Driven to Discover
Heiress-turned-explorer Louise Arner Boyd had several Arctic expeditions to her credit before taking Poland by storm from the backseat of this 1934 Packard Twelve 1108 Custom Convertible Sedan by Dietrich.
Upon her father’s death, Boyd was left with $3 million and the family estate. She subsequently devoted her energies – and fortune – to funding scientific research carried out in remarkable style. This convertible with custom coachwork by Dietrich was specially purchased by Boyd for a later, warmer research mission.
Boyd requested additional modifications – a roll-down window between the driver and passenger compartments and a reading light for the back seat – to ensure both her ability to work on the road and her comfort while doing so. Selected as the United States’ delegate to the 1934 International Geographical Congress in Warsaw, Boyd spent three months documenting the Polish people and countryside in photographs, shuttling between destinations in this car.
Family chauffeur Percy R. Cameron joined Boyd in Poland, at the helm for the car’s inaugural, 6,300-mile tour. And while garage space could be found for the convertible during brief city stays, the extended lines of designer Alexis de Sakhnoffsky’s false hood wouldn’t always allow for a door to be closed on it.
A lifelong Packard devotee, Boyd’s last car would be one, too: a 1951 formal sedan, another custom by Dietrich.
Later years saw a downturn in the accomplished adventurer’s fortunes. Friends paid for Boyd’s care until her death in 1972, but ‘Miss Louise A. Boyd Land’ in always-wintry Greenland serves as a lasting memorial to her life’s work.
A Collector’s Prize
Purchased new by Boyd for the then-considerable sum of $6,555, this vehicle has resided in the care of only a handful of collectors. Nearly a century’s careful stewardship of this singular Packard has resulted in the vehicle more than holding its value: The JBS Collection acquired it at auction in 2021 for $1.435 million.
Even among the dozen or so of its class believed to remain, the Packard convertible sedan now a part of The JBS Collection has a reputation for its good looks. The Franklin Mint, creator of collectibles, gifts, and reproductions, used this exemplary model as the basis for the creation of its widely-recognized Packard reproduction.
Photos of the car were also included in the book, Packard: The Pride by J.M. Fenster, a retrospective of the company history and its legendary automotive design.
1934 Packard Twelve 1108 Custom Sedan Specs:
- Modified L-head, V12 engine
- 160 hp
- 142.5 inch-wheelbase
- Originally priced at $6,555
- Acquired by The JBS Collection for $1.435 million
- Award winner at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Concours d’Elegance of America
- Featured in book Packard: The Pride by J.M. Fenster