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1916-1923 Packard Twin Six


1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 Packard Twin Six
This 1920 Twin Six sports a shiny Motometer cap atop the radiator.
This 1920 Twin Six sports a shiny Motometer cap atop the radiator.
©Nicky Wright

In the summer of 1917 Packard announced the 3-25 and 3-35 models, which would comprise the third and final series and cover the 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 Packard Twin Six, ushering in numerous body changes as the upright bodies of the Teens evolved to the sleeker, lower shapes of the Twenties.

Mechanical changes included a redesigned electrical system, improved heads for better breathing and cooling, and the "Fuelizer" intake manifold to help vaporize inlet gases with the help of its own spark plug. The ball-end gear lever was shifted to the center of the floor, where it would remain until the column shift in the late Thirties.

The frame was tapered slightly and the wheelbase increased; horsepower was now 90. Custom bodies began to appear for the first time: a coupelet, limousine, brougham, and landaulet by Derham; limousines by Caffrey and Judkins; a runabout and cabriolet by Fleetwood. From these the glittering array of custom-bodied Packards evolved during the later Twenties and Thirties.

Packard owners loved their Twin Sixes, sometimes to extremes. An oil-rich Osage Indian chief bought a custom-bodied 3-35, smashed it an hour after taking delivery, and telephoned the dealer for an immediate replacement. Czar Nicholas II of Russia owned a Twin Six with the front wheels replaced by skis for winter work.

In 1921, Warren Harding used a Twin to become the first president to motor to his inauguration. In Japan, mechanics took the first car imported on a joy ride, ditched it in the moat of the Imperial Palace, and were fined for disturbing the royal goldfish -- but the Emperor soon had one himself.

A lot of Twin Sixes are still around, because they were built to last. Many years later, an owner of a Twin Six he'd owned since new wrote the company: "It has twelve cylinders but I only need four. The rest of them came with the engine and just let 'em run. The starter starts and the generator gens and the battery bats and the brakes brake and the seats seat and the top tops and the lights light. It will go from .001 mph to 75 on the same high gear, I love my old bus."

To find specifications for the First Series of Packard Twin Sixes, continue to the next page.

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