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Customized Packard Darrin Convertible

The 1937 to ’39 Packard “Darrin” models (1937 to’42) were designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin and constructed on Packard 120 chassis’, first in Los Angeles and later in Hollywood. In essence, Darrin and his workers, who were experienced coachbuilders took a 120 business coupe and lowered the factory-built Packard radiator and shell, sectioned the hood sides, constructed a wooden-framed cowl and doors with the “Darrin Dip.” Clark Gable and other famous actors and individuals in show business purchased some of the first ones produced.

The 1938 to ’39 models were fitted with a cast aluminum cowl designed by Rudy Stoessel, one of Darrin’s talented coachbuilders, which was much stronger than the first wood and sheet metal cowls. Later in 1940, the “Darrin” was produced in limited numbers by Packard in Detroit on “Super Eight” chassis up until 1942.

This 1937 to ’39 Packard “Darrin” was photographed in 1940 with Gloria Lupton, the daughter of C. A. Lupton, who lived in the River Crest neighborhood of West Fort Worth, TX. It is not known if this car has survived. Note the faux side pipes installed on this Packard in the expandable image (below.)

Please share with us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

21 responses to “Customized Packard Darrin Convertible

  1. The Lupton family started bottling Coca-Cola in Dallas in 1902 and acquired the bottling rights for all of Texas and “the Indian territories” in 1903. C. A. Lupton was running the Dallas plant by 1910 and incorporated the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in 1912 along with W. J. Brown and T. J. Brown, Jr. He and T. J. Brown formed a charitable foundation in the 40s that still exists and provides money to TCU.

    • Sounds like the family had a lot of money. That being said the beautiful new Darrin Packard convertible may very well have been her own car to drive around in; and if so, what a lucky gal.

  2. Somewhere in a warehouse in Kansas about 20 years ago I found a 1941 Collier’s Magazine with the gold metallic ink background advertisement for a black with red interior “Packard Custom Convertible Victoria – $4685 as illustrated” with the title line “What could it be but a Packard?”

    Referred to as “This superlative Packard Custom Super 8 One-Eighty” it goes on to state “Owners tell us that wherever this distinguished Custom Packard parks or pauses, traffic is well-nigh disrupted by admirers” and “The only thing that isn’t surprising, in this surprising car, is that its long, rakish bonnet wears the most famous, best-loved face in motoring.”

    I often admire this minor treasure in a modest red frame in my front hall.

  3. What a beautiful Packard Darrin Convertible and I daresay takes some styling cues from the 1937 812 Cord Sportsman Convertible which of course was and is one of the most magnificent designs of the mid-Thirties. How I’d Love to take a Ride in this Packard.

  4. Plate says Texas 1940. This had to be taken shortly after or during the oil boom in Texas in the late 30’s. I saw a movie on TCM once called “Lucy Gallant”. It took place in a small Texas town in the late 30’s, that had just discovered oil. It brought in millions and changed the town forever. Many became millionaires overnight and didn’t know what to do with their money, hence, cars like this were very popular, at least in the movie. Hollywood wouldn’t lie, would they?

  5. The car reminds me of the old Banacek TV series of the mid-70s.
    That series reportedly used two csrs, one for location filming in Boston, the other in Hollywood . One of the cars sold a few years ago.

    As a teenager at the time, it was my first introduction to Packards.

  6. Wonderful proportions, verve and elegance in spades, Packard’s immediate pre-war years were enriched by his aesthetic efforts. I can’t see a Packard Darrin now but recall the description the late Jim Hollingsworth coined “Darrin’s cut-‘n-paste customs”. He had a great sense of humor!

  7. Gloria DePoyster Lupton Tennison
    BIRTH 6 Nov 1923
    DEATH 1 Sep 1991 (aged 67)
    BURIAL
    Greenwood Memorial Park and Mausoleum
    Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas, USA

    Birthday present for a rich guys teen daughter? 16 – 17 years old?

  8. Longtime Darrin owner says this is a ’39 Super-8 (319-ci) because he knows the car. But externally, same as One-Twenty Darrin. The below would be a nice car sans pipes. Curious they managed the understatement of painted grille while tacking on those chrome pythons. Can also do without the bobby soxer in the photo. Darrin must’ve rolled his eyes over this. He let Gene Tierney drive the fifth one built around LA, park it at restaurants, to drum up business.
    E. L. Cord liked the 1936-37 Cords without outside pipes, but they were an option on the unblown ’37s as they were on non-supercharged Duesenberg Js.
    Such pipes are one thing on a ’20s Mercedes SSK, but like boat tails, passe by the ’30s, at least in Europe. E. L. Cord advertised 265 hp for the Model J simply as a limited-production SSK ballyhooed 250, which was also a stretch.
    Howard above’s right about Texas oil money.

  9. According to “Find a Grave,” CA Lupton was born in 1885 and died in 1948 at age 63. His daughter Gloria was born in 1923 and passed away at age 67 in 1991. Her husband, Harry Lee Tennison, whom she married in 1950, was a noted conservationist/hunter, known as the “Father of the Black Rhino” for his work with “Operation Rhino.” Harry Lee passed away in 2009 at the age of 89.

  10. I can not say much good that comes ever out from Holywood today. With its movies and commercials made to immorality and it’s, lies have made a culture of perversion and no ethics.

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