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Warren Packard with the experimental Packard Straight Twelve

Rare Photo Of The Packard Twelve Easter Egg Surfaces In London

Updated – Last December the experimental Packard Straight Twelve was covered here on The Old Motor with as much information as could be found about it at the timeQuite a bit was learned about the silver and orange Convertible Victoria with coachwork by Dietrich that was referred to as the Easter Egg by the Packard family due to its bright color combination.

Charles Milne Atkinson of King’s Cliff, Peterborough, England sent along this interesting photo and the following to say about it:

“Warren Packard was the only son of William Doud Packard and Anna Storer Packard. He was born on October 5, 1892 and died in a plane crash in 1929. My Godfather W T S Digby-Seymour was married to Rosalie Packard. After he had died, I was collecting some items from his flat in London and came across a photograph I remember well as it hung on the wall in their bedroom.”

experimental Packard Straight Twelve

  •                          Factory photo of the experimental straight twelve courtesy of Dave Mitchell. 

“The photograph had been placed in a pile to go to the charity shop. The picture I believe is of Warren Packard standing next to the Packard Twelve balancing a model boat on the front wing. It seems it was taken outside a building that looks like an aeroplane hangar. I stayed with Warren Packard III during 1984 in Detroit. He was still in the automotive industry at that time but has since died.”

*Update* Thanks go out to reader tinindian, who appears to have determined what boat is depicted by the model Warren Packard is holding in the photo. Pictured (below) is the 1903 Matthews Day Cruiser Warren Packard’s father James Ward Packard had custom-built by the Matthews Boat Company.


The opulent yacht has survived, is restored and is now on the market for one-million dollars. It was used by Packard on Chautauqua Lake in Lakewood, New York where he built an elaborate 32 room mansion in 1905. See an earlier photo of  J.W. and his wife Elizabeth at the lake with a 1904 Packard.

We assume the boat model was of a yacht that Packard had commissioned. Part of an announcement after his death is seen (below) from the October, 1929 Lehigh Alumni Bulletin, published by his alma mater. We are still looking to find out more information about W T S Digby-Seymour and Rosalie Packard, who was a writer. Let us know if you can turn up any anything more about the Straight Twelve. Learn more here about The Long-Lost Experimental Packard Straight Twelve.

Warren Packard with the experimental Packard Straight Twelve


15 responses to “Rare Photo Of The Packard Twelve Easter Egg Surfaces In London

  1. Having just reviewed the Lehigh Alumni Bulletin 1927-28 which has an article with a pictures of Warren Packard at the ceremony laying the cornerstone of the James Ward Packard Laboratory, that does look like Warren Packard in the picture with the Easter Egg.

    The yacht? That is is a 1903 Matthews Day Cruiser built for James Packard for use on Lake Chautauqua (New York). Currently for listed for sale in mint condition after restoration.

    W T S Digby-Seymour- the full name is “William Terence Somerset Digby Seymour” or a shorter version “Terence Digby-Seymour”.

  2. I believe this picture was taken at the Packard Proving Grounds, as there is a building just like it there, and it was used as a hangar.

  3. Really?
    Porcelainized did you say?Like on a old steel bathtub.For what possible reason?
    Only on Old Motor can one find out these things.

  4. While we have an aircraft hanger at the Packard Proving Grounds, it is not the hanger in the photo. The subject hanger is much larger in width and height than ours and has stone work at the corner columns. The hanger at the PPG is an all steel-sided structure and much smaller in scale.

    My opinion is that the photo was taken at Detroit City Airport – about 2 miles away from the Packard Plant on E. Grand Boulevard.

    I have also looked at photos Packard Field at Gratiot Road and Frazho Road, but all of the hangers there are small and all steel buildings. Secondly, I looked at photos of the Grosse Ile (Isle) Airport (near where Warren Packard suffered his fatal accident) and ruled that our too. Finally, I reviewed the seaplane hanger at Windmill Pointe on the border of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park, MI, but that building is very much smaller.

    Hope this helps,
    Roger Luksik
    President – Trustee, Packard Motor Car Foundation

  5. Porcelain was pretty common – ex. Cadillac procelainized their manifolds through 1948. Usually the surface looks better than this on a new/fairly new car (or even 85 years later in some cases ) – most likely they ran it too rich at some point or did not have their engineering perfected.

  6. My father-in-law recounted seeing a 12 cylinder supposedly inline Packard at Grand Prairie, Alberta in the early 1950’s. There is a Photo in the Reynolds-Alberta Museum of a very long hood Packard.
    Thanks for listening,
    Lee Samuelson

  7. Rosalie and Digby, as he was known, were good friends of good friends of my parents when we all lived in London from 1959 and into the 1960s. Rosalie Packard was a published author of at least three novels, the first (“Love in the Mist”) being that of a Midwestern girl who marries a Brit … a thinly disguised autobiography of her marriage. I have a bit more info if needed.

    • I have been doing research on the Packard family for many years but know little about Rosalie and her husband. I have purchased her first novel, but to quote my husband-have put it in a safe place-meaning I can’t find it. I would love to hear anything about their lives that you might be willing to share. I live in Warren, Ohio and volunteer at the National Packard Museum. There has been quite alot written about the 2 Packard brothers and the other male members of the family, but not alot about the females. Thanks, cindee mines

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