A bandonded in a horse barn in Montecatini, Italy, Nicola Bulgari’s most recent collector piece, an elegant 12-cylinder convertible, once served as a “starter’s” car at one of the world’s fastest harness racing tracks. After an extensive restoration, the car is prepared to lead the pack at upcoming Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance .
Originally ordered by Marc Droulers, a textile magnate and former owner of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este in Cernobbio, Italy, this once forgotten ’37 Packard Twelve was delivered in January 1938 to Ditta Bandera Franco, a luxury car dealer in Legnano (Milan).
After WW ll, the Packard was sold to Societa Trenno, owners of the Sesana harness racing track in Montecatini where it spent its days racing around the track at the beginning of each race.
Now restored and finished in Richmond Gray Metallic, the 12-cylinder convertible coupe (Model 1507) was eventually turned out to pasture after its racing days were over. The car then spent decades languishing in a horse barn at Sesana until it was discovered and rescued in the early-1980s. It was found with its original matching number 473-cubic-inch V-12 and chassis.
During its years at the horse track (late-1940s, early-1950s), the Packard’s rumble seat and rear deck were cut out and the cavity filled with a huge electric motor powering folding gates designed to keep the horses lined up.
Despite its altered and abandonded condition, Edo Anseloni merely cleaned the V-12’s carburetor and distributor, changed spark plugs, drained and refilled the gas tank and added a new battery.
“I just cranked it a couple of times and it fired right up and ran like a new car,” says Anseloni, who will be at Pebble Beach to be reunited with his “barn find” Packard.
Anseloni kept the Packard at his museum, Museo-Memoriale della Liberta, in Bologna until 2002. He then sold it to longtime friend, Nicola Bulgari.
The Packard’s new owner lives in Rome, IT and New York City where he collects vintage American cars. The Bulgari Collections total more than 150 cars and are located in Rome and Allentown, PA.
Shortly after purchasing the rare ’37 Packard Twelve, Bulgari shipped it to Keith Flickinger (curator of his collection) at Precision Motor Cars, Allentown, PA for a body-off restoration. Later this year it will be exported (again) to Italy.
Team BULGARI and the 1937 Packard Twelve (with its original Marchal headlamps and Italian license plate) will be participating in the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance on Thursday, August 16 and showing (Prewar American Classic, Open Class) on the green at the Concours, Sunday, August 19.