- “The haughtiest car in all Philadelphia”
- Believed to be the 1920 New York Salon car
- Reportedly originally delivered to the Atwater Kent Family
- Handsome bespoke coachwork by Fleetwood on a custom 145-in. chassis
- A Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
This special 12-cylinder Packard was reportedly built for the great A. Atwater Kent. Atwater Kent’s excellent radios and automobile ignition components made he and his family quite wealthy, owning several superlative automobiles; in the Winter 1927 Packard magazine, he was recounted as owning “probably the largest fleet of Packards, 19.”
In Automobile Quarterly Volume 19, Number 3, published in 1981, Beverly Rae Kimes included the town car in an article on “Five Great Packards.” She noted that it was “ordered by the Atwater Kent family of radio renown in 1919, delivered in 1920 and seen thereafter in only the best places...it was probably the haughtiest car in all Philadelphia. It was special, from its wheelbase (145 inches, a specially prepared chassis nine inches longer than standard) to its hood (again higher, longer than standard) to its bumpers (steel completely rubber-encased) to its collapsible top (converting it to a touring car) to its sparkling varnish...to its drum headlamps and disc wheels.” George Wendling, a former Fleetwood employee turned early automobile restorer, was quoted as having seen the car and recounted, “Ah, the memories it brought back.” Prior to delivery, the car is believed to have been featured at the 1920 New York Auto Salon, as seen by a virtually identical example pictured in that year’s catalogue.
The car was listed by this engine number, believed to be an early replacement, with Martin L. Schaffer of Lafayette Hills, Pennsylvania, in the 1954 and 1961 Antique Automobile Club of America rosters. It was soon acquired by early collector Stanley Tarnopol, a Philadelphia furrier by trade, who was not above trying to break loose a car that stubbornly escaped his grasp by offering the owner’s lady her choice of stole or coat from his stock. Mr. Tarnopol owned the car until at least 1975; in 1972 he was reported to have driven it from Boston to New Orleans! It has been part of the present collection for some three decades.
The Packard is in running and driving order, and continues to wear its original restoration, likely from the early 1960s, in rich black lacquer with red-orange wheels. It shows its age throughout, with minor checking on many panels, but is still charming, as is the wool cloth upholstery and rich woodwork of the rear compartment; further, all the doors still open and close well. The car would be a wonderful part of any collection, be it of Packards or distinctive American coachwork.