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Lot 138: Packard Super Eight

Fine Motor cars incl. The Jaguar Legend, Coys (14 July 2012)

There is little argument that Packards ranked high among the best-built luxury cars of the American elite in the 1930s; though the Depression had severely hit the market for the multi-cylinder chassis, a proportion of traditional customers still felt able to treat themselves to the wonderful Super Eight, even though it was seventy percent more expensive than the standard Eight. 1938 was a dire year for the American economy, the stock market halving from the high point of 1937 and sales of all cars were affected by the malaise; not very much to anyone's surprise, Super Eight sales halved from the previous year. All 1938 Super Eights are therefore uncommon, and the convertible coupe roadster on offer today was, in any case always an unusual choice so this very special factory Right Hand Drive version is very rare indeed - it is doubtful whether another exists. Packard only introduced independent front suspension in 1937 and the change made for a vast improvement in handling; this, coupled with remarkable top gear performance, makes the car a delight to drive. Little is known of the early history of the car but there was a strong belief by the American gentleman, Mr R D Robinson, who owned it from 1969 until 2010 that the first owner was a British nobleman, though he in fact purchased it from Andy Stewart, the Scottish entertainer, whom a name older enthusiasts will recall from his heather-encrusted television presentation of New Year's Eve festivities in he 1960s. Mr Robinson retained the car until his death in 2010, and during most of the time he owned the car it was maintained for him by an excellent Virginian engineer called Al Morkunas, who also accompanied Mr Robertson on many long distance rallies. When the present owner (who is only offering the car for sale to fund a major restoration project) contacted Mr Morkunas to ask if he considered the car capable of making a long continental trip, he was told to go ahead without any worries. In the event the car completed the 1350 mile mini rally to the South of France with only a lost wiper blade. The history file which accompanies the car contains a large number of bills documenting the history of works carried out during Mr Robertson's ownership. Coachwork is finished in Ocean Blue, which suits the car very well, with a Buff leather interior. During Mr Robertson's ownership, the back seats were added to the rear compartment which originally was trimmed to take luggage. The dickey has now had the seats removed and is trimmed for luggage, though it would be a simple matter to reverse this arrangement to the original layout. One of the most charming features of the car is its wonderful 'Art deco' dash, with all correct instrumentation including a delightfully elaborate clock. The owner remarks that he was amazed at the car's torquey ability to negotiate most of the scores of roundabouts, small and large, which now litter the roads of France, in top gear. The address of Mr Morkunas will be made available to the next owner and, as he retains a degree of affection for the car he nursed for thirty years he is more than willing to advise and help its new guardian.

Lot Details
Auction Fine Motor cars incl. The Jaguar Legend
Coys, Blenheim Palace,Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PX
TypeCar
Lot Number138
Estimate£70000-£80000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1938
Condition rating
Registration number827 YUL
Mileage-
Chassis numberA501423
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2