Hermann Brunn apprenticed with his uncle’s carriage-building firm before setting up his own company to build automobile bodies in Buffalo, New York, in 1908. In 1936, Brunn designed for himself a handsome, long-wheelbase limousine body that combined modern, rounded streamlined design with the classic folding landaulet top of 1910s formal cars. This proved to be interesting for Packard asked Brunn to build a few of them on the V-12 chassis in 1938 and 1939.
One of them is now offered by Auctions America at its Auburn Spring sale, on May 10th. The car which is on sale is body number one of a believed two Style 4086 closed-roof touring cabriolets built in 1939, the last year of V-12 production. This marked the end of the line for not only one of the Classic Era’s finest automobiles, but also one of its finest coachbuilders. At $8,355 each, these were also the most expensive factory-authorized Packard Twelves ever built.
This 1939 Packard Twelve Touring Cabriolet by Brunn is a well-maintained, very original car that still wears what is believed to be its factory coat of black lacquer, which still holds a deep shine over straight, true body panels; only the paint around the windows has been redone. The tan cloth upholstery within is also believed to be original and is in very nice condition, while the interior hardware exhibits some mild tarnish and wear; there is mild staining about the replacement fabric top covering. Perhaps the most fascinating, evocative touch is the original umbrella under the driver’s seat, which is ready to be whisked out by the chauffeur, to cover the head of his well-heeled employer at a moment’s notice.
The walnut accents throughout the interior were refinished and highly varnished, and they have a deep, rich appeal. While the driver’s compartment is nicely detailed, the original steering wheel exhibits a few cracks. An interesting feature is that this car has a column-shift for the transmission, an option on the 1939 models, making this one of the few CCCA Classics to boast a column-shifted transmission.
Given its overall condition and careful examination of all components, this appears to be a thoroughly original automobile, maintained but never fully restored, and the approximately 60,000 miles recorded on the odometer may well be the original reading since new. It is estimated between $150,000 – $200,000.