Vehicle Profiles

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 c....[continue reading]

Sedan

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 ....[continue reading]

Dual Cowl Phaeton

Chassis Num: 176137

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 m....[continue reading]

Roadster

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 Automo....[continue reading]

Rumble Seat Coupe

Chassis Num: 173884

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....[continue reading]

Roadster

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.....[continue reading]

Roadster

Chassis Num: 167405

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....[continue reading]

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-inc....[continue reading]

Roadster

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. ....[continue reading]

Roadster

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 ....[continue reading]

Roadster

Chassis Num: 168397
Engine Num: 168376

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 t....[continue reading]

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 Cust....[continue reading]

Rumble Seat Coupe
Chassis #: 172986 
Sedan
 
Dual Cowl Phaeton
Chassis #: 176137 
Roadster
 
Rumble Seat Coupe
Chassis #: 173884 
Roadster
 
Roadster
Chassis #: 167405 
Dual Cowl Phaeton
 
Roadster
 
Roadster
 
Roadster
Chassis #: 168397 
Dual Cowl Phaeton
Chassis #: 176349 

History

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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