2021 | Pebble Beach Auctions
1942 Packard Custom Super Eight 180 Convertible Victoria
Coachwork by Darrin
$275,000 - $325,000
The Sixth of Just 15 Darrin Victorias Built for 1942; Final-Year Model
Offered from a Respected Private Collection
Resplendent in Period Colors of Maroon with Tan Leather
An Exceedingly Rare, Exciting, and Desirable Packard to Show or Tour
Single Stromberg 2-Barrel Carburetor
160 BHP at 4,600 RPM
3-Speed Manual Gearbox with Overdrive
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Front Independent Suspension with Coil Springs
Rear Live Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Norman Knight, Kalamazoo, Michigan (acquired by late-1960s)John H. “Jack” Behn, Bridgeport, Connecticut (acquired from the above circa mid-1970s)Dr. Fernando “Ferdie” Pacheco, Florida (acquired from the above circa 1980)Jim Timberlake, Springfield, Illinois (acquired circa mid-1990s)Current Owner (acquired in 2004)
Born in 1897 in Cranford, New Jersey, Howard “Dutch” Darrin was an American WWI fighting ace, designer, inventor, and entrepreneur who became fascinated by automobiles at an early age. In 1923, he and fellow American Thomas Hibbard sailed for Paris to help a New York Minerva distributorship establish a relationship with Hispano-Suiza. It was not long before they established Carrosserie Hibbard & Darrin, leased space on the Champs-Élysées, and, until 1929, created wonderful coachbuilt motorcars for the world’s elite.
In 1931, Darrin met J. Fernandez, a Parisian banker interested in coach- building and possessing the financial means to continue Darrin’s work. Carrosserie Fernandez & Darrin was formed and produced coachbuilt masterpieces for the next several years. With the lead-up to WWII, Darrin moved back to the US in 1937 to capitalize on his Hollywood connections. He knew the Hollywood elite loved the power, quality, and prestige of Packard automobiles, but desired flashier body styles than anything Packard offered. He soon began modifying Packards with bodies of his own design. The cars featured a low hood line and curvaceous coachwork, vee’d windshields, padded dashboards, and bucket seats – and the Victorias received the famous “Darrin Dip” cut-down doors. Darrin sold cars to such Hollywood luminaries as Gloria Swanson, Tyrone Power, Al Jolson, and Errol Flynn. With such notable success, Packard soon began listing the Darrin as an official model.
The Darrin Victoria offered here is among the very last Darrins produced, due to the Packard factory being conscripted into the war effort; the model was not continued following WWII. While its earliest history is not conclusively known, this Packard is rumored to have been a gift when new to the president of Mexico by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, though this has never been firmly established. In the late-1960s, it was owned by Packard historian Norman Knight, before passing in the mid-1970s to another Packard Club member, John H. “Jack” Behn. Around 1980, it was purchased by Dr. Fernando “Ferdie” Pacheco, who was notably employed as Muhammad Ali’s personal ringside physician. After appearing at auction in 1992, the Darrin was later in the care of enthusiast Jim Timberlake; then in 2004, it was acquired by the current owner, and has since been mechanically and cosmetically maintained by his full-time staff.
Today, the remaining Darrins are among the most highly sought-after Packards due to their rarity, engaging road manners, and stunning looks. Finished in an elegant maroon over a tan leather interior, this cherished Darrin stands ready to accompany its next caretaker on a new set of adventures in old-Hollywood style.
*Please note this car is titled by its engine number.