While I appreciate the work of Howard "Dutch" Darrin, I was never a particular fan of his victorias on the immediate-prewar Packard chassis. Instead, I much preferred his earlier works while with Hibbard & Darrin and Fernandez & Darrin, such as the victorias, convertible town cars and convertible coupe he helped create on the Duesenberg Model J chassis. To me, the later Darrin victorias appeared to have more simple construction that was borrowed by such lesser-priced cars as the MG-TD and TFs. That is, these victoria bodies were sporty and functional, but not necessarily of the quality construction associated with the coachbuilt era. That changed with recent issues of Old Cars Weekly.
Recently, numerous Packard victorias have been splashed on the pages of the publication. First, David Osborn Hutchinson IV recounted his father's affinity for Classic cars in the Classic period for the May 20 issue. During the Classic era, Hutchinson's father drove two Darrin victorias, a Cord Cabriolet, an Auburn Speedster, one of the rare Nash victorias and others. in the June 10 issue, Bill Siuru wrote about the 1937 Ford Darrin victoria that preceded the better-known Packard Darrin victorias of 1938 and thereafter. Finally, a Packard Darrin has appeared in the classifieds over several issues.
With all of these Darrins, it's been pretty hard to NOT think about these racy cars, or gain an appreciation for the Darrin Packards with that famous "Darrin dip." And I have.
Here are those sporty Darrins:
1939 Packard Darrin
1941 Packard Darrin
1937 Ford Darrin