It measures 31.5-feet from end-to-end, nearly 10-feet longer than a Ford Super Duty pickup. Despite the mostly aluminum body, it tips the scales at 13,200 pounds, and its 2,500-cu.in supercharged Packard V-12 produces a reported 1,600 horsepower and 3,000 pound-feet of torque. The 1940 Packard Royal roadster, created by plus-size car builder Rodney Rucker, is perhaps the very definition of political incorrectness, and on Sunday, June 26, it crosses the auction stage as part of Auctions America’s Santa Monica, California, sale.
Rodney Rucker has a passion for heavy equipment, and his shop has turned out everything from a tracked-vehicle monster truck to a V-8-powered shopping cart that seats eight. His better-known projects include the Pete’ster, a 1950 Peterbuilt tractor powered by a twin-turbo Detroit 8V92 diesel; Sneaky Pete, a 1964 Peterbuilt tractor chopped 10-inches and powered by a Continental AV1790 V-12, the same tank engine that powers Jay Leno’s Blastolene Special; and Rodzilla, a 1928 Studebaker sedan powered by a twin-turbo version of the same Continental engine.
In other words, he’s not a man content to build a roadster smaller than the Blastolene Brothers Special. For the Packard Royal, Rodney chose a military engine of a different origin, opting to use a Packard V-12 that began its life powering a PT boat during the Second World War. Used as fast attack boats, PT (for Patrol Torpedo) boats were typically powered by three (and sometimes four) normally aspirated Packard engines, each producing a rated 1,200 horsepower. Unarmored (but hardly unarmed), PT boats used speed an maneuverability as their primary defense.
Adapting a purpose-built marine engine for use in a plus-size roadster presents numerous engineering challenges, particularly when the engine is supercharged for added power. The Packard V-12 spins in an opposite direction to conventional automobile engines, so to circumvent this, Rodney employed two transmissions and two drivelines in the Packard Royal. Cooling the beast requires four radiators, six electric fans (and two heavy-duty alternators), and 25 gallons of coolant, and as Rodney explained at the car’s 2014 introduction, its 31-foot length was required to house everything needed to keep the Packard running on all 12 cylinders.
That includes 30 gallons of oil and 100 gallons of gasoline, enough to get the car somewhere between 75 and 150 miles down the road, depending upon the level of driver enthusiasm. With its gleaming aluminum and brass bodywork, thunderous roar (and occasional jet of flame from the exhausts), the Packard Royal is not the car for introverts, those on a budget or anyone even remotely concerned about the environment.
Building the roadster took an estimated 12,000 man hours over five and a half years, a process lengthened by the trial and error process employed by the crew. Chip Foose reportedly consulted on the body design, and scale aside, it isn’t an unattractive car. It will certainly command attention wherever it’s driven, though the list of states willing to issue plates and registration to such a creation likely won’t stretch to fifty.
It’s certainly difficult to price such an automobile, given the amount of work that went into its creation and the limited population of potential buyers, but Auctions America predicts a selling price between $450,000 and $600,000 when the Packard Royal crosses the block in California. Whether that’s high or low, we suppose, all depends upon how many qualified bidders decide they want the one-of-a-kind roadster parked in their oversize garage.
The Santa Monica sale takes place on June 25 and 26 at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. For additional information, visit AuctionsAmerica.com.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Kurt Ernst.
In 1958, Pontiac’s optional “Sportable” transistor AM radio could be slid out from the dash to be taken anywhere. It operated on its own batteries and had its own antenna. When it was returned to the dash, it would then play through the car’s speaker system using the car’s electrical system to power it. Oldsmobile had a version in 1958, as well. Art is from Pontiac accessory catalogs and the other photos are by the author.
If you enjoy learning about vintage General Motors factory options and dealer-installed accessories as much as I do, this blog is for you. Perusing the listings from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, it soon becomes apparent option/accessory offerings were extensive.
This Remington electric shaver is for a mid-1950s Pontiac. Throughout much of the 1950s, the various GM divisions offered accessory shavers that plugged into the cigarette lighter receptacle in the car via an adapter—great for traveling salesmen. It could also be plugged into the wall for home use.
Generally, it was a “win win” situation for customers and the automaker. Base prices for the cars could be kept relatively low for the frugal buyer by selling models sans price-inflating equipment. For those who wanted their vehicle to be more extravagant, however, myriad extra-cost options and dealer-installed accessories could be specified. Consequently, buyers were afforded the opportunity to personalize their vehicles to match their wants, needs and wallets, and the automakers and dealers were able to increase profits with each item that was added.
For 1959 and 1960, the aforementioned, transistor radio’s design had changed to a small unit that was separate from the in-dash radio. It stored in its own holder in the glovebox. Here’s Pontiac’s “Sportable” transistor radio circa 1960. In the 1959 Oldsmobile it was the “Trans-Portable” and the 1959 Buick it was called the “Transistor-Portable.” Its styling differed somewhat between the divisions.
Though there were hundreds of options and accessories offered each year by each division in this era, for this blog, I chose a few from Pontiac that I felt were thought-provoking and not seen too often. Many of them were also offered from other GM Divisions with the same or different names and/or styling.
Have you ever seen someone “stylin” in their 1967 Tempest, LeMans or GTO like this? That’s a vinyl tonneau cover for convertibles to protect the interior from the sun and dust. The driver’s area zipped out so the driver could keep the cover in place while he was in the car. It was held onto the car by snaps, and likely required a lot of them. Are those snaps added to the door sheet-metal? Ouch. The tonneau cover was available for a few years in the 1960s.
Take a look at the photos and captions and see if you recall any of them or, better, have actually owned a few.
I know that the 8-track player was fairly common in Pontiacs of the era, but the important aspect of this photo is where it’s located. The 8-track is mounted on the transmission tunnel behind the console—not exactly convenient for the driver to operate it. Why would Pontiac do that? Probably because there was no other choice in the 1969-72 GPs equipped with the console, as its design was integrated into the dash to cultivate the cockpit-like appearance. This left no room for the optional 8-track, so behind the console is where it was placed.
The Instant-Aire Pump, first offered in 1969, inflated tires or just about anything else up to 32 psi using vacuum from a port on the engine to power it. It wasn’t available with six-cylinder engine or the Ram Air III and Ram Air IVs.
The Rear Lamp Monitoring was offered in 1970 by Pontiac. It employed fiber optics to tell the driver that the rear lamps were functioning…or not. This small box was mounted on the package tray, so the driver could see the two indicators light up via the rearview mirror. Other divisions also offered the system, some, years before Pontiac, others, for years after.
Sunroofs were starting to become popular in the 1970s, but most were glass popups or sliding metal ones. For the Ventura II in the early 1970s, however, the folding sunroof was made of vinyl and was offered in back, Pewter, Covert Beige or tan, but the underside matched the interior color. The sunroof opened to 26 x 31-inches, featured an adjustable wind deflector and was said to be completely weatherproof. The Nova version was the “Sky Roof” and Buick offered it on the Skylark, as the “Sun Coupe.”
Take your Ventura or your Astre (later) camping with this nylon tent that could be employed with the hatchback models. It sleeps two and was said to store in its own case.
In the early to mid-1970s, GM seemingly really wanted its customers to not be litter bugs. By 1975, there were these four variations on in-car litter containers. The first and last even incorporated the tissue dispenser.
If you had a GM CB radio in your Pontiac in the 1970s, it’s only fitting that you should’ve had a 23-channel GM base station CB at home as well, right? These units featured telephone-style handsets, available loud speaker reception and public address capability. They look just like Johnson Messenger units of the era except for the GM logo.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Thomas A. DeMauro.
It was way back in 1958, when Bill Mitchell, then Vice-President of General Motors Styling, worked with the Chevrolet design studio to create a concept car that would be called the XP-700. According to a GM document “The XP-700 Corvette, one of the latest experimental vehicles by which Chevrolet tests new ideas, will be a top show attraction. The car combines an extreme sports car image with unusual ideas about driver safety.”
One of those ideas was the special bubble top roof that was said to eliminate glare, a ventilating system built into the bubble, and a periscope-type rear view mirror to provide a completely unobstructed view of the road behind. The report continued with, “Although chassis components are production-Corvette, the low hood overhang of the fiberglass body, broad frontal air scoops, transparent passenger canopy, and snubbed rear quarters impart a flavor of the most advanced race cars of the day.” The design utilized front fender air scoops for brake cooling, and a floating grille. To say this dream car was unique is an understatement.
The car actually started life as a stock 1958 Corvette. But that didn’t last long, as the fiberglass body was heavily modified to give it a Grand Prix race car appearance. The front of the car featured a long and low overhang, large air scoops, and wire wheels. Initially, the XP-700 was painted red, and Bill Mitchell actually used it as his personal car for the first year of its existence.
As futuristic as the car looked when it was built, the double bubble top that was added on October of 1959, had to be the car’s most intriguing feature. The laminated plastic canopy was coated with vaporized aluminum. This coating helped block the sun’s rays, which would have surely turned the interior into a Terrarium.
This transparent canopy acted in many ways, like a one-way mirror. It is easy to see how the rear styling of the car is credited with influencing the second-generation Corvette. During the first year the XP-700 was completed, it was actually painted red, but in 1959, it was repainted a metallic silver, and this “Dream Car” was revealed to the public on April of 1960, at the 4th International Automobile Show in New York.
When seated inside the car, passengers were met with a metal strut in the center of the canopy that featured louvered vents. This ventilation system was a must, to keep the bubble-covered interior comfortable.
Since the car started life as a ’58 Corvette, under the hood was a small-block 283 cubic-inch engine with 230 horsepower, and behind that was a four-speed manual transmission.
As far as what happened to the XP-700, we found a GM document that states; “3/28/61, Plans made to use components from XP-700 for XP-755″ (Mako Shark). Does that confirm the reported statements that the chassis of the Mako Shark is truly that of the XP-700. That same document also shows that in 1962, the interior trim design of XP-700 was updated and incorporated into the existing car. Is the existing car the XP-700, or XP-755?
Article courtesy of Rod Authority, written by Randy Bolig.
If there is a single defining feature of a hot rod, it all has to go back to the engine swap. Whether it be a Chevy motor powering a five-window Ford, a HEMI motivating a Mercury lead sled, or a Camaro with the running gear of a Toyota Supra, your typical hot rod has an engine that is anything but stock. But there are so many motors beyond what’s available in the automotive sphere, as this video demonstrates exceptionally well.
The Plymouth Air Radial Truck, as it is simply called, is a 1939 Plymouth pickup that has had a 12.5 liter (!!) radial engine from an airplane stuffed into the engine bay. It’s a mad piece of machinery, and it runs with the aeronautical theme from front to back.
The centerpiece of this hot rod is obviously the massive airplane engine, a seven-cylinder 12.5 liter motor built by the Jacobs Aircraft Engine Company for the Cessna 195. Said to produce 300 horsepower, the engine obviously wasn’t chosen because it makes a ton of power. Rather it was an aesthetic and thematic choice, as the rest of the pickup has adopted a 30s-era airplane.
That look that includes riveted sheet metal, a pair of steering wheels for both pilot and co-pilot that appear as though they came straight out of the Spirit of St. Louis, along with the gauge cluster. Built by Gary Corns and his team for Colorado Auto and Parts, this build really steps up our expectations from the hot rod community. It’s time to open the floodgates and start bringing in drivetrains from outside the world of cars and trucks. What other powertrains can be borrowed for hot rodding?
Article courtesy of Rod Authority, written by Chris Demorro.
It was in July of 1955, when the design studio at Chevrolet brought together a group of ideas that became what was called a dream car, that would first appear at the 1956 GM Motorama. Incorporating elements from the Corvette (grille and grille surround for starters), the 1956 Corvette Impala was a five-passenger hardtop that lived a short life.
Known internally at Chevrolet as XP-101, the Corvette Impala was on display to gauge what consumers thought about a Corvette as a five-passenger sports car. Like all Corvettes, this car was constructed with fiberglass. The car featured a tinted, wraparound windshield with a panoramic view, that actually curved up and joined the pale blue-tinted, brushed stainless steel roof.
The rear window was a wraparound style, and beltline took a decisive dip near the reverse slant C-pillars. The Corvette Impala was 74.4 inches wide, 53.7 inches high, and 202 inches long, and featured a wheelbase that spanned 116.5 inches. Initially, the car’s color for a while was very close to Aegean Turquoise Metallic, a color which was an option on the 1958 Chevrolet cars, but there is a photo of the car at the 1957 Chicago Auto Show that shows the color of the car was changed to a bright blue.
The futuristic interior of the car saw an airfoil-shaped padded bar protruding from the steering column, angling upward and flattening into a horizontal plane. This padded bar spanned the width of the interior, and contained the various accessory controls and heater vents. Mounted in the center of the padded cowl was a recessed area housing the radio and clock. A true design idea that never really caught on, was the speed warning system that consisted of ten small light windows in the instrument panel. This system was designed to have each window light up progressively in brighter shades of red as predetermined road speeds were reached.
The upholstery was a brilliant combination of a silver-blue vinyl and nylon material with a crosshatch pattern. The front seat utilized a fold-down center armrest that housed a map case, and the rear seat passengers could make use of a fixed central armrest that contained the power window switches, courtesy light, and an ash tray. The car also saw the inclusion of seat belts and a sloping package tray as safety features. The car exuded style and the chrome-plated wire wheels with knock-offs made sure you noticed.
There isn’t much information about the engine, other than it was a 265 cubic-inch small-block drinking fuel from two four-barrel carburetors, and delivered 225 horsepower. Behind that was a Powerglide transmission.
The Corvette Impala never had a chance, as it was quickly scrapped after the 1957 Motorama. But, many design cues did help the car live on within following year Corvettes. Do you think that Chevrolet should have mass-produced the Impala? Could this have been a “better” Corvette?
Article courtesy of Chevy Hardcore, written by Randy Bolig.