Packard Twelve 1932

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It may surprise some people, but Ettore Bugatti himself liked to drive a Packard. Yes, the man who created the legendary Type 41 Royale and 57SC Atlantic, which are the most expensive lots of any auction, sometimes sat behind the wheel of cars of this brand. Enzo Ferrari was inspired by the 1915 Twin Six, the first twelve-cylinder production car in the world. The American car had such a strong influence on Ferrari that Enzo produced all cars under his brand with a V12 engine. And only appeared in 1968 model Dino had a V6 engine. This decision was caused by the desire to occupy a niche of cheaper sports cars.
The 12-cylinder Packard Twelve went into production in January ’32. Production of this Packard Twelve 1932 was rolled out during the Great Depression, which ruined such majestic brands as: – Duesenberg, Auburn, Cord, Marmon, Peerlees and Pierce – Arrow. It was the company’s second, twelve-cylinder model. And at the time, Cadillac and Marmon had already released their models with V16s. The Packard was not the most powerful, fastest, or most expensive car in the United States.

But cars of this brand were chosen by major politicians and businessmen. Franklin Roosevelt had one and he also gave the Twelve to the Soviet leader. The U.S. government knew about Stalin’s great love for the Packard. The latter drove a 1915 Twin Six after the 1917 Russian Revolution. Perhaps that is partly why Packard cars sold twice as well abroad as Pierce – Arrow and Peerlees combined.

The feature of the Packard Twelve is clear from the name. It is about the number of cylinders. Although there are fewer cylinders than in the Cadillac V16, the Packard was only 5 horsepower behind the flagship Cadillac. The Twelve was significantly more powerful than Cadillac’s twelve-cylinder model.
The company said, “Ask the owners of our car.” Packard made very comfortable and smooth running cars, with quiet and balanced engines. These were cars for those who valued quality, but did not want to flaunt their exuberance too much.

Many may be surprised, but originally, the flagship model of the brand was supposed to be twelve-cylinder and front wheel drive. What is not less interesting – it had to go in more accessible, price segment. To realize this idea in 1930, was hired a talented engineer – Cornellius Van Ranst who had already established himself in Ford, Chevrolet, Cord and even Duesenberg. And by the way! – The prototype created by this engineer had hydraulic brakes.

At that time, the only automobile with hydraulic brakes was incredibly expensive Duesenberg Model J. The cult Cord 810, which was equipped with front-wheel drive, went into production only in the 35th. The prototype with 150 horsepower V12 has shown the top speed of 176 km per hour. Which in those years was very significant. But because of the unreliable four-speed gearbox, and other shortcomings, it was decided to return to the usual rear-wheel drive scheme. But from this prototype, the Twelve received a superb V12 engine.
The first two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, Thomas Milton, was involved in the development of the twelve-cylinder Packard. Also working on the Packard since 1912 was Jesse Vincent, who during World War I worked on the V12 Liberty airplane engine. While working on Twelve, Vincent was chief engineer. The mere presence of this man on the team makes it logical that the first, automotive V12 was installed on the Packard.
Remarkably, in the first year of production, the new car was called – Twin Six, like the 1915 model. Only in the ’33 the novelty received a new name.

The cost of the Packard Twelve 1932.

In 1932, the cheapest Model 905 Coupe could be bought for $3,650, the equivalent of $80,000 these days. The price of the expensive All – Weather Town Car LanDoulet by LeBaron was $8,000, the equivalent of $180,000 today. For the most part, the price depended on the body – it could be factory or custom made. In the latter case, the cost of the car increased very substantially.
Of course, the Great Depression has made an adjustment in sales. So, the company sold 11,000 cars in ’32, which was four times less than in ’29. Of these 11,000, 557 were twelve cylinder trucks. In ’33, 520 Twelve were sold. It’s clear to everyone that if the Great Depression hadn’t happened, the new Packard would have sold much better. But in all 3 years of production, the Marmon Sixteen sold less than the Packard did in ’32, or ’33, alone.

Photo and exterior view.
Unlike Duesenberg, where all bodies were made to order. Packard offered 12 of its own bodies, but those who wanted to stand out could order one. The Individual Custom line had nine body styles, four of which were produced by Packard, with the remainder purchased from outside firms.
Government limousines often had a spotlight installed over the bumper, which swiveled in the same direction as the front wheels. The car could be equipped with spoked wheels, or artillery-type wheels with wooden spokes.
Twelve-cylinder machine with two types of wheelbase; – 142d ( 3,606 mm) and 147d ( 3,733.8 mm). Curb weight of the short wheelbase roadster was 2,495kg. The long wheelbase limousine could be much heavier.

Interior and equipment.
The front seat cushion could be adjusted for height. It was comfortable for a short driver. The armored versions were equipped with 50mm-thick windows. But the windows were darker, so it was visually different when it was protected by armor.

Engine and technical characteristics of Packard Twelve 1932.

The Packard 12-cylinder engine had cubic capacity of 445.5 cubic inches. This was comparable to the Cadillac V16. But the Twelve had larger cylinders. Piston stroke was 101.6mm and cylinder diameter was 87.3mm. The engine block was cast in cast iron, and the oil pan was aluminum and removable.

The compression ratio was 6.1:1, which was already a lot. The Cadillac V16 had a compression ratio of 5.3:1. A higher compression ratio contributes to power and economy, but such an engine needs fuel with a higher, octane number.

The engine had an unusual combustion chamber shape. In which the valves were not above the piston, but on the side of the piston. There were two valves per cylinder, which was the norm for that time. Only the incredible Duesenberg Model J got 4 valves per cylinder, which allowed a significant increase in maximum power.

But as stated above, machines like the Twelve were not created for maximum, power ratings, but for quiet and smooth operation. For this purpose hydro-compensators were installed, which were also found on other premium cars from the USA of that time. The power unit was powered by a Bendix – Stromberg carburetor.

The transmission was a three-scooter, fully synchronized. For all the advantages of the Duesenberg Model J, with its three-speed non-synchronized transmission, it lost out to other, expensive, American cars precisely in terms of ease of gear shifting. The Twelve has all right with the gearbox.

Maximum power of 160 horsepower is reached at 3,200 rpm. In terms of maximum torque of 436N.M., the Packard even slightly surpasses the Cadillac sixteen-cylinder. Depending on the body type, the top speed is from 165 to 180 km per hour.

In ’35 the engine capacity has been increased to 473.3 cubic inches. This was achieved by increasing the stroke by ΒΌ of an inch. Compression ratio was increased to 7.1:1. It also has a new engine block head. All this allowed to increase the power up to 186 hp.

The Packard Twelve 1932 was the first mass produced automobile which received an expansion tank of the cooling system.
The brakes on this American car are mechanical, drum type. Similar brakes were fitted to all Twelve’s competitors. Only the Duesenberg Model J received hydraulic brakes.

Packard managed to survive the Great Depression, but it forced the organization to completely reconsider its strategy. Thereafter, the company focused on producing quality, but not as expensive and impressive cars. In the short term, this helped make money. But later on, the company’s image began to suffer and sales declined. In the 20s and 30s, Packard overshadowed even Cadillac. The latter released their V16 to take the lead away from the Packard.

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