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Then and now: where did these prewar cars go?


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Fred Roe and I were active in the Society of Automotive Historians decades ago together and he would come down to my house on long island for the Pioneer Chapter SAH meetings as well.

We both were very passionate about custom bodied cars and coach builders and body  design in general. Like Twin6 states Fred did not photograph Packards much or at all. I asked the same question of Fred , knowing that in the 1940s he was taking his camera along to photograph cars on the street as well as his devoted interest to Duesenberg . He and I shared and made copies of period photographs to exchange so we could have the information to aid in our on going respective research on the same topic - coach work.  Fred Soule of New York was also a coachwork enthusiast but focused on the Holbrook Body Company. When the three of us got together the conversation only had one topic, and we would marvel over who used what particular style of molding, door handle ( all supplied by the McFarland Company in NY City) trim etc. John Conde was President of SAH when I was VP, and when he saw the three of us get together he would comment "there they go again". We always sat near each other at the annual SAH banquet in Hummelstown, Pa. held during the annual Hershey Fall meet as well. It was always a pleasure to be with my good friends the two Freds.

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30 minutes ago, Walt G said:

We both were very passionate about custom bodied cars and coach builders and body  design in general. Like Twin6 states Fred did not photograph Packards much or at all. I asked the same question of Fred , knowing that in the 1940s he was taking his camera along to photograph cars on the street as well as his devoted interest to Duesenberg .  When the three of us got together the conversation only had one topic, and we would marvel over who used what particular style of molding, door handle ( all supplied by the McFarland Company in NY City) trim etc.

Special Interest Autos magazine regularly had a photographic essay, called 'Seen on the Street' with several period b&w photos that most often captured one-off body styles.  Going through some of those back-issues might help.

Some of the automotive trade magazines from the late 1920's and thirties often  featured paid ads from vendors of hardware, such as window cranks and door and assist handles, ashtrays, and robe hangers, etc.  Another good resource.

 

I do miss John Conde.  I ordered a lot of Hudson and AMC literature from him back in the 1970's.

 

Craig

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I remember as a kid of about 14 years old a buddy told me about an old car in a garage. It was in Royal Oak, Michigan in about 1966. We walked to the garage and the door was open. The big, old car was backed in and it was a 1937 Packard V12 sedan. We went in and were talking to the older gentleman about his car and he asked how it sounded. I asked him to start it up. He said...."listen". It was already running! I couldn't believe it when I saw that fan spinning. We could not hear it running. I often wonder whatever happened to that big, old car. If anyone knows about this car, I would love to know more about it.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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Another car I often wonder about was one that was removed from the garage across the street from where we lived. I was about 12 years old, I think. Old Mrs. Hepler had a garage, but we never saw the door open. My Dad and I were on the front porch one day when a tow truck stopped in the street in front of our house and started backing down Mrs. Hepler's driveway. We had to see what was going on and there was the garage door....OPEN for the first time that we knew of. The tow truck latched onto a huge, old car that was tucked in there and started pulling it slowly out of the garage. It was AMAZING! It was a nickel era Pierce Arrow! It was in beautiful, original shape with only loving miles on it. I cannot remember it's year, but it may have been the first car that impressed me enough to get interested more in old cars. If anyone knows about this car, I would love to know more about it.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, twin6 said:

Matt, could this be the car you recall?  It's a first series eight (1-36) sport model that was in Pennsylvania most of its life, but it might have been on the tours you were on.

 

 

Very similar, but the one we toured with was beautifully restored and I think the wheels were also gray. And for some reason, I seem to recall the top was lower. We had our '25 Buick on the tour and that Packard was like a foot lower parked side-by-side. It was gorgeous. It might have been one or two years newer than the one in your photo? Dang, I can't remember, I was just a little kid at the time. Thanks for the photo!

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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6 hours ago, twin6 said:

Probably not.  I once spoke with Fred about his photos, and when I let him know my interest was in Packards (roster work in particular) he welcomed me to come to his house and look through them all, but hastened to add he never had an interest in photographing Packards and said I'd be wasting my time!  He was able to pass along some great recollections from his youth, of some brass era Packards, and that information was quite helpful.  I still should have taken him up on his kind offer.

 

To be honest, at the time I was more intrested in looking at the more exotic stuff, so I can’t remember if he had a Packard album, but he had so many others, my mind was blown away. Stutz, Pierce, Rolls, Hispano, ect......there were so many photos in the albums. We were able to share lots coffee looking over and commenting on the cars. He and Jack Passy were there so early in the hobby. I feel fortunate to have been able to call both of them friends.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I'm an AACA member in Northern California, and have for years enjoyed reading the informative Forum posts.  This thread about lost pre-war cars happily goes on and on, and is an opportunity for me to make a first post and ask if anyone knows the fate of my father's daily driver for awhile in the mid-1950s:  The 1934 Packard Twelve Convertible Sedan in the photo below.  Sadly he sold it around the time I was born and soon was driving more prosaic machinery (a '48 Lincoln Continental and a '57 Ford Thunderbird).  Along with a few photos, the only identifying information I have for the Packard is that it was in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s, and its California license plate was 1Y89144.  He had two other open Packards in the early fifties, and I have photos of those and some Los Angeles area classic car shows around that time; perhaps I should post a few of those too.  

SKMBT_22319013115010.jpg

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7 hours ago, Erska said:

I'm an AACA member in Northern California, and have for years enjoyed reading the informative Forum posts.  This thread about lost pre-war cars happily goes on and on, and is an opportunity for me to make a first post and ask if anyone knows the fate of my father's daily driver for awhile in the mid-1950s:  The 1934 Packard Twelve Convertible Sedan in the photo below.  Sadly he sold it around the time I was born and soon was driving more prosaic machinery (a '48 Lincoln Continental and a '57 Ford Thunderbird).  Along with a few photos, the only identifying information I have for the Packard is that it was in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s, and its California license plate was 1Y89144.  He had two other open Packards in the early fifties, and I have photos of those and some Los Angeles area classic car shows around that time; perhaps I should post a few of those too.  

 

Well, it's rather a rare car, and having restored one back twenty years ago with a friend, my memory is there are less than five known. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out which one belonged to your dad, if you spend a little time hunting it down. Neat car, thanks for posting it. 

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17 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

Very similar, but the one we toured with was beautifully restored and I think the wheels were also gray....

Maybe this 1-36 five passenger touring is closer to what you recall?

204475.jpg

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16 hours ago, Erska said:

... I have photos of those and some Los Angeles area classic car shows around that time; perhaps I should post a few of those too. 

Yes, please!  I wish I could help more on identifying the recent history of that Packard or its current whereabouts, but I've been asking for help from those who might well know.  I can't speak for others, but photos of cars at events in the 1950's are always interesting to me, and I hope you will share some of them.

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9 hours ago, StanleyRegister said:

Can you supply your dad's name?  We can start looking through old sources.

 

Mid-50s owner of the 1934 Packard Convertible Sedan was Laurence H. Peterson, of Los Angeles, California.  Family lore is that he and his older son (LHP Jr., or Larry, my half brother, 29 years my senior) were active in the Classic Car Club of Southern California at that time.  On Larry's passing a few years ago I actually did find in his papers a "charter membership" certificate showing that he was in fact in that club.  Attached below are some photos of another Packard they purchased and showed together, apparently in 1952 based on the photo processing envelopes.  I suppose after all these years it could somewhere be hidden in another garage.  The car looks like late 1920s to me, and I would be grateful if anyone can be more specific as to year and model.  Thanks!

 

pqckard phaeton 1.jpg

packard phaeton 2.jpg

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2 hours ago, twin6 said:

Yes, please!  I wish I could help more on identifying the recent history of that Packard or its current whereabouts, but I've been asking for help from those who might well know.  I can't speak for others, but photos of cars at events in the 1950's are always interesting to me, and I hope you will share some of them.

 

I will scan some of the '50s car show photos over the weekend and post them.  In the meantime, here is a mystery.  Among my father's old car photos are about 10 of the Isotta Fraschini below, along with a 1950 California registration card for the car.  I am about 100% sure he never owned this car; he would have mentioned it.  On the back of the photo is a sticker (reproduced below) showing the then-owner as J.O Goodell, with specific info about the car.  I suppose it would be traceable, if there is as Isotta registry somewhere.  

SKMBT_22319020114080.jpg

SKMBT_22319020114100.jpg

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11 hours ago, Erska said:

Great photo! You have hit one of my sweet spots with this IF as I have tried to trace the histories of all the extant cars. It was a U.S. car from new and the first time it pops up is with a Bruce Macy of Camarillo CA in 1948. Then it passed to Joe O. Goodell and a series of southern California owners until being sold seven years ago. This picture and maybe one other were published in Bowman's "Famous Old Cars", would love to see the others you have. - Jonathan
 

I will scan some of the '50s car show photos over the weekend and post them.  In the meantime, here is a mystery.  Among my father's old car photos are about 10 of the Isotta Fraschini below, along with a 1950 California registration card for the car.  I am about 100% sure he never owned this car; he would have mentioned it.  On the back of the photo is a sticker (reproduced below) showing the then-owner as J.O Goodell, with specific info about the car.  I suppose it would be traceable, if there is as Isotta registry somewhere.  

SKMBT_22319020114080.jpg

SKMBT_22319020114100.jpg

 

1380 from Famous Old Cars.png

Chassis 1380 Goodell.png

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I was never quite sure what the IF stood for as a very young lad of five or seven when I saw my first one. I asked my father why it "said IF" on the front of the car. He said to me........."IF you have to ask the price, you can't afford it!"

 

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13 hours ago, Erska said:

 

I will scan some of the '50s car show photos over the weekend and post them.  In the meantime, here is a mystery.  Among my father's old car photos are about 10 of the Isotta Fraschini below, along with a 1950 California registration card for the car.  I am about 100% sure he never owned this car; he would have mentioned it.  On the back of the photo is a sticker (reproduced below) showing the then-owner as J.O Goodell, with specific info about the car.  I suppose it would be traceable, if there is as Isotta registry somewhere.  

 

 

I think these are modern-day references to the IF.  Jonathan will know for sure.  🙂 

 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/208524-isotta-fraschini-car-1390/

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20929/lot/334/?category=list

https://www.inishbeg.com/vintage-cars-ireland/

 

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Here are a few of my father's photos of Los Angeles-area shows in the mid-1950s, at two, possibly three, different venues. Unfortunately I have no more specific information as to time or place.  Does anyone know if cars were typically driven to shows in those days, or were some trailered even then?  Road conditions would have been so different. 

car show photos lhp 1.jpg

car show photos larry 1.jpg

car show photos larry 2.jpg

car show photos larry 3.jpg

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On 2/1/2019 at 4:34 PM, Erska said:

 The 1934 Packard Twelve Convertible Sedan in the photo below.  

SKMBT_22319013115010.jpg

Erska,

 

Sorry, but I'm thinking that a '33 Packard. Reason - The shape of the front fenders.

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9 hours ago, Ozstatman said:

Sorry, but I'm thinking that a '33 Packard. Reason - The shape of the front fenders.

 

Yes, a 1933 model 1005.  I don't think anyone got back to Erska on this one, which is also a Packard, a 1928 six (5-33) touring.

533.jpg

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11 hours ago, Ozstatman said:

Erska,

 

Sorry, but I'm thinking that a '33 Packard. Reason - The shape of the front fenders.

 

Yes, correct, I wasn’t looking close enough!👍

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Well, here's a 1005 convertible sedan that had a light green interior at one time - does that ring a bell?  The listing even shows a VIN.

https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1933-PACKARD-1005-V12-SEDAN-CONVERTIBLE-180274

 

Here's a different one, a few years ago -

https://www.news-press.com/story/life/style/grandeur/2015/03/07/piece-of-the-past/23896189/

 

And a third -

https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf12/auction/lots/r128-1933-packard-twelve-convertible-sedan

 

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23 hours ago, Ozstatman said:

Erska,

 

Sorry, but I'm thinking that a '33 Packard. Reason - The shape of the front fenders.

 

Well, you and edinmass must be right.  I don't have any documentation on the car (my father's in the 1950s), just several pictures, so somewhere along the line someone either mis-spoke or mis-remembered.  At the Pebble Beach Concours last August I did see a 1934 - 1107 Convertible Sedan, to my eye identical to my dad's car (except for color and of course condition).  I just went back to a photo of that car, and can see the front lip of the fenders is clearly lower.  Amazing what the expert eye can see!  Thanks for the information!  

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11 hours ago, StanleyRegister said:

Well, here's a 1005 convertible sedan that had a light green interior at one time - does that ring a bell?  The listing even shows a VIN.

https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1933-PACKARD-1005-V12-SEDAN-CONVERTIBLE-180274

 

Here's a different one, a few years ago -

https://www.news-press.com/story/life/style/grandeur/2015/03/07/piece-of-the-past/23896189/

 

And a third -

https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf12/auction/lots/r128-1933-packard-twelve-convertible-sedan

 

Thanks you StanleyRegister for locating this information.  The 2015 "News Press" article says that four 1933 Packard Twelve 1005 convertible sedans have survived, and you have accounted for three of them.  Based on the information in these articles, I would bet that it is the Barrett-Jackson car that was mostly likely my father's -- because the B-J info says the car was originally sold by Earl C. Anthony, as I understand it the big Packard dealer in Los Angeles (as to the other cars, one was sold in Chicago, the other doesn't say).  It would think it not surprising in that era that the car would still be in the L.A. area twenty years later.  The B-J info doesn't say what the original exterior color was (my father's shows as dark, quite possibly black, in the photos I have), and the restorer went with black (certainly that could have changed).  I don't know what the interior color was, and unfortunately don't have any documentation of the vehicle's serial number.  Again, thanks!

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On 2/2/2019 at 4:46 AM, JonathanSierakowski said:

 

1380 from Famous Old Cars.png

Chassis 1380 Goodell.png

Great photo! You have hit one of my sweet spots with this IF as I have tried to trace the histories of all the extant cars. It was a U.S. car from new and the first time it pops up is with a Bruce Macy of Camarillo CA in 1948. Then it passed to Joe O. Goodell and a series of southern California owners until being sold seven years ago. This picture and maybe one other were published in Bowman's "Famous Old Cars", would love to see the others you have. - Jonathan

 

Jonathan -- Here are more of the photos of the 1928 Isotta Fraschini, Engine No. 1414, Chassis No. 138.  These are from the packet of photos of the car that somehow came into  my father's possession, likely in the early 1950s.  Enjoy!

 

isotta 2.jpg

isotta 3.jpg

isotta 4.jpg

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Erska,

 

Thinking you could try contacting the PAC Roster Keeper for that model Packard. They may or may not be able or willing to assist.

 

PDF Listing of PAC Roster Keepers - Little old but that is what's on  the PAC Website

 

Or contact Bruce Blevins, otherwise known as Mr 33.

Edited by Ozstatman (see edit history)
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A further note on the Isotta photos -- the last three show what appears to be an eight cylinder engine.  But the slope of the radiator seems to be just a little different than the Goodell car.  So possibly these photos are of a different car's engine.  For what it's worth, certain aspects of the photo prints (size, embossing, edges) are different than any of the other prints.  Just thought I would mention this -- before the eagle eyes see these photos!

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The last engine photos are not of a Tipo 8 cylinder car.  Perhaps an earlier one that I'm not familiar with.

 

As far as the Mercedes,  I don't religiously follow the mid 20s "K" cars so not sure about that one. 

 

Jonathan may have a comment on both points as I seem to not have anything of value to add.

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I'm not so sure if all will like this...

 

When I was due to fly out of LA at the end of my 2012 trip I went to a local place in Long Beach to have a screen fitted to my pickup, which I was shipping home. In their workshop there was this fine old car:

 


29-1112E2franklinrear.jpg.9a5ab4b34dd62d406789f8c4f0b192f5.jpg

29-1112E5franklinfront.jpg

 

 

An air-cooled Franklin from the late twenties, or maybe 1930. I had never seen one before so it fascinated me. "We're restoring that for a guy," the proprietor of the shop said. "We'll be fitting a 350 and a Mustang front end with Chevy driveline..."

Edited by Ray Bell (see edit history)
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The Franklin sedan is a 1931 series 15 model 153 . this was the largest series 15 in 1931 and had totally different body and fender then the other series 15 cars on offer which were the 151 and 152. the 152 and 152 shared many body parts with the previous year series 14 cars. All bodies in the regular Franklin line were made by Walker Body Co. in Mass.

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On 2/1/2019 at 9:49 AM, twin6 said:

Maybe this 1-36 five passenger touring is closer to what you recall?

204475.jpg

 

Closer, I think. I'm going on 35-year-old memories at this point, but I really remember it being so much lower and sleeker than our frumpy '25 Buick and with wider tires than those shown above. It was past the "spindly" look that so many '20s cars had with those skinny tires. However, I also know it wasn't as sleek-looking as Bob Jensen's 1928 443 phaeton with dual rear spares (now in the late Bill Snyder's collection). It wasn't quite this new, although I've always been madly in love with this red car, too:

 

812NOgflvyL.jpg

 

Maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but I just recall being so much more impressed with that long, low gray phaeton than almost anything else on those tours.

 

I took this photo at the 2016 Grand Classic in Salem, OH, and I think this is pretty close to how it looked, although this is definitely not the car. I note that the top matches the one above, so perhaps I was mistaken in how "chopped" it looked relative to some of the others. Memory is funny that way...

 

GC7.thumb.jpg.8f35af9894f577d9c78a2ca4f9ee9b02.jpg

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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