The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Blog

1977 Best of Show Winner

November 18, 2020

1927 Packard 343 Murphy Convertible Sedan shown by Mr. & Mrs. Phil Hill

This is one of three Packard 343s fitted with a Murphy Convertible Sedan body, and it is believed to be the only surviving example. The body, designed by the legendary W. Everett Miller, was a Murphy specialty, incorporating remarkably thin “clear-vision” cast brass pillars. 

The Fairbank family, which was heavily involved in Canada’s rail and oil industries, originally purchased this car for $9,200, and it remained in their possession until Phil Hill purchased it in 1967. Hill, his partner Ken Vaughn, and Bob Mosier, who was the first employee of “Hill and Vaughn,” worked together to restore the car, and their efforts culminated in Hill’s second Best of Show win at the Pebble Beach Concours. Its lilac paint scheme was modelled after a well preserved original Packard that Hill spotted during a visit to William Harrah’s Collection. 

“To restore a car to the level of a Pebble Beach winner is a really tough job, especially if you do the work yourself,” said Hill later. “In fact, after doing my Pierce in 1954, it was several years before I could bring myself to even think about doing another. 

“In some cases, when the restoration is particularly troublesome, you almost hate the car when it’s done. I never felt that way about the Pierce, but for a while I wasn’t so fond of that ’27 Packard. The whole effort to restore it was so great that it was a good while before I could actually like the car again. Happily that feeling didn’t last. Now, without fail, when I take that car out, it pleases me more than I ever thought it could.

“Sometimes the reward for a restoration comes later — sometimes much later, even years later, when you meet the car again and are able to appreciate it in a much freer and more wholesome way.”

The Packard is now with the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

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