Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 Packard Twelve All-Weather Cabriolet


How rare is a 1936 Packard Twelve All-Weather Cabriolet? It is estimated that only 682 Packard Twelve chassis came from the factory for 1936 and while a various number of bodies were available from the factory, a few were sent to coachbuilders such as LeBaron. One of the most striking designs was the 1407 Series All Weather Cabriolet that was built as a limited, special order only model. It was just as luxurious as it was stylish and had a pricetag to reflect this. It was one of Packard’s most expensive models and cost $6,290 new – the equivalent of over $110,000 today. 

A 1936 Packard Twelve All-Weather Cabriolet was just featured in the most recent edition of the newsletter. What makes this one more valuable than the few others which still exist is that it was owned by legendary silent movie actor Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin owned the car while he was head of Charlie Chaplin Studios. Then in 1971 it was purchased by a Southern California vintage collector. The Packard Twelve had registration number 188648, and has some of the best provenance of any Packard Twelve that can be found on the market today. 

During its 45 years in the stable of the Southern California collector it was often rented out to Hollywood studios. It was used in The Godfather movie, and then in 1978 it was featued in The Betsy, a movie about the early automotive industry starring Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. It was later used in the second season of a TV show called “Remington Steele” starring Pierce Brosnan.  

Having previously undergone a light cosmetic restoration on the exterior, the Packard Twelve, number 188648, remains largely original on the inside showing just over 11,000 miles, which Daniel Schmitt & Company believe to be actual miles. The older cosmetic restoration is beginning to show its age with some patina and wear which only adds to the charm of this iconic motorcar. A largely complete example of an extremely rare coach built Packard, 188648 would make an excellent candidate for a full concours level restoration or to simply be enjoyed as is. 

The Packard Twelve was produced from 1933 to 1939, and it is thought that these cars are among the most important collector cars of the era. The characteristic long flowing hood concealed a smooth and dependable 445 ci V12 motor with side valves which ran very quietly belying its power. Most of the factory Twelves were bodied at the Packard plant, but a handful were coachbuilt by Lebaron or Deitrich. 

, , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply