1935 Packard Twelve

Photographs, Automobiles

The Elegance of the Packard

Eighty-seven years old and looking like new

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I want to drive a clean, efficient electric car. Is there a better way to save the environment and money at the gas pump simultaneously? I'm just waiting until the prices come down and the charging stations are built. My fear is being in the middle of nowhere when my battery runs out.

Despite my interest in electric cars, I can't say they are beautiful. The good ones look like they dropped by from the future. The poorly styled ones seem to want to punish their owners with ugliness in exchange for the good of their engineering.

I prefer old cars, really old cars. They are time machines, enabling a glimpse at what was like before I was born.

Earlier this weekend, I got to spend some quality time with such an old car. It was an 87-year-old Packard Twelve.

Rear Deck Badge, 1935 Packard

The car was in pristine shape, looking as if a successful businessperson had just driven it off the lot of a Packard dealer. The owner said it had first been sold in Baltimore.

Front Fender, 1935 Packard Twelve

It was easy to imagine how proud the original owner was to take delivery of such a gorgeous car. Was it a local tycoon? The Packard Twelve's prices ranged from $3000 to over $6400. That means the car may have cost around $100,000 in 2020 dollars. Why did they buy the Packard in the middle of the Depression?

Dashboard, 1935 Packard Twelve

The interior was finished in beautiful wood. Everything was spotless. The seats looked comfortable.

Packard 12 Cylinder Engine

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John Dean

Writing on politics, photography, nature, the environment, dogs, and, occasionally, humor. Editor of Dean’s List.