No one wants to be caught in the end of days in some regular car, even a Tesla. You want to be behind the wheel of something scorching right out of R. Crumb’s frontal lobe.

How about this?!?

[Rod Serling voice:] Introducing for your consideration the 1940 Packard Royal Roadster.

Packard Royal Roadster

1940 Packard Royal roadster. Photos by Patrick Ernzen, courtesy Auctions America

She measures 31.5 feet end-to-end, over 10 feet longer than a Ford F-250 Super Duty. Despite the mostly aluminum body, it tips the scales at 13,200 pounds – just shy of 7 tons. Its 2, supercharged Packard V-12 broils 1,600 horsepower and 3,000 pound-feet of torque. It’s not a Prius.

The 1940 Packard Royal roadster was created by plus-size car builder Rodney Rucker.




Rodney Rucker has a passion for heavy equipment, and his shop has turned out everything from a tracked-vehicle monster truck to a V-8-powered shopping cart that seats eight. His better-known projects include Sneaky Pete, a 1964 Peterbuilt tractor chopped 10-inches and powered by a Continental AV1790 V-12; and Rodzilla, a 1928 Studebaker sedan powered by a twin-turbo version of the same Continental engine.

For the Packard Royal, Rodney chose a military engine that began life on a PT boat during the Second World War. Think Jack Kennedy history.  Used as fast attack boats, PT stood for Patrol Torpedo.  They were powered by three (and sometimes four) normally aspirated Packard engines, each producing a rated 1,200 horsepower. Unarmored (but hardly unarmed), PT boats used speed and maneuverability as their primary defense.

Adapting a purpose-built marine engine for use in a plus-size roadster presents engineering challenges, particularly when the engine is supercharged for added power. The Packard V-12 spins in an opposite direction to conventional automobile engines.  Rodney’s workaround is two transmissions and two drivelines in the Packard Royal. Cooling the beast requires four radiators, six electric fans (and two heavy-duty alternators), and 25 gallons of coolant.  Rodney explained that he needed the 31 feet just to house everything.

Housing everything includes 30 gallons of oil and 100 gallons of gasoline, enough to get the car up to 150 miles down the road, depending upon the level of driver enthusiasm. As Hemmings blog put it…

With its gleaming aluminum and brass bodywork, thunderous roar (and occasional jet of flame from the exhausts), the Packard Royal is not the car for introverts, those on a budget or anyone even remotely concerned about the environment.

The roadster took 12,000 man hours over five and a half years.

Auctions America predicts a selling price between $450,000 – $600,000 when the Packard Royal crosses the block in California on June 26 in Santa Monica.