In the late 1920s, Detroit found itself immersed in a phenomenon later termed the ‘Cylinder Wars,’ a concept that may seem peculiar to us looking back 90 years. During this period, prominent manufacturers vied for supremacy in the multi-cylinder luxury car market, striving to be crowned the ‘king of the hill.’ Despite the looming grip of the Great Depression on the global economy in the early to mid-1930s, Cadillac, Auburn, Franklin, Lincoln, and Pierce-Arrow all unveiled their 12-cylinder models.
Packard, acknowledged for introducing the world’s first production V-12 with the 1916 “Twin Six,” further solidified its position when it launched the twelve-cylinder model in 1932. This vehicle swiftly became the benchmark against which others were measured. Featuring a 67° V-block, the Packard possessed the smooth balance characteristic of the brand. Standing next to it at idle, distinguishing whether the engine was running or not proved challenging due to its remarkable refinement.
By 1933, with the debut of the tenth series Packard and the introduction of the top-tier twelve-cylinder cars known simply as the ‘Packard Twelve,’ the Packard Motor Car Company had crafted an exceptional product. Subsequent enhancements, including improved cooling, a superior clutch, and smoother suspension, further elevated these cars. Today, this era of Packard production stands as one of the most outstanding and coveted periods, not only within the spectrum of Packard models but also encompassing Classic Era automobiles as a whole.