Saturday, February 27, 2010

Supercharged V12 Packard: You Give Me Fever. Saturday Night Fever.

"If I can't have you, I don't want no-body, Baby." Click on pic for a better view of this Patrician's purposeful poshness!

C H O P — One of my older chops in which I bring back a long-dead car company, Packard. Virgil Exner created a series of revival cars in 1963 for Esquire magazine, including a new Stutz, Duesenberg, and Mercer among others. This is a link to a page I found googling, with good material about Ex's revival cars:

This is my contemporary top-shelf Packard, a supercharged V12 pillarless luxury coupe. Reviving the Club Coupe nomenclature, this coupe would be part of the Patrician line, a 'senior' Packard in classic parlance, and would be part of the broader twelve cylinder lineup known as the Twin Six. Twin Six refers back to Packard's founding grandiose pre-WW1 days and it's first twelve cylinder automobile. Bona-fide stars such as You Give Me Fever Peggy Lee, would flock to drive this newest incarnation of America's finest car. Well, if she wasn't dead and all. If you can find one, ask the man that owns one. Leno would own a special edition Big Dog Garage-built version with 700+hp.

Described as contemporary but not faddish, I'd say that it picks up from the large luxury coupes of the seventies, as if downsizing and fwd had never happened to the automotive world in the '80s. The base photo was a last-gen CLK press photo, but not much of it remained, lol. I revived a lot of cues from various Packard periods, including the classic tall 'oxen-yoke' grille surround, forward-thrusting speartip on the beltline, the suggestion of 4 separate flowing fenders and the full length brushed aluminum rocker panels, so evocative of the last mid '50s East Grand Boulevard Packard. I even made sure the wheel centers had tiny red hexagons on them, one of Packard's oldest styling touches.

This is the car that would be polished slavishly and used for that special Saturday night grand entrance to an event you really didn't want to attend . . . but you'd look, um, classic doing it. A supercharged V12 underfoot, sucking up Hybrids left and right, might swing the night your way. : )

B T W :

Pontiac-based Stutz—Custom cars only an extrovert like Elvis could love.

C O L L E C T I O N — Most of the styling of Exner's Stutz revival from this Esquire series, ended up being used on an actual automobile, a Pontiac Grand Prix-based 'custom.' In it's day, it was quite popular with Elvis and the Rat Pack and Liberace. You might as well have called it the Las Vegas Special. This is a black and white poster of the 1970-era Stutz. The interior is barely changed from the Pontiac donor. Notice the 2 different rear end styles. The exposed tire version is much more like Exner's original design. Though blessed with a stunning prototype and design sketch, I've always felt the actual car failed to live up to it's lofty expectations. The donor car was always a bit too obvious.

The second trunk version, interestingly enough, is very much like what the '74 Riviera would sport, the year the boattail was sunk in favor of a slightly retro formal look.The slightest hint of a classic separate trunk was combined with wide formal C pillars and standard opera windows to make the post-boattail Riv a bit tame in comparison with it's immediate predecessor. 

A still-life with the Stutz poster in the background. I've mentioned elsewhere in this blog, that as a discipline, I take at least 25 digital photos every day. I'm always setting up shoots. It's not like I lack for props. : )


  1. Although I am very new here, and appreciating how busy you are, if I may ,I'd like to ask you a question.

    You say in the above " Though blessed with a stunning prototype and design sketch..." By this, are you referring to the Esquire/ Exner renderings , or something else ? If there is another Exner Stutz sketch , is it possible to direct me to it ?

    Thank you so very much.
    Enjoying your work as always.



  2. Hi AP-
    How cool to think you're looking at my blog from Malibu! I lived in West Hollywood for about a year, 30 years ago...

    and thanks for looking back to the very beginning of this blog! When I read my first posts, which almost no one else read at the time, I really think I've come a ways now, lol. To answer your question, yes, I was referring to the Esquire magazine sketches. If i had written this post now, I'm sure I would have thought to include a link to those images, which I'm sure I could find in Google Images pretty easily.

    Thanks again also for your donation to the Place Called Hope,. They wrote me a nice letter the other day and mentioned it. I was VERY touched by your generosity. It was one of the better moments of this blog project for me. : )

  3. Hello Casey
    I am glad we were able to help the owls. Again , thank you for alerting us to the foundation .

    West Hollywood - Yes . I read about your West Hollywood days in a very moving memoir in these pages . When where you here? Is that 1980 ? I arrived 1982 and lived in East Hollywood, Echo Park and Silver Lake .

    Do you remember a place called Cadillac Corner on Sunset ? Years ago, I was tempted to buy a Stutz from them . How could I say no? Well, I did. I ended up spending the money on something foolish like back taxes ,the dentist, or food .Or something .

    I am familiar with the Exner Revival series in both Esquire and Renwal form . My brother and I were big Revival fans as kids and have owned that issue off and on since 1964. We have lost so many over the years! Too many moves . I'll start hunting one again.

    Anyway, It's always been my amateur theory that the 70s Stutz was inspired not so much by Esquire Stutz, but by the incredible Exner Duesenberg Coupe shown in a much later issue . Are you familiar with this design ? With your incredible collection, I am sure you are . The Duesenberg sedan and the phaeton get all the press, but this coupe ! Mercy ! I often imagine the 67 Thunderbird and Eldorado saying to it ' we wanna be like you when we grow up !"

    Hope you are well and enjoying your work .



  4. Had that been built in the late '70s, it would have been Packard's biggest seller in a long time. (Assuming Packard hadn't already croaked, that is.) Looks much better than the Lincoln Mark V or the Ford Thunderbird of the day.