Jay Leno drives Phil Hill's 1932 Packard Twin-Six

Phil Hill was America's first Formula One world champion, but in his later life he also restored cars. Jay Leno bought this Packard from him some 30 years ago

Jay Leno has a lot of incredible cars in his extensive collection, with his garage resembling a well curated museum. A pristine McLaren F1 sits in the company of vintage steam-powered cars, and a rare experimental Chrysler Turbine car keeps company with a Mercedes-Benz 300SL. The chat show host is most proud of the first classic car he ever bought: Phil Hill’s 1932 Packard Twin-Six.

Phil Hill, America’s first Formula One world champion, passed away in 2008. He was known for his mechanical sympathy, a rare thing in a racing driver, and his engineering knowledge. Phil bought and restored this Twin-Six himself and did such a good job that hardly any further work has been needed — his restoration shop actually produced several Pebble Beach Concours winning cars over the years. Leno bought the Twin-Six from Hill car and regularly uses it.

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The Twin-Six gets its name from its V12 engine under the hood. Fun fact: In 1912 Packard was the first manufacturer to build and install a V12 in a car. While not as powerful as competing Duesenbergs of the time, this 160hp car is remarked upon for its refinement and craftsmanship. This Packard was ahead of its time in some respects, featuring something called ‘ride control’ that allowed the driver to make the suspension firmer or softer, not too dissimilar to the adjustable suspension we have today. It was also a genuine 100mph car which was certainly impressive during the 1930s. Finished in a beautiful emerald green, this regal example looks as good as it did when it left the factory in 1932.

In the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno talks us through the beautiful details of this Packard as well as taking the car out for a spin. He has owned this car for over 30 years now, it’s not hard to see why.

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