Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Darrin
Beautifully Restored Concours Award WinnerNick DeAngelis (acquired circa 1980s)Charles Cawley (acquired circa 1990s)Ray Lutgert, Naples, Florida (acquired circa 2000s)Cornelius Wentges, Naples, Florida (acquired from the above)Lloyd Cranford, Long Beach, California (acquired in 2006)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 1995Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, Rochester, Michigan, 1999Los Angeles Concours d’Elegance, Pasadena, California, 2007 (Second Place)Newport Beach Concours d’Elegance, Dana Point, California, 2008 (Meguiar’s Best Paint Award)Coastline Car Classic, Corona del Mar, California, 2010 (First in Class)Packards International Membership Meet, Orange, California, 2011 (Best in Show)Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2012Packard Grand Salon, 2013 (249.4 of 250 Points)San Marino Motor Classic, California, 2014 (First in Class, Most Elegant)Automotive Driving Museum, El Segundo, California, Darrin Feature Exhibit, July–December 2015Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance, California, 2016Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance, California, 2017 (Third Place)Packards International Membership Meet, Newport Beach, California, 2018 (246 of 250 Points, Special Award Sport Motif)Benedict Castle Concours, Riverside, California, 2018 (First Place)La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, San Diego, California, 2018 (First in Class)
Born in Cranford, New Jersey, in 1897, Howard “Dutch” Darrin was an American WWI fighting ace, designer, inventor, and entrepreneur who became fascinated by automobiles at an early age. In 1923, Darrin 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 coachbuilding and with the financial means to continue Darrin’s work. Fernandez & Darrin was formed, and they 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 set 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 were swoopy, featuring vee’d windshields, padded dashboards, and bucket seats, and the Victorias had the famous “Darrin Dip” cut-down doors. Darrin sold cars to such Hollywood luminaries as Gloria Swanson, Tyrone Power, Al Jolson, and Errol Flynn. Initially, he could not convince Packard to include his designs as a factory offering, but in 1939, when The Hollywood Reporter mentioned Clark Gable’s Darrin-designed Packard in an article, Packard President Alvan Macauley could not resist. Packard struck a deal to include the Packard Darrin in their 1940 catalogue.
Magnificent in its sumptuous black paint with gleaming brightwork and oxblood leather interior, this 1941 Packard Custom Super Eight 180 Convertible Victoria is an enduring testament to the Darrin and Packard partnership. An accomplished show winner, it is the ninth of 35 Victorias built for 1941. This Darrin is one of as few as three known with running boards; additionally, it features fender skirts and a rare “K” multi-spoke steering wheel. It was sold new on May 27, 1941, by Ed Lee Packard in Pensacola, Florida. Believed to have been originally restored by Grey Hills Auto Restoration in New Jersey, the car was recently refreshed by Robert Escalante’s renowned Custom Auto Service, in Santa Ana, California, where it received new carpeting, top, wiring harness, and brightwork.
Offered with a shop manual, fender skirts, and service records, this Darrin is well known in Packard circles. This stunning automobile, a proven concours contender, has received two invitations to the incomparable Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, and has garnered awards at numerous shows in the West. It stands ready to provide its new owner endless enjoyment, reliving the golden age of Hollywood.