- One of Five built
- CCCA Full Classic
- Comprehensive restoration completed in the 1980s
- Body disassembled to the last nut and bolt
- Frame was sandblasted, primed and painted
- 385 CI inline 8-cylinder engine
- Synchromesh 3-speed transmission
- Solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs
- Hypoid live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs
- Bijur chassis lubrication
- Vacuum-assisted mechanical drum brakes
- Burled wood dash
- Ash and oak wooden sub-structure
- Gray leather upholstery
- Haartz cloth top
- Woodlite headlamps and cowl lamps
- Dual side mounts in metal cases with accessory mirrors
- Twin windshield-mounted spotlights
- Lalique Eagle’s Head mascot
- Wire wheels with chrome trim rings
James Ward Packard and his brother William began their foray into building automobiles in 1899 in the town of Warren, Ohio. By the 1930s, Packard had built a world-renowned reputation for well-engineered, luxurious automobiles that were among the finest produced in the United States. While the Great Depression all but laid waste to the American automobile industry, Packard was surprisingly able to weather the storm, in no small part due to strong overseas sales and the underrated efficiency of its single assembly line along with the interchangeability of parts across the company’s many high-end model offerings. Another key Packard advantage was its near constant refinement and technological improvement of its vehicles to make them ever smoother, faster and easier to drive.
In August 1933, Packard debuted what would be its Eleventh Series, or generation, of cars with an expanded line of offerings that included no less than six different available wheelbases (129, 135, 136, 141, 142 and 147-inches) and nine different body styles spanning from coupe and sedan to phaeton and limousine. At the top of this expansive range was the 8-cylinder “Super 8” and the 12-cylinder “Twelve” models.
The example on offer is a 1934 Super 8 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton, which represented one of the most exclusive and luxurious offerings within the Eleventh Series line of Packards. Built on a 142-inch X-braced frame with a semi-elliptic leaf-sprung solid front axle and a semi-elliptic leaf-sprung Hypoid live rear axle, the Super 8’s chassis also benefited from Bijur centralized chassis lubrication and vacuum servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. For power, the Super 8 received a 385 CI straight-8 engine that benefited from a 9-main-bearing crank, side-valve L-head, oil-temperature regulator, oil-pressure regulator, full-flow oil-filtration system, dual-coil ignition system and 6:1 compression ratio. Breathing through a downdraft carburetor, this powerplant produced 145 HP in a smooth and reliable fashion transmitted through a synchromesh 3-speed transmission. These features combined with an automatic choke, spark advance and revised steering geometry made the Super 8 one of the smoothest and easiest cars to drive of the period. One period reviewer commented, “It actually performed so smoothly and quietly that I could almost hear my watch tick at 60 miles per hour.” And for performance, the stately Packard was still capable of going from 0–50 MPH in just 14 seconds—a time considered good for the day.
This impressive driving package was clothed in an equally stately and luxurious body. Constructed with an ash and oak wooden subframe, the two-tone gray and black sport phaeton body provided ample seating for five, with a separate windscreen (dual cowl) and tonneau cover protecting and insulating the rear-seat passengers. Trimmed in rich gray leather upholstery, the interior also features a stunning burled-wood dashboard, matching burled-wood accents and a Haartz cloth soft top. Rounding out the Sport Phaeton’s special features are: dual, fender-mounted spare tires in metal cases with accessory mirrors; twin windshield-mounted spotlights; Woodlite headlamps and cowl lamps; wire wheels with chrome trim rings; and an exclusive Lalique crystal Eagle Head radiator cap mascot.
The Packard on offer is one of just five Packard Super Eight 1104 Dual Cowl Sport Phaetons built in 1934 and represents what many believe to be Packard at the height of its prewar powers. As such, this vehicle was the recipient of a comprehensive nut-and-bolt restoration in the 1980s that included full disassembly, with the frame sandblasted, primed and painted.