1918 PACKARD 3-35 TWIN SIX CUSTOM 'ORMONDE' ROADSTER
Coachwork by Rubay
Engine no. 158825
Transmission no. 158845
424ci V12 Engine
88bhp at 2600rpm
Rear Mechanical Brakes
*Striking and sporting custom coachwork by Leon Rubay
*Spacious cockpit is suitable for the tallest of drivers
*One of the best driving cars of its era
*V12 power and incredible smoothness
THE PACKARD TWIN-SIX
By 1915 Packard Motor Car Company had firmly established its reputation as the maker of one of the world's finest motorcars. The company had produced a string of finely engineered and well-constructed models since its inception in 1899. Originally founded in Warren, Ohio, the company blossomed when it moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1905. For 1905, Packard found its identity as it moved away from one and two-cylinder mid-engine machines and toward more refined fourcylinder offerings. In 1907, the company hit the peak of its four-cylinder product when the Model 30 was introduced.
Despite the great performance of the Model 30, Packard pushed on with a new six-cylinder car for 1912. The first Packard six would be known initially as just that -- the Six, later taking "the 48" as its name.
Packard, always looking to push things forward, began work on its most ambitious project to date. Under the capable leadership of the brilliant engineer Jesse Vincent, a plan to produce a twelve-cylinder automobile was hatched. Packard would harness their experience gained in building v-type aircraft and marine engines. The challenges of producing such an engine at the time were enormous, however, if successful, the twelve-cylinder engine would clearly place Packard at the forefront of the world's auto manufacturers.
By late 1915, production began on the model christened the "Twin Six." The name brought to mind Packard's six-cylinder experience and success. The resulting engine was a triumph. The smoothness, power, and flexibility were unheard of at the time. Those who were experienced with driving more conventional cars of the era were shocked by the smooth power and free-revving quality of these engines. Enzo Ferrari was so impressed with the smoothness of the Twin Six engine that he used it as inspiration for his own V-12 engines years later.
The motor was mounted in a chassis that was an evolution of Packard's previous models. The great performance of these cars did not warrant a major redesign for the Twin Six. The engine drove through the venerable and smooth shifting three-speed transaxle.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
One of the very few Packard's of its era with custom coachwork this Twin Six is particularly note worthy for having sporting roadster bodywork. This progressive looking car sports bodywork by Leon Rubay of Cleveland, Ohio and it breaks the mold of conservative bodywork of the era.
Rubay, initially a star salesman in the automotive accessories business, would begin producing bodies in 1914 after stints with both Rothschild and Holbrook. His first products met with rave reviews. As he ramped up his business he brought in a number of outside stylists. In 1916 he hired Tom Hibbard to pen body designs. His work was notable enough for Packard to allow them to offer a portfolio of bodies to be built on the 3-35 Twin Six chassis. Each style had a name inspired by WWI the roadster being the Ormonde.
An Oklahoma oilman ordered this custom Packard 3-35 Ormonde in 1918. Standing six foot five the purchaser had Rubay make special accommodation for his height. In order to accommodate the tall driver the steering column was lengthened six inches and lowered to a dramatic rake. The doors were lengthened and the seat set unusually far back from the pedals for a car of the day. All the custom requests delayed the production of the car and he is said to not have received it until 1920.
While full of interesting details the most unusual feature of this Ormonde is the wild three-piece windshield. Highly raked, the windscreen incorporates a second internal glass pain used to help divert airflow. Below the windshield a striking asymmetrical, polished, cast aluminum dashboard houses the full compliment of instruments. The bodywork is paneled in aluminum and displays lovely complex shaping in the tail. The rear compartment opens revealing a two-passenger rumble seat. The Packard is complete today with all its side curtains as well as a full original tool set.
The special nature of this Packard was confirmed when the car was the subject of a full chapters worth of attention in the book "Packard, the Pride" by JM Fenster and published by Automobile Quarterly.
The Packard was subject to extensive internal engine work about a decade ago and has resided at America's Packard Museum in Dayton, Ohio for the past 20 years. Recently this car has been carefully re-commissioned for road use including a full fuel system cleaning as well as a host of other service and maintenance items.
This unique, big sporting roadster is an excellent candidate for the new pre-1925 CCCA touring. Offering legendary performance, exciting looks and great history it would be a welcome participant at any number of events.
- Please note that this car is titled under its engine number, and its title is in transit.