1940 Packard Royal Streamliner Roadster by Rodney Rucker
Lot No. 2070
Auctioned on Sunday, June 26, 2016
Sold for $412,500
- Supercharged Packard V-12, 1,600-hp PT boat engine
- Two transmissions and drivelines
- Chip Foose worked with builder on design
- Four radiators and six cooling fans
- Hand-crafted aluminum body
- Air-over-hydraulic brakes
- Beautiful finishes throughout
- One-off fire-breathing behemoth
With the 30-foot size of a truck, this polished aluminum-clad custom Packard Royal V-12 Streamliner Roadster is a supercharged marvel that consistently stops people in their tracks with its imposing style, design, display and power. The man leading the team of craftsmen responsible for this commanding beast is Rodney Rucker. Mr. Rucker worked with the renowned Chip Foose on the design. Working with his team, the Royal was hand-fabricated by Rodney Rucker and the “Blastolene Brotherhood,” combined with the expertly hand-formed body by Marcel DeLay.
This “little roadster” weighs in at just over 13,200-lbs and measures 31-ft, 6-in in length. The supercharged V-12 Packard Royal Streamliner engine is massive in size, and comes out of a World War II era PT boat from the 1940s. The designation PT was for Patrol Torpedo and successfully used for high speed torpedo attacks of larger surface ships; the most being PT 109 of future President John F. Kennedy. This 4M Packard engine boasts 1,600-hp and 3,000-ft/lbs of torque; the short exhaust stacks contribute to an occasional light show and an unforgettable resonance.
As a boat engine, it turns opposite of land-based engines so the car has two transmissions and drivelines to get the correct rotation for street use. The other challenge with a boat motor is cooling. No longer having an ocean of coolant available; the car was designed with four radiators and six cooling fans. Capacities for the Packard includes; 25 gallons of coolant, 30 gallons of oil and 100 gallons of fuel. Air ride suspension, automatic transmission, power steering and air-over-hydraulic brakes make it comfortable and stop efficiently as well.
The aero-inspired streamliner form features brightwork from head-to-toe with a polished brass band creating a stripe around the polished aluminum taper tail body; the wheels and tires are polished alloy from an 18-wheeler, while the front axle, steering arms and visible frame structure all share the mirror-like finish. A wraparound windshield provides a windbreak for the pilot at the controls of this fire-breathing behemoth.
Mr. Rucker has the background to be on the leading edge of such an undertaking, having a long history of automobile design and construction. He has designed and built an array of custom creations for Hollywood movies. Rodney was one of the pioneers of monster truck racing. Designing and racing many of the first monster trucks, including a “tank” monster truck on tracks; Rodney has always had the desire to build something that has never been done before; to go faster and build bigger.
A full team is recognized in the creation of this one-of-a-kind Packard custom, that is conveyed as being “bigger and badder than Jay Leno’s Blastolene Special “tank car.” Among this group are Art Bauer, a lifelong car and motorcycle builder; Steve Whitemore, who grew up in the shadow of “Dad” - lifelong master mechanics and engine tuners with a long history of building and racing. Steve also has many years as a diesel and heavy equipment mechanic specializing in air brakes, hydraulics and air ride suspension; Jay Woolley, Mr. Rucker’s right-hand man overseeing the shop for over 10 years; Rich Cook, who brings with him what is probably the longest and most diversified experience of the crew – a lifelong career as a master in custom fabrication, design, mechanics and automotive electrical that includes working with Mickey Thompson on the four-engine Challenger land speed car; Luann Kenney, who brings years of experience in bank management with her and is known around the shop as “The Boss”; and Rhonda Haver, Mr. Rucker’s sister and the counsel for her “mad scientist/genius brother.”
Creative designs using engines from M-4 Tanks and aircraft engines as well as several cars using 1940s Packard V-12 engines from WW II era PT boats; Mr. Rucker likes to incorporate functionality into his designs and has actually competed in many races such as “The Great Race” across America in many of his extreme creations. Most recently he has acquired one of the original Howard Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose” engines. – a Pratt & Whitney radial engine with 28 cylinders and 4,360 cubic inches, to be utilized in a current design project for a vintage Bonneville land speed racer.
As with his latest project; the Packard Royal Streamliner Roadster easily proves Mr. Rucker’s lifelong motto: “Always think big….. and never give up!”