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1939 Packard V12 Town Car1938 PACKARD V12 TOWN CAR
The history of this car is partially known. It was sold by the famous Packard dealer of California, Earle C. Anthony, to a family in Pasadena by the name of Webster. From what Packard historians have told me, Anthony was in the custom body business on a small scale, mostly at the request of his customers. Sometimes the car was designed and built in his own shop, other times his engineers drew the plans and sent the car to a coach maker.

Anthony’s distinctive peacock emblem is mounted on the right valance. It reads, “CUSTOM BUILT EXCLUSIVELY FOR EARLE C. ANTHONY, INC.” It is thought that Anthony sent the car to the coach maker, Henry Brunn, where the body was beautifully created. One historian thought the car may have belonged to Anthony’s wife, but the second owner recalled buying the car from a man named Webster.

1939 Packard V12 Town CarThe next owner was a Gordon Burke. He told me that he bought it when he was attending Pasadena City College in 1949 as a fun car to drive to the football games with his friends dressed up as movie stars. In 1950 he went into the service during the Korean War and parked the car in one corner of his parent’s garage. When he was discharged, he said he more or less neglected the car and it languished in the garage for the next 26 years before his widowed mother sold the house and moved to a retirement home. Gordon then towed the car to his own house in the expectation that he might restore it. He made a halfhearted start but never came close to completing the work.

1939 Packard V12 Town CarFinally, in 1987, he asked a mutual friend if I might be interested in buying the car. After an examination, and determining that it was a rare model 1608 on the 139 inch wheelbase, I was smitten by the unusual body style. The car is blessed with a beautiful town car body, the doors swing opposite as with other models, but after measuring the roof line it became apparent that the top had been lowered two inches. It is powered by the big 473 cubic inch engine that cranks out 175 horsepower.

Pastimes Restoration performed their usual miracle and restored the car to new. It is an outstanding example of the finest in coach work, and there is no other known custom Packard with the same style.

This is the Packard town car Pitt drove in Vahalla Rising.

Clive Cussler

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