1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight news, pictures, specifications, and information
Rumble Seat Coupe
Chassis Num: 172986
As the 1920s came to a close, Packard was a very well-established and successful manufacturer. Their cars were well engineered and properly built for the discerning and well-funded buyer. The Packard's of the classic era almost always outsold their competitors, including Pierce-Arrow, Lincoln, and Cadillac.

Packard introduced their new Custom Eight 640 in 1929. It had a chassis that was specifically designed to carry custom and semi-custom bodies. Many had long hoods that concealed the 106 horsepower, nine-main bearing straight-eight engines.

This example is an original coupe body that is equipped with a rumble seat. It has been in the same ownership for over three decades. During that time it has seen little, yet gentle, use. During the course of its life it has traveled only 35,878 miles. It has been treated to a professional and comprehensive restoration bringing it back to its original condition. The $100,000 frame-off job was completed in 1994.

The car is finished in tri-tone blue livery with gold leaf coach lines. The interior is the correct gray wool fabric.

It has been awarded a first in class award at the Silverado Concours and at the Packard Club of America's 19th Annual meet. It won Best of Show at the North Lake Tahoe Antique and Collector Car Show. In 1994 it was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours and was awarded a second in class.

Over the past 13 years it has traveled a mere 500 miles. In 2007 It was offered for sale at the Bonhams Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia at the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club. It was estimated to sell for $125,000 - $150,000. At the close of the auction, the lot had been left unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2010
This Packard 640 Custom Super Eight is an excellent example of the 'Jazz Age' Roadster. It is equipped with a 348.8 cubic-inch, inline 8-cylinder engine developing 105 horsepower. The car rides on a 140.5-inch wheelbase. The sixth series Packards were produced from August 1, 1928 to August 20, 1929. List price was approximately $3,175. Shipping weight was 4,370 pounds.

AS the 1920's came to a close, Packard was a very well established and successful manufacturer. Their cars were well engineered and properly built for the discerning and well-funded buyer. The Packards of the classic era almost always outsold their competitors, including Pierce Arrow, Lincoln, and Cadillac.

Total production of 640 and 645 models was 11,862 cars. Other models include the lower priced models 626 and 633. There was not a so-called Sport Phaeton catalogued series, but a few Dual Cowl versions were built. Wire wheels and windshield were extra cost items. Side mount covers and chrome tread covers were special ordered for this Packard along with wire wheels.

This car was owned by the same person from 1970 until 2005, when it was sold to the current owners. It was then sent straight to Chicago for a three-year frame-off total restoration.
Dual Cowl Phaeton
Chassis Num: 176137
Sold for $132,000 at 2008 RM Auctions.
Sold for $129,250 at 2013 RM Auctions.
Sold for $220,000 at 2014 Barrett-Jackson.
The 'senior' Custom Eight models were offered by Packard in no fewer than nine body styles. The list included Tourers, Roadsters, Convertible Coupes, and Limousines. Coahcbuilders such as Rollston, LeBaron, and Dietrich applied their craft to this mighty platform.

By mid-1928, with the introduction of the Sixth Series, Packard offered only eight-cylinder engines. The eight-cylinder, L-head powerplant was available in two sizes, a319 cubic-inch unit that produces 90 horsepower and the 385 cubic-inch unit that offered 105 bhp. The Standard Eight series were fitted with the smaller eight-cylinder engine and built atop a wheelbase that measured 126.5-inches. An optional 133.5-inch size was available. The Custom and Deluxe Eight models rode on a 140.5-inch and 145.5-inch wheelbase respectively.

This 1929 Packard Custom Eight Dual Cowl Phaeton Model 640 has been given a full restoration. It has a tan body, brown fenders and body trim, red leather interior, and a beige canvas top. It is equipped with a pair of Trippe driving lights, and dual side-mount spares and spotlights.

In 2008, this Model 640 DC Phaeton was offered for sale at the 'Sports & Classics of Monterey' presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $120,000 - $165,000 and offered with a reserve. Those estimates were proven accurate as the lot was sold for $132,000 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2009
Packard sold 47,855 cars in 1929 with prices ranging from $2,435 to over $6,000. By this point in history, Packard was one of the oldest car companies in America, with the first Packard built in 1899. The enterprise that began life as the Ohio Automobile Company in Warren, Ohio became the Packard Motor Car Company in 1902 and moved to Detroit the following year.

The company entered the Classic era with a new straight eight engine replacing its early V12. This milestone engine used a unique crankshaft design and firing order that balanced the reciprocating forces and eliminated vibration. It was lighter than the V12, provided more power, better fuel economy and the inline configuration was compatible with the 'long hood' design themes that could be characteristic of the Classic era.

The Model 640 rode on a 140 inch wheelbase chassis and was powered by a 385 cubic-inch straight eight-cylinder engine offering 106 horsepower. It was priced at $3,175 and 9,801 were produced.

This Packard Ruanbout was sold new by the Earl C. Anthony dealership in California on April 13th of 1929. It was destroyed in a building fire in 1981. A three year restoration was completed in January of 2010.
Rumble Seat Coupe
Chassis Num: 173884
Sold for $220,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company.
The Packard 640 Custom Eight and 645 DeLuxe Eight shared a 385 CID inline eight-cylinder engine producing 105 BHP - Packard's most powerful motorcar with the exception of the 626 Speedster. Packard offered a wide array of body styles, accommodating a variety of tastes and purposes.

This car was originally purchased by Mel Hershey of Hershey, Pennsylvania. In the early 1960's, Maxime Choiniere, from Quebec, bought the Packard from Mr. Hershey. Choiniere was well renowned throughout the Northeast for his restorations and the establishment of a museum in Granby, Quebec.

After Choiniere's demise in 1993, the entire collection was auctioned and the present owner acquired the car. It was restored by Richard Grenon over a five year period. The car was completely dismantled and rebuilt from the underlying hardwood structure out.

This Packard was awarded First Junior status at the 2012 AACA Eastern Fall Meet in Hershey. It is a well-equipped example with Packard-emblem Trippe lights, dual side-mounted spares with mirrors, a rare disappearing tonneau windscreen for the rumble seat, a luggage rack, covered trunk, and tools. The car is finished in black with red accents and leather upholstery.
This 1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster with Sporty Coachwork rides on a 140-inch wheelbase. When new, the car sold for $4,585 and was one of the more expensive of its type in 1929. In 2008, it earned a CCCA 1st Place.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2009
Chassis Num: 167405
Sold for $148,500 at 2006 RM Auctions.
Sold for $91,300 at 2009 RM Auctions.
This 1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster was the least expensive body style on the 640 model-lineup, yet they are some of the most highly prized configurations today as they were on of the last of the true open cars. The early history of this car is well known. It was original purchased by Mr. Pratt of Island Paper Industries of Loweville, New York. Original features fitted to this car include the unusual finned aluminum brake drums and a set of Woodlite headlights.

In the late 1970s, the car was given a comprehensive restoration in its original colors. The current owner purchased the car in 2006 and it has been in his private collection ever since. The engine is a 385 cubic-inch, nine main bearing side-valve eight cylinder engine capable of producing 105 horsepower. There is a three-speed transmission and four-wheel mechanical brakes.

In 2009, this Model 640 Roadster was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey presented by RM Auctions where it was expected to sell for $95,000 - $125,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $91,300, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2009
Dual Cowl Phaeton
This Packard 640 Custom Super Eight Sport Phaeton was introduced in 1929 and offered in nine body styles, and was one of 9,810 (some sources say 9,801) cars manufactured this production year. The car has a 385 cubic-inch, 8-cylinder engine, a 140-inch wheelbase, an overall length of 204 inches and weighs 4,370 lbs. The original list price with options was $3,475.

This example was originally order by a member of the Portuguese Royal Family, was manufactured in September 1928, and painted a two-tone gray. The Family's estate and assets, including this Packard, were seized and nationalized after a change in regimes. The Packard was driven only sparingly from 1930-1980 when an American Naval Officer purchased the car at auction, took legal title, but was not allowed to take the car out of the country. He restored and re-painted the car red, white and blue to disguise its appearance and shipped it to the United States.

The car went through a three-year restoration, which was completed in 2010. The car's mileage is accurate with only 18,350 miles on the odometer.
The Runabout was Packard's least expensive Custom Eight, although with prices exceeding $3,000, it was by no means affordable to the average American.

This 1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight Runabout is an excellent example of the 'Jazz Age' Roadster. It is finished in black with orange artillery wood spoke wheels and a beige folding top piped in saddle leather which match the interior leather on the doors and seats. The colors are typical of the era and the restoration is authentic. The June 1929 American Motorist magazine featured a black and orange roadster in an ad titled 'Packard men are carefully chosen.' The radiator features an optional basket-weave stoneguard and is accented by the distinctive Adonis radiator mascot. The windshield is hinged to be able to access fresh air. Other notable extra features include dual spotlights, a wood rail rear-mounted trunk rack, and dual side-mounted spares with tire-mounted rearview mirrors. There is a golf club access door housing a set of period clubs. Gold pinstriping is found on the orange wheels and belt moldings.

Known as the Sixth Series, this Packard is fitted with a 384.8 cubic-inch, in-line 8-cylinder engine developing 105 horsepower. The car rides on a 140.5-inch wheelbase, weighs approximately 4,245 pounds, and sold new for $3,175. There is a three-speed manual transmission.

This car is a CCCA Premier Classic National Sr.1st Prize winner. The current owner acquired the car in March 2002 after having received restoration work in 1999.
This 1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster was the least expensive body style on the 640 lineup, yet they are some of the most highly prized configurations of today. It is powered by a 349 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine. This example was restored in 1992.
Chassis Num: 168397
Engine Num: 168376
Sold for $144,500 at 2008 Bonhams.
Sold for $126,500 at 2013 Bonhams.
This 640 Custom Eight Roadster became part of the Richard C. Paine Jr. collection around 1990. It was purchased by the current Private European Museum owner in 2007. It is finished in dark green with black fenders, and there is vermillion accent on the doors' décor panels along with vermillion wire wheels. There is a windshield post mounted spotlight, a pair of optional side-mounted spare wheels, wide whitewall tires, a single Pilot-Ray driving light, radiator stone-guard, rumble seat and rear-mounted luggage rack.

The interior and rumble seat are upholstered in brown leather; the top is tan cloth.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2013
Dual Cowl Phaeton
Chassis Num: 176349
This 1929 Packard 640 Phaeton Custom Eight, chassis number 176349, was delivered to the Boston Motor Car Company on September 11th of 1929, making it a very early 1929 model. The Great Depression was just beginning and only 9,766 examples of the Custom Eight were built in Detroit.

It is powered by a 384 cubic inch super straight eight producing around 106 horsepower. The vehicle weighs 4370 lbs. This particular body style originally sold for $3,175 when the base price of a standard family car sold for between $600 and $800.

This particular example spent many years as an estate car in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and was once owned by Patrick G. Young. It came from the factory finished in battleship gray with a red undercarriage and riding on disc wheels. The current owners had the car restored in 1998.
Packard was founded by two brothers, James Ward and William Dowd Packard in the city of Warren Ohio. They strongly believed that they could build a better automobile then the current models on display. They also had ideas on how to improve on the designs of current automobiles. By 1899, both brothers were building and designing vehicles in their native Warren, Ohio. The company was originally called the Ohio Automobile Company, and quickly began introducing various innovations in its designs that included the modern steering wheel, and the first production 12-cylinder engine.

While Henry Ford was producing vehicles that sold for $440, the Packard's instead concentrated on more upscale cars that started at $2,600. Their automobile developed a following and reputation not only in the U.S., but also abroad. The Packard's built vehicles that were consistently considered the elite in luxury automobiles. The company was commonly referred to as being one of the three 'P's' of American Motor Royalty; along with Pierce-Arrow of Buffalo, NY, Peerless of Cleveland, Ohio. On October 2, 1902, the Ohio Automobile Company became Packard Motor Car Company. The automobile operation soon moved to Detroit. Production was quickly placed ahead of General Motors Cadillac automobiles.

By 1925, Packard was considered the indisputable leader in the field of prestige automobiles. The exclusive Senior Eights were the Packard models that signified a prestige that went back to 1923. It was these models that were so successful through 1929 that the profit that they generated was almost enough to weather the Great Depression, and later finance the development of the 1935 One Twenty.

It was the Junior automobiles that supported the Seniors to World War II and beyond.
The Eight was the premier model, with only one notch below belonging to the much sought after Six, between 1923 and 1928. The lines were once again upgraded in 1928.
With a muscular, yet silky 385 CID power-plant, a new Custom Deluxe Eight was added at the top. At the same time the Six was replaced by the Standard Eight and was named so like the Custom Deluxe through 1932. As the most inexpensive model in the line, the Standard still came with the same quality, and assurance of excellence as the other models in the line, it just happened to be sold at the cost of $4,100, and the equivalent of 10 Model A Fords.

Introduced on August 1, 1928, the Packard Model 645 also fell under the designation of the Custom Eight line, or the Deluxe Eight series on September 8, 1928. Around 2,061 units of the Packard 645 were produced, and were easily identified by the Round-Back Headlamps that replaced the earlier drum-type. These models also came with a larger eight cylinder engine and a temperature gauge on the dash. The horsepower was at an increased 109, with the addition of the bore, L-head, in-line eight, and cast en bloc. Mechanical brakes were placed on all wheels, and the 645 came with 3-speed transmission.

The coachwork was done by Dietrich, and the design is consistently considered both desirable and beautiful. Offered in an astounding 21 body styles, the 8-cylinder was designated the 645 for 1929.

In one model year, an amazing 43,130 Standards were sold, plus another 11,930 Custom/Deluxe and Speedster models. High demands and waiting lists began the 1929 model year, but unfortunately due to the economic crisis, the sales tailed off to approximately 35,000 units for the year. The depression of the 1930's hurt Packard, and by 1934 their production dropped from more 50,000 in 1928 to below 7,000 units per year. As the depth of the Depression intensified, there was a curious delayed reaction for Packard, as they still managed to sell approximately 18,000 units as late as 1931. For 1933-34, the Standard Eight became the Eight, and the Custom/Deluxe series became the Super Eight. Meanwhile, fine car sales along with the rest of the Industry continued to plunge, reaching the horrifying bottom of 7,040 units in 1934.

By Jessica Donaldson
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