Auctions and Brokerage
Formerly the Property of Richard Paine and Matt Browning
The Packard 1-38
It’s a classic tale: Customer buys a new car, suggests improvements to the manufacturer, and is told that if he thinks he can build something better, he should do so. In this instance, the year was 1899, the car was a single-cylinder Winton, and the customer was James Ward Packard. Mr. Packard, a mechanical engineer by training, indeed went home to build a superior automobile. Within a decade, Packard had become a major automaker, offering a broad range of models aimed at the luxury market.
The 1914 1-38 series was a continuation of the 1912–1913 “First 38 series,” or “Dominant Six,” as it was known internally. Body styles ranged from a three-passenger Runabout on a 115” chassis to a seven-passenger limousine on a 138” wheelbase. Bodies were constructed of aluminum over white ash framing. 1-38 models were powered by a 415 cid inline six-cylinder L-head engine that developed 60 hp at 1,720 rpm. It was a robust motor with seven main bearings and its cylinders cast in pairs. Electrics were 6 volts; ignition was jump-spark by Bosch dual magneto. All had a multi-plate dry-disc clutch linking to a rear-mounted sliding-straight-cut gear transaxle with three speeds plus reverse.
Packard introduced many new features in the 1914 1-38, including a Delco electric starting system, left-hand steering, and a centralized unit on the steering column to control ignition, lighting, horn, and carburetor mixture.
Although the 1-38 models were Packard’s lowest-cost automobiles, priced between $4,050 and $5,400, they were in a lofty market segment and competed successfully with such prestige makes as Pierce-Arrow, Peerless, Lozier, Stevens-Duryea, Simplex, National, and American Underslung.
The names of this lovely old Packard Phaeton’s earliest owners are lost to history, but it is known to have come from the Richard Paine Collection in Seal Cove, Maine, prior to 1979, where it had been maintained in remarkably original condition. About 25 years ago, it passed into the hands of the esteemed Matt Browning Collection in Ogden, Utah, as part of a multi-car trade. At that time, Matt Browning sent the car to Packard expert Barry Keating at Classic Crossroads in Salt Lake City. Given the car’s incredible originality, it was considered a perfect restoration candidate. Keating began a bare-frame restoration that included fabrication of all-new aluminum fenders by California Metal Shapers, new paint, and extensive replating of the brightwork. Six new demountable rims and their mounting hardware were completed by Sam Clark in Lucerne, California, at a cost of about $10,000. Keating recalls the car still having its original top and side curtains, cork floorboards, and running boards, and most of its original hose clamps and fasteners.
When the car was close to finished, Mr. Browning passed away, and his family retrieved the partially assembled Phaeton from Keating. It was sent to Clyde Wade, former Director and General Manager of the William F. Harrah Automobile Collection in Reno, Nevada, for completion. The car was later sold by Mr. Browning’s estate at the Christie’s Monterey auction in 2000 to the consignor, who immediately delivered it to marque specialist Bob Mosier at Mosier Restorations in Inglewood, California, for freshening.
Mosier describes the car as having been in very presentable condition. However, he and his team of craftsmen found that it was in need of additional mechanical work. The transmission case was repaired; a majority of the gears and shafts were replaced; new bearings and seals were installed; and the water pump, magneto, carburetor, engine air pumps, water pressure throttle diaphragm, and ignition quadrant were all rebuilt. The engine valves were reground and the valve timing adjusted.
Numerous small items were restored in 2004 and 2005 by Eric Peterson at Leydon Restorations in Lahaska, Pennsylvania. In 2007, a new gas tank was fabricated by Robert Hand at Hand’s Elderly Auto Care in Grand Prairie, Texas. The car received new tires and tubes, along with new brake bands. There was a good deal of electrical work, rebuilding of the control linkages, and adjustment of the steering. In Mosier’s words, “We left no stone unturned.”
The car was completed in time to be invited to the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where this Packard claimed a second-place trophy in Class A, Antiques through 1915. “I recall that it was very nicely done,” says one of the Pebble Beach judges who inspected the car. Demonstrating that this fine old automobile was as capable on the highway as on the field, Mosier also drove it on that year’s Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance. Additionally, the Packard took part in the Paso Robles antique car tour, further proving its merits.
This matching-numbers 1914 Packard 1-38 Five-Passenger Phaeton is presented in the attractive color combination of a black and olive green body with black fenders, belting, chassis, and running gear; black button-tufted long-grain leather upholstery; black top; wooden artillery wheels with demountable rims; and twin spares. It is one of just nine surviving examples of 940 constructed and, as it approaches its 100th birthday, would be a notable addition to any collection of early American automobiles, suitable for show or touring. This Packard 1-38 remains a well-known and highly regarded example, and is an ideal antique for any collection.