The Packard Twin V6 Auto – An American Car Icon

The Packard Twin V6 Auto – An American Car Icon

The Packard Twin V6 Auto – An American Car Icon

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Built by: Packard Motor Car Co., United States

Engine: 12 cylinders, in 60-degree vee-formation, in two cast-iron blocks with three-bearing light-alloy crankcase. Bore and stroke 76.2mm by 127mm, 6,950cc (3.0in × 5.0in, Detachable cast-iron cylinder heads (integral heads in original production design). Two side valves per cylinder, operated by tappets from single camshaft mounted on top of crankcase. Single up-draught Packard carburetor. Maximum power 85bhp.

Transmission: Multiple-dry-plate clutch and three-speed manual gearbox (without synchromesh), both in unit with front-mounted engine. Direct acting central gear-change. Open propeller shaft to spiral-bevel ‘live’ rear axle.

Chassis: Separate pressed-steel frame, with channel-section side members and pressed and tubular cross bracing. Forged front axle beam. Front and rear suspension by semi-elliptic leaf springs. Worm-and-nut steering. Rear-wheel drum brakes, mechanically operated from foot pedal. Artillery-style road wheels, with fixed centers but detachable rims. 33 × 5in tires.

Dimensions: Wheelbase 11ft 4in (345cm), tracks (front and rear) 4ft 8in (142cm). Unladen weight depending on chosen coachwork, 3,910lb to 4,415lb (1,73kg to 2,002kg).


            The Packard brothers bought a Winton car in 1898 and decided they could improve on it and the result was the 1899 Packard car. The single-cylinder 12hp soon led to bigger and better fours and sixes and before 1910 Packard was established as one of North America’s finest cars. However, for 1915, while the rest of the industry was still debating the merits of six or eight cylinders as the best for a luxury car, Packard (with a car designed by Henry Joy) jumped straight to a 12-cylinder machine, the Twin Six, which was the world’s first such machine. The engine was neatly designed, with all the porting concentrated in the centre of the vee (which meant that exhaust piped were led out behind the centre of the engine, over the transmission), and it had fixed cylinder heads. Left-hand-drive was a novelty, but this was later abandoned. It was Packard’s only model from 1926 to1920, when it was joined by a new six, and it was finally dropped in 1923.

A total of 35,046 Twin Six cars were made and Packard’s reputation as a premium manufacturer was completely sealed. The cars, with their noble radiators and excellent equipment, were spirited competitors for Cadillac and any of the exotic imported makes.

An interesting footnote to North American automotive industry history.   The enterprise “American Motor”  later to be known  as “AMC”  with its  staple products being the Rambler brand  –  was set up not to save Ramblers from extinction on American roads – but rather  as a major effort to save this grand and noted marquee of Americana and greatest badge of American automobile quality and innovation in the domestic auto industries.

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