Estimate: $375,000 - $425,000
- 356-cid, 160-hp inline eight-cylinder engine
- 3-speed manual transmission
- Options include heater/defroster, grille guard, and fender skirts
- Believed to be one of only 35 built in 1941
- Stone Barn restoration from a solid original car
- Former AACA and CCCA National Prize Winner
- CCCA Full Classic eligible for all events and CARavans
- Unique Darrin styling
- Nicely detailed underhood
- Excellent driving condition
The Packard Darrin was a special automobile in the maker’s lineup. It was a blending of all the glory that was Packard in the Classic Era and the stunning design work of Howard “Dutch” Darrin. The result was one of the more glamorous cars of the 1940s.
Without Darrin’s insistence, the car wouldn’t have been built at all. Following his days in Paris, the inimitable Darrin had settled in Hollywood where he immediately established himself as the purveyor of custom coachwork to the stars. The polo playing Darrin was quickly accepted by the movie crowd; his well-cultivated French accent fit in perfectly. He named his shop “Darrin of Paris.” His first client was Dick Powell for whom he fashioned a two-passenger Ford Roadster in 1937. Shortly thereafter, he built a two-seat convertible victoria roadster on a 1937 Packard One Twenty chassis for actor Chester Morris. It led to the idea of building a five-passenger version and selling Packard on the idea of including it as part of its lineup. The initial word from Detroit was no, but that didn’t stop him.
Darrin began with a standard Packard Eight Business Coupe, little of which remained when the transformation was completed (later cars used the larger 138” One-Eighty chassis). Most memorable are the sweeping cut-down curves of the doors, the car’s signature styling feature commonly referred to as the “Darrin Dip.” The rakish body looked downright racy when compared to competitor Lincoln’s Zephyr Continental. Yet the car remained unquestionably and distinctly, a Packard.
Darrin arranged to have the car parked outside the Packard Proving Grounds at the time of the annual dealer’s meeting, precisely where the dealers couldn’t help but see it. That, as they say, was that! Under pressure from its dealers Packard included the Darrin as part of its catalog for 1940 with three models; Sport Sedan, Convertible Sedan, and Convertible Victoria. Nearly 100 were built through 1942 when production was halted prior to WWII. Darrins were real celebrity cars – Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, Al Jolson, Ruby Keeler, Preston Foster, and Gene Krupa, all had one.
According to its body tag, this Darrin was first delivered to Mead Motor Co., Houston, Texas on June 27, 1941. It has since been restored by Stone Barn Restoration from what is described as a solid, original car. Included are the jack, spare wheel, convertible top boot and storage bag. A former AACA and CCCA National Prize Winner, the car presents beautifully finished in Cream over saddle leather with a dark chocolate canvas top and period-appropriate wide whitewall tires. Fender skirts complete the sleek and svelte look that can only be “Darrin.” Optional equipment includes radio, clock, heater/defroster, grille guard and back-up lamp. It is equally nice under the hood as it is on the exterior. The consigner describes the car to be in “excellent driving condition,” and as a CCCA Full Classic it is ready to show and tour.