1932 Packard Model 904 DeLuxe Eight news, pictures, specifications, and information
Packard entered The Great Depression head on, offering even more luxurious and expensive cars than they had done prior to the close of 1929. In 1932, they introduced their Twin Six which kept this name for a year before becoming the Packard Twelve. The Packard Twelve was their flagship vehicle. Its twelve cylinder engine was powerful and capable of gracefully carrying the elegant coachwork which carried the passengers. To appeal to the segment below this, Packard offered a medium-priced car called the Light Eight. It was produced for only one year, 1932. The selling price ranged from $1795 to $1940. Power was from the L-head, inline-eight, iron block, aluminum crankcase, rated at 319 cubic-inches, generating 110 horsepower. The car sat atop a 195 inch wheelbase.
In comparison to other marque's at this time, Packard had a strong cash position. Large companies such as Cadillac were able to pass through this rough time in history with the support of the GM brand. Lincoln had the luxury on relying on the Ford brand. Other companies in Packard's position, such as Ruxton, Marmon, Franklin, Pierce-Arrow, Duesenberg and Stutz were not as lucky, and were forced to cease production by 1938.
Packard kept its costs down by offering a single production line with inter-changeability between these models. Instead of introducing new models ever year, they persisted for many years. Another tactic was offering low-cost vehicles. Their Packard 120, introduced in 1935, was the companies first vehicle to be offered for sale for less than one-thousand dollars.
Packard's eight-cylinder, 320 cubic-inch engine produced 120 horsepower. Standard features on the Eight Series included automatic Bijur chassis lubrication system, fender lamps, dual trumpet horns mounted under the headlights, and a fully synchromesh three-speed quick shift transmission. Available options included: front and/or rear bumpers, Dual sidemount spare tires, sidemount covers, clock and cigar lighter.
This 1932 Packard 904 Convertible Victoria has coachwork by Dietrich. It sits atop a 148-inch wheelbase and has a 'V'-shaped windshield. There are two doors, a rear storage trunk, and a covered, side-mounted spare tire.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016
With custom designed coachwork by Dietrich Incorporated of Detroit, Michigan, this Packard is considered one of the most stylish automobiles of the Classic Era and is particularly noted for its rakish chrome framed windshield design. This Packard is on a 147-inch wheelbase, has a weight of approximately 5000 lbs and cost a notable $5,900 fob Detroit. 'Ask the Man Who Owns One.'
This automobile is powered by Packard's 384.8 cubic-inch straight-eight and develops 135 horsepower.
This is one of two Stationary Coupes known to survive and has been owned by its current owner for forty years.
Henry Leland founded the Cadillac Motor Car Company in 1903 from the remains of Henry Ford's second failed attempt to start an auto company. In 1917, Leland found the Lincoln Motor Company and built a high caliber automobile that was very well-built, but rather lack-luster in its design. When the Ford Motor Company acquired the company in 1922, Edsel Ford (Henry's Son) used his talents to transform the design into beautiful, luxurious cars.
Many consider 1932 as the ultimate year for the design of custom bodied prestige automobiles. With a variety of companies throughout the world in the custom body business in the 20's, only a few established themselves as the cream of the crop. Dietrich was certainly one of them.
Dietrich, Inc. was an American coachbuilder founded in 1925 by Raymond H. Dietrich, who was also the co-founder of LeBaron Incorporated in New York. He was known to be a close friend to Edsel Ford, who introduced him to Fred Murray, owner of the Murray Body Corporation. Ford was able to convince him to partly finance Dietrich to start his own body company. Murray had hoped for an in-house source for designing and building custom bodies for luxury cars. It is said that Dietrich himself held 50% of the stock.
Dietrich, Inc. did styling work for standard bodies for Packard, Franklin, and Erskine. Dietrich, Inc. also built custom bodies to single orders, and proposed semi-customs for Lincoln, which was then headed by Edsel Ford.
By September 1930, Dietrich was out of his company and Dietrich, Inc. was closed in 1936. In 1932, Raymond Dietrich became the first head of design of Chrysler (until 1938).
This 1932 Lincoln KB Coupe wears a custom coachwork body by Raymond Dietrich of Detroit. It is a rare automobile and one of just 17 examples produced at a factory price of $5,150. The current owner's grandfather, a Lincoln dealer in Kalamazoo, Michigan, ordered the car new in the 1930s. It was rescued from a junkyard in 1951 and treated to a restoration by the current owner in 2001.
For 1932, Lincoln offered two distinct automobiles. The KA was powered by the venerable Lincoln V-8 on a 136-inch wheelbase chassis and the KB was powered by the new Lincoln V-12 on the 145-inch wheelbase chassis. The new 447 cubic inch V-12 produced 150 horsepower.
Custom coachwork was available on the KB chassis only and one of the most beautiful bodies designed for that chassis in 1932 was the coupe by Dietrich & Company of Detroit.
This Lincoln was rescued from a Michigan junkyard in 1951 and received a complete restoration between 1999 and 2001.
This rarely seen Packard Dietrich body style combined roadster style with a convertible coupe for all-season comfort. The body is mounted on the venerable Packard Eight De Luxe chassis, powered by Packard's 385 cubic-inch straight-eight engine, a proven powerplant offered from 1923 through 1936. This is the only example of a vee-windshield Dietrich Packard with opening windscreens.
This Dietrich-bodied Packard is one of only four 90 Deluxe Eight Dietrich Convertible Victoria models produced in 1932. For the past 50 years, it has resided in some of the finest car collections ever assembled.
The car is powered by a 385 cubic-inch L-Head, inline, eight-cylinder engine, fitted with a single updraft carburetor. The 135 horsepower engine is coupled to a three-speed, synchromesh gearbox. The car is fitted with a high-ratio axle that allows for more relaxed high-speed cruising. Stopping is performed by four-wheel, vacuum-assisted, drum brakes. This car was restored more than 20 years ago, but remains in excellent condition.
Sold for $1,100,000 at 2006 Gooding & Company
Sold for $946,000 at 2011 RM Auctions
Sold for $1,045,000 at 2015 RM Auctions
In Warren, Ohio, the Packard Motor Car Company would be formed by James Packard, his brother William and a partner George Lewis Weiss. The company had started as the result of a challenge. And like everything in life, timing was everything.
Apparently Packard wasn't too thrilled with the Winton he had just purchased. He had written a letter complaining about certain aspects of the car, which would earn a sharp reply challenging Packard to try and build a better car. And so he would take up the challenge and do so.
Initially called the Ohio Automobile Company, Packard began producing cars that were better than the Winton. Very quickly the name became synonymous with quality and innovation. Some of those innovations included such items taken for granted today. They included the modern steering wheel and the first production 12-cylinder engine.
Packard's penchant for quality would lead the company to focus on designing and building cars not for the common man, but for only those that could truly afford such comforts. This quality would end up catching the eye of one of Detroit's wealthiest families. Henry Bourne Joy would purchase a Packard and would rave about its reliability and appointments. He would end up putting together a group to finance the company, at which time it would move to Detroit.
Backed by such an infusion of capital, the company could really afford to begin designing and producing some truly luxurious cars. Very quickly, Packard would form the third-'P' in American automotive royalty. Though considered right alongside Pierce-Arrow and Peerless, Packard would end up the number one designer and producer of luxury automobiles. Such a position at the top of the luxury car list was the result of the guiding and leading of General Manager Alvan Macauley.
America was booming during even up into 1928. The country was doing well, its people were doing well, and Packard was doing even better. Riding the boom, Packard would enjoy a gross income of almost $22,000,000 in 1928. Such wealth and profit enabled Macauley to run things on his own time table. By the time the company had introduced its fourth series, Packard, and Macauley, were doing things almost as they pleased. But they would soon realize that the free days were quickly passing into history.
The stock market crash would cause Packard, not to change direction, but try and fight its way out of it. The company would make some designs that were even more incredible than what people had come to know and appreciate them for. Of course the company had more money on hand than some of its other luxury manufacturer competitors. The idea at Packard was to mask the pain, or, as the title of the song would say, 'Put on a happy face'. Packard would put on an opulent face and would try and ignore the hemorrhaging happening. Some would go with the company and would purchase their new eight series.
But as the years rolled into the 1930s decade, the stock market crash would turn into an all-out depression. Much of America was out of work. Many of Packard's competitors had already closed its manufacturing facilities. And yet, Macauley continued to lead the company down the road of elegance and luxury. Unfortunately, by the time Macauley would introduce the ninth series, even those that had more than enough money were having a hard time parting with it. On top of it all, Packard's great reputation for quality was also hurting sales. Since people didn't want to part with their ever-evaporating money they would cling to what they had. If people already had a Packard they would not need another car as it would carry on with little incident time after time.
Never wanting to give up, Packard would forge ahead, but would end up making some necessary changes in order to survive. Many facilities would be consolidated. Other facilities would be abandoned altogether. One important relationship would remain; that with the coachbuilder Dietrich, Inc.
Macauley would provide the new ninth series with a variety of engines, wheelbases and coach designs. Everyone of these models would have the usual Packard quality that would provide a quiet ride and very elaborate appointments. However, none of these various offerings would match the quality of design and elegance of its Individual Custom.
Although Ray Dietrich had left his own company in the early 1930s, his services would be retained by Packard. Dietrich's personal touch in coach-building may have been a slow process but would end up being an absolute masterpiece when finished.
One of those Dietrich designed masterpieces would arrive in Monterey, California for the RM Auctions in August of 2011. Chassis number 193514 could only be described as rare and exotic. The 1932 Packard 904 Individual Custom Dietrich Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton that would go up for sale would be one of only two known Dietrich body-styles to have ever been placed on a 904 frame. And it is believed to be just one of only twelve Dietrich Sport Phaetons to have ever been built between 1932 and 1933.
The car sit idle for years in a hangar until it was purchased by Mr. Otis Chandler. The car had some damage to it but was still in its original condition. The intended restoration would never be finished and ownership of the car would shift to Ralph Englestad of the Imperial Palace. A restoration of the car would begin immediately. At the end of the restoration, the resulting product would be a striking Packard 904.
Its interior would be finished with Dark Blue leather upholstery and Light Grey carpeting. Its outer finish would be a striking Dark Blue with a Tan cloth top. The chrome wire wheels, headlights, bumper and grille would sparkle like diamonds against the Dark Blue finish of the car. Every aspect of the car would whisper prosperity. Of course to the common man the only word that would be coming to mind seeing such a car would be the word 'poverty'.
Sporting a strong 120 bhp 385 cu. in. 8-cylinder engine, the 904 Individual Custom would offer its passengers nothing but comfort and pleasure resting on the thick Dark Blue leather seats. Nothing was overlooked in a Packard; no opportunity lost. And in this 904, even small wood trim around the instruments and sides only help to set the mood. But this Phaeton also comes with a surprise. The rear window has two arched side windows that can either be easily attached to its sides, or, the whole thing can be easily stored in such a way that it is all hidden from view.
After completing of the restoration, the beautiful Dietrich Sport Phaeton would end up being purchased by General Lyon in 1998 and would become part of the incredible Lyon display. As part of the incredible Lyon Collection, this 1932 Packard 904 Individual Custom would fittingly represent the quintessential quality, taste and delight of a luxurious Packard that so many had come to expect and enjoy. Offered for sale after a dozen years with the Lyon Collection, the car was expected to receive anywhere from $1,000,000 to $1,400,000 at auction. At auction, the lot was sold for the sum of $946,000, including buyer's premium.Sources:
'Featured Lots: Lot No. 233: 1932 Packard 904 Individual Custom Dietrich Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton', (http://www.rmauctions.com/featurecars.cfm?SaleCode=MO11&CarID=r243&fc=0#). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/featurecars.cfm?SaleCode=MO11&CarID=r243&fc=0#. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Packard', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 August 2011, 09:10 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Packard&oldid=444773748 accessed 17 August 2011
Vaughan, Daniel. '1932 Packard Model 904 DeLuxe Eight new, pictures and information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z12076/Packard-Model-904-DeLuxe-Eight.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z12076/Packard-Model-904-DeLuxe-Eight.aspx. Retrieved 17 August 2011.By Jeremy McMullen
This is one of two 1932 Stationary Coupes by Dietrich known to survive, and it has been in the possession of its current owner for forty years. The Model 904 was offered in five custom bodies including a Convertible Coupe, Sport Phaeton, Convertible Sedan, Convertible Victoria and this Stationary Coupe. At the time, Dietrich was a division of Packard, so these were, in effect, coachbuilt factory designs. This Stationary Coupe is considered as one of the most stylish automobiles of the Classic Era and is particularly noted for its rakish chrome-framed windshield design. Packard's famous sales pitch was 'Ask the Man Who Owns One.'
In 1932 the Packard Standard eight engine was updated with a redesigned manifold and fan. The compression ratio was increased to 6.0:1 and now produced 100 horsepower. A redesigned air cleanser improved both noise and vibration, and the fitting of new rubber engine mounts was accomplished by the driveshaft being jointed and rubber mounted. Both the components and the lengthened chassis were redesigned.
Created out of economic necessity, the Packard Light Eight was introduced in early 1932 and was the first newly designed Packard since 1923. It was also the first medium-priced Packard that was intended to sell in higher volume to help consumers in the luxury market ride out the Depression. Built with the same meticulous care as any Packard, the Light Eight sold for $500-$850 less than the Standard Eight.
Unfortunately though, despite its 'Light' name, the Light Eight used the same 320-cubic-inch engine that was in the Standard Eight, though it rode the shortest wheelbase, 127.5 inches. The Light Eight was sold in coupe roadster and sedan, four-door sedan, and rumble seat coupe.
All new Packard models for the 1949 model year featured a 'flow through fender'. The Packard station wagon was considered by many to be one of the most stylish wagons of the time period. For 1949 the Packard Standard Eight featured a fold down rear seat that made the vehicle quickly transform the station wagon from a functional utility vehicle into a passenger car.
The Packard Straight Eight was equipped with a three-speed manual transmission and was capable of producing 135 horsepower. Both the driver and the passengers enjoyed the bump-free smooth ride in the Standard Eight.
Between 1948 and 1950 only 3,865 Packard Station Sedans were ever produced. Today this vehicle is an extremely collectible piece of the Packard Motor Car Company legacy.
The 1950 Packard Standard Eight featured avante-garde styling along with strong, sturdy vertical wooden slats on the doors. The ‘woodie wagon' was formed by taking a six passenger sedan from the assembly line, then changing the roofline and trunk lid. Briggs Manufacturing Company transformed the once sedan into a complete station wagon. The Packard Standard Eight featured 288 cubic inch straight eight.By Jessica Donaldson
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