Power Packaged Artfully
The graceful lines and Art Deco styling of this automotive masterwork can be deceptive, concealing as they do Packard’s powerful entry into a contest for engine supremacy. The 1934 Packard 1107 Formal Sedan is the full realization of a graceful design improvisation made two years earlier.
In response to competitors’ multi-cylinder offerings, Packard reintroduced a V12 engine in 1932 with hopes of packaging it in a newer, smaller body. But when the chassis design failed to meet expectations, the company returned to the body of its established, larger Deluxe Eight series. Engine modifications were made – the cylinder bore expanded, stroke increased, and the existing radiator produced with a thicker core – and the first Packard Twelves rolled out with power equalling that of rival manufacturers’ but with the imposing presence for which Packard was known.
With an imposing 141 ⅞ inch inch-wheelbase and the promise of 160 horsepower, this sedan is an example of the Eleventh Series models introduced that year. The roll-down window separating the driver and passenger compartments may crystallize the car’s appeal to the business class, but jump seats accommodating additional passengers also held out the possibility of play.
Lovingly restored by LaVine Restorations of Nappanee, Indiana, this Packard 1107 may be museum-worthy, but it is far from a showpiece: The vehicle recently completed a modern-day, cross-country tour before becoming a part of The JBS Collection.
Luxury’s Last Word
By 1934, the luxury market for cars was a shadow of its former self. The Depression eroded the fortunes of Packard, necessitating the manufacturer’s move away from the elegance – and extravagance – characterized by this Packard 1107 Formal Sedan. A year later, Packard introduced its first car priced under $1,000 with a modest 120 inch-wheelbase.
Each of these elegant Eleventh Series powerhouses bear the signature design influence of Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, who signed on as a consultant with Packard in 1932. The Ukrainian-born Sakhnoffsky began his career in fashion design and illustration before shifting his focus to industrial design in the United States. Here, he shaped the look of consumer goods from cars to radios, watches, tableware and the occasional movie set. His sleek and contemporary styling resonated with the public, becoming synonymous with the Art Deco aesthetic over time.
1934 Packard 1107 Twelve Formal Sedan Specs:
- V12 engine
- 160 hp
- Downdraft Stromberg EE-3 carburetor
- Top speed: 85 mph
- 141 ⅞ inch-wheelbase
- Roll-down window dividing the driver and passenger compartments
- Two fold-down jump seats