While it may not have the Art Deco styling or space age streamlining, this gold machine is a Packard. This machine is the Packard Twelve Prototype that was built in 1999. It came about when a businessman attempted to secure investors to relaunch the brand. While it may look more like a late 90s Buick or Mercury, or perhaps even a Jaguar, this was technically the last official Packard ever made.
In 1954 Packard merged with Studebaker, who dropped the name in 1958. In 1978 Packard enthusiast Budd Bayliff purchased the rights to the name and began producing replicas and parts at his shop in Lima, Ohio. He did this until 1992 when he sold the rights to Packard, to businessman Roy Gullickson for $50,000. Gullickson (a former engineer for the White Motor Car Company and Massey-Ferguson) had a vision for to relaunch Packard as a High End Luxury car manufacturer for the 21st Century.
Much like Preston Tucker, Gullickson assembled a team of engineers and began work on a prototype. The Prototype was nicknamed the Packard Twelve for it’s 525 cu-in Falconer Racing V-12 engine. This 12 was equipped with a modified GM Tuned Port Injection system and had on an output of 440 horsepower. The Packard was built around an aluminum space frame chassis with a 119-inch wheelbase and was all wheel drive. Gullickson stated during testing the Twelve performed 0-60 in 4.8 seconds and was capable of pulling 12.5 second quarter mile runs.
Open up the doors and you will find red leather seats, wood grain paneling, a flip out CD player, a cluster of yellow glowing gauges and a vintage style tire case in the trunk. The Twelve’s exterior styling looks similar to that of a late ’90s Buick, Mercury or Jaguar. The car has a retro-future look combining the soft lines of the ’90s with the art deco of the ’40s.
In 1998, Gullickson had 70 preorders for the Twelve for a price tag of $800,000. However, investors pulled out of the project when they didn’t see a future for the company. “We knew we didn’t have the capital to go into production,” Gullickson said, “we were always willing to consider other options, like investing or selling the company outright.” In 2007 he attempted to sell the rights to Packard name and the Twelve for $1.5 Million with no success.
Now seven years later, he plans on auctioning off the Twelve prototype at the upcoming RM Motor City Auction in Plymouth, Michigan, on July 26. The car will head to the auction floor without reserve were perhaps Jay Leno, Ken Lingenfelter and other well known collectors will attempt to purchase it. How much do you think this car is worth? Forget the Grey Poupon, how would you have liked to see an AWD, 440 horsepower monster of a Packard sedan with a V12 engine roaring around a the Nurburgring trying to set a lap record?