One Of A Kind Packard Twelve Prototype Crosses The Block At 2014 RM Motor City Auction
Packard Prototype wows crowds at St. Johns with its glimpse of what a modern Packard would've looked like, Nabs 130k hammer price.
July 26, 2014
By: Carl Malek
Hello everyone, with the last weekend of July now upon us, it is once again time for our annual coverage of the Concours d'Elegance of America located on the grounds of the Inn of St. Johns in beautiful Plymouth Michigan as well as the 2014 RM Motor City Auto Auction which took place earlier today. One of the iconic pre-war brands that has always stood out at these events is offerings from Packard Motors. Before the brand's slow decline and ultimately its outright collapse in the mid 1950's, Packard was once synonymous with the elite power players of the 19th century with much of it being thanks in part to their beautiful styling, hand-built appearance, as well as being an innovator in the early days of motoring. That said, what would've happened if a Packard was made to cater to modern luxury car buyers, what would it have looked like? and how would it stand out in a now crowded international field of competitors? An ambitious entrepreneur decided to find out in the late 1990's, and went to work investing $1.5 million dollars in his ambitious goal of creating this one of a kind prototype, which certainly did a good job wowing the crowds in attendance with its unique take on Packard styling cues.
The idea that eventually spawned this vehicle first began as a conversation topic among a group of friends while out on lunch in 1991. Amid this small group of friends on that faithful day was a man named Robert Gullickson, an engineer and entrepreneur who wanted to create a reborn Packard model that embodied the spirit and legacy of the Packard name while also modernizing it for a new generation of luxury car buyers at the same time. Gullickson succeeded in securing all rights to the Packard brand shortly after with concept development beginning in the fall of 1993. However it was in 1994 when the serious engineering and styling aspects of the car really began to take shape thanks to the efforts of Gullickson as well as fellow engineer Lawrence Johnson with its formal debut taking place in 1998 in Arizona during the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Packard brand in Arizona.
Unlike the pre-war Packards that inspired its creation, this prototype has a strong connection with General Motors which is most prevalent in the cars overall construction. The interior uses various bits from production GM models of the time, but features such as real walnut wood trim, high quality leather surfaces, and dual zone climate control add some upscale ambiance to the overall presentation. The exterior as well as the underlying sub structure uses all aluminum components to shed weight (similar to modern Jaguar models) and allows the prototype to weigh in at 3,750 lbs. The styling reflects its Packard influence especially in the front, and while its creator claims that the design incorporates neither European nor American influences (The Gullicksons insist that its an expression of Pure Packard styling) the rear fascia does bear a resemblance to the mid 90's iteration of the Jaguar XJ as well as older Bentleys. Performance came from a specially built 525 cubic inch all aluminum Falconer Racing V12 which was good for a solid 573 horsepower and allowed the all-wheel drive equipped prototype to make the sprint to 60 mph in a brisk 4.8 seconds. As is the case with the interior, GM components are also used most notably the GM 4L80E four speed automatic as well as the Delco sourced port fuel injection system and powertrain control modules.
Overall, while it certainly had no chance in matching the high dollar figures regularly achieved by its iconic pre-war predecessors. The $130,000 hammer price (not including the 10 percent buyers premium) it did achieve is still a commendable amount for this unique car and the buyer earned a distinctive conversation piece which should continue to draw eyes wherever it goes for years to come. Stay tuned to this thread for more highlights from the 2014 RM Motor City Auction as well as tommorows coverage of the main Concour event (which will be in a seperate thread).