping the Packard and sold it to Mr. Elwood Hardman in 1969. Elwood Hardman, like others past, had a wish to restore the Packard; however his job and family left him no time to restore the Packard. He stored the Packard in his home in a room with no windows and no way out. He wanted no one to know he had the Packard. In 2001 Mr. Elwood finally sold the car to Mr. William Eyler and Mr. David Rosenwinge, a restoration manager. Pictures still exist today of when the wall in Mr. Hardman home had to be removed so that Mr. Eyker and Mr. Rosenwinge could retriever their newly purchased Packard. Rosenwinge immediately began striping the car of parts that did not belong and quoted "as we expected, there I a racecar under here and I'm going to find it!"

In 2003, after complete restoration, the Packard made way to Mr. Antony Reed, and Rick Eagen of Specialized Motors ports. From there the car has been shown at the national Packard Museum and other events, such as the 2005 Pebble Beach Motoring Classic. In 2006, the Current owner, a Houston collector, purchased the car from Mr. Eagen, and since then has been stored in THE VAULT, a climate controlled storage facility, in Houston, Texas; and has been shown at many Concour Events such as Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and Classy Chassis.




Clark Gable had a gorgeous one of these, not this nifty little runabout though. Didn't the twin six eventually become known as the Packard Twelve?