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1930 Packard 734 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Runabout
Engine Num: 194005
 
By 1930 the 734 Speedster Series was a full line of cars. The specially designed short, narrow, and lower bodies were built in Packard's own new custom body shop located right on the plant site on East Grand Boulevard. These specially built Speedster bodies and the individual customs on the longer chassis were built in this shop; they carry a black and red body plate on the lower right cowl.

The Speedster Series used 745 components in conjunction with its own specially designed bodies. In the engine compartment was a new breed of Packard. Its exhaust manifold was a separate unit mounted at 45-degrees and finned. It had a large vacuum booster and a dual-throat Detroit Lubricator carburetor, along with a special camshaft and valving.

The brake drums were also finned, for cooling, and it had an optional 3.31 or 4.66 gear ratio.

The 734 Speedster was offered as a Boattail, a Phaeton, a Sedan, a Victoria Coupe, and later, as a Roadster. A total of only 150 734 Speedsters, in all body styles, were sold, and the world economy was sinking further into the Great Depression. Packard discontinued the Speedster Series for 1931.

The very first Speedster was a Club Sedan with a custom body executed for Alvan Macauley. It is estimated that there were a total of 39 Speedster Boattails originally built, of which only eleven are known to survive.

This example is body number 442-5 and engine number 194005, and was originally restored by William Dale, in 1867. It was owned for a number of years by the Rick Carroll Collection, in Florida.

Packard made a line of extremely unusual cars - the 734 Speedster was designed to be a factory hot rod, with higher performance, higher top speed, lower weight, and sporting bodies. Production is estimated at only 113 to 118 cars, with only 26 surviving examples in all body styles (Runabout, Phaeton, Victoria, and Sedan). The 384 cubic-inch super eight engine produces 145 horsepower. Cost of the automobile was approximately $5,200.
Runabout
 
Packard produced 113 Speedster Eights with models consisting of boat-tail 2-passenger roadsters, 5-passenger sedans, 4-passenger phaetons, 5-passenger Victoria coupes, and the 2 and 4-passenger roadsters. They were all fitted on 134-inch wheelbase.

This roadster weighs 4,435 pounds and sold new for $5,200. It is powered by an in-line, 384.8 cubic-inch, 8-cylinder engine developing 106 horsepower.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2007
Runabout
 
The Packard 734 was never advertised or promoted by the company. Only a few knew of this option and as a result, only a few were ever created. The cars had high performance characteristics and matching stylish appeal.

In 1929, Colonel Jesse Vincent had a one-off speedster constructed to prove the benefits of a lightweight vehicle mated to a potent powerplant. The result was a car that could exceed 109 mph, which was an astonishing accomplishment at the time. Alvan Macauley, the Packard chief at the time, was impressed, and commissioned the 734 Speedster Series.

This example is a Speedster Runabout with a boat tail rear end. Building in this configuration reduced the overall weight of the vehicle by around 455 pounds. Under the hood, the stock 106 horsepower engine was given a twin throat carburetor, high compression head, and a finned exhaust manifold, among other improvements. The result was an increase from 106 to 145 bhp.

This car was shown at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2007
Runabout
 
Packard was the leading luxury marque at the start of the Classic era and in 1930 sold 28,318 cars, priced from $2,375 to $5,350. Packard was one of the oldest car companies in America, with the first Packard built in 1899. The company began life as the Ohio Automobile Company based in Warren, Ohio. It became the Packard Motor Car Company in 1902 and moved to Detroit in 1903.

Packard 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 would be characteristic of the Classic era.

The Packard 734 Speedster was one of the first cars produced using the muscle car recipe long before the term was born; a lightweight boat-tail body mounted to the company's shortest chassis and fitted with a modified version of its biggest engine. Speedsters were offered to the public in 1929 for $5,000, and again for 1930, in five body styles. The 385 cubic-inch Custom Eight was fitted with a high-compression head, high-lift camshaft, larger exhaust ports, and a dual-throat carburetor, all of which helped bump horsepower from 106 to 145 giving the car an honest 100 mph capability. Speedsters were among the first automobiles to be equipped with a 4-speed transmission.

The Speedster series had five models including the Runabout. The Packard Standard 8 body was made narrower and lower to fit the custom chassis. It rode on a 134.5 inch wheelbase and offered special features such as a ribbed exhaust manifold, dual Detroit Lubricator carburetors increasing horsepower to 145 and a higher ratio 4-speed transmission. It sold for $5,210.

The Speedster was not advertised, and quietly disappeared without fanfare; most Packard dealers weren't even aware of its existence. It is believed that the Packard-built runabout body of this car was installed on a non-Speedster chassis while at Packard New York in 1930. Like the Speedster models, it was equipped with the more powerful 385 cubic-inch Custom Eight engine. Only a few examples including four 1929s and fewer than 20 1930s, in all body styles were built.

This car is one of only eleven Speedsters surviving from 39 produced. It was restored in 1983 after which it participated in the Great American Race from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. It then traveled to Europe where it won awards at concours in France, Italy and German. The current owner of this car purchased it in 2007 and has just completed its restoration.
Runabout
Chassis Num: 186334
Engine Num: 184881
 
Sold for $121,000 at 2007 RM Auctions.
This 1930 Packard 734 Speedster was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook. The car was estimated to fetch between $125,000 - $175,000 and was without a reserve. It spent time in Switzerland during the early 1990s and its engine was given an overhaul in 1994. The Firestone tires are new, being fitted to this vehicle in 2001. It has Pilot Ray driving lights that turn with the wheels. The car has been stored in a humidity-controlled garage and covered with a custom made car cover when away from the garage.

This car has taken part in the Great American Race, Swiss Packard Club meets, and Packard Europe meetings in France, Belgium and Austria. It was awarded a first prize at the Concours d'Elegance at the Riad Basel, Paris in 1998.

The Speedster lines were available with two engine options, a 125 bhp or a 145 bhp unit. The 145 bhp version had a high compression head, finned manifold, larger valves, and a two-barrel carburetor. Top speed was very impressive, achieved at over 100 mph. Finned drum brakes and 19-inch wire wheels were standard and disk wheels could be purchased for an additional fee.

This car is believed to have been built on the chassis of a 1930 Standard Eight car and has a chassis number that denotes a Seventh Series Deluxe or Custom Eight car delivered on June 11th of 1930. It is powered by engine number 184881 that displaced 384.8 cubic-inches and is capable of producing 145 bhp. It has the 3.31:1 rear axle which is suitable for high-speed traveling.

These are highly sought-after vehicles, and bidding was indicative of this fact. The high bid of $121,000 was enough to secure the vehicle a new owner.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2007
Speedster Phaeton
 
For 1930, Packard introduced a line of high performance models that used its largest engine, complete with several unique performance modifications, coupled with a short chassis and lightweight coachwork. The result was a car offering lively performance and incredible driving pleasure. This Phaeton is one of the most rare styles in the Speedster series. It spent most of its life in Hawaii.
Speedster Runabout
 
Packard's 1930-only Speedster series offered five models including this boattail speedster. The platform measured 134.5 inch platform and fitted with special features such as a ribbed exhaust manifold, a dual-throat Detroit Lubricator carburetor that helped boost horsepower to 145, and a higher ratio four-speed transmission. Inside, there were staggered seats for two. This example, a boat-tail speedster had a price tag of $5,210. The current owner of this car has been its caretaker for 25 years.
Speedster Runabout
Chassis Num: 184089
 
Sold for $211,750 at 2005 RM Auctions.
Sold for $187,000 at 2011 RM Auctions.
Sold for $506,000 at 2011 RM Auctions.
The Packard 734 was available in five different body styles with total production reaching 113 examples for all body styles. This boattail runabout speedster was delivered new to a Mrs. Sealey from Portland, Oregon. It was acquired by William Harrah in 1960 and given a complete restoration. In 1986 it was acquired by its current owner.

The car is finished in a period-correct color scheme of Salmon with Chocolate Brown belt moldings, fenders and underside. The interior is finished with Light Brown leather with Burnt Orange carpeting and a tan Haartz cloth top. Additional equipment includes chrome wire wheels wearing sharp blackwall tires, dual side-mounted spare tires, radiator stone guard, wind wings and a 'Daphne at the Well' radiator mascot.

In 2011, the car was offered for sale in Monterey, Ca. presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $600,000 - $800,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $506,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2011
Speedster Phaeton
 
Using what Packard had in current production by modifying the Packard standard Eight chassis and coupling it with a reworked Deluxe Eight engine, the Packard 734 Speedster was born. The custom built bodies were narrower and lower than typical, and with the new engine design, produced a car capable of over 100 miles per hour.

The Sedan Speedster was Packard's most expensive car in 1930, the rarest of all body styles for the year.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2011
Speedster Runabout
 
As near to a sports car to ever bear the Packard name the 7th Series Speedster Runabout was set on a short 134-inch wheelbase and powered by a highly modified 385 cubic-inch straight eight engine allowing the Speedsters to exceed 100 mph. Distinctive staggered seating in the narrow body on the Runabout provided more elbow room for the driver as the car was put through its paces.

This Speedster Runabout was delivered new in Honolulu to S. Northrup Castle of the famous Hawaiian business family, and it remained in the islands until 1957. Since then it has been cared for by a just a few careful custodians. The Speedster Series consisted of the most popular Runabout style seen here, plus a Phaeton, Victoria Coupe, Sedan, and Roadster with rumble seat. It is estimated that no more than 140 cars were built in the Speedster series, which was not continued after 1930.
Speedster Phaeton
Chassis Num: 184065
Engine Num: 184072
 
Sold for $975,000 at 2012 Gooding & Company.
The Packard 734 Series was the brainchild of Colonel Jesse Vincent, Packard's Vice President of Engineering. Introduced during the midst of an escalating horsepower race, the Packard 734 Speedster was the prototypical factory 'hot rod.' They were an evolution of the 626 Speedster and featured a thoroughly re-worked chassis that was designed to offer excellent performance. They had a rigid boxed chassis with a short wheelbase that measured just 134.5-inches. The 734 Speedster rode on 19-inch wheels, had a high-speed rear axle, and were given special finned brake drums with three leading shoe linings. Under the bonnet was a 385 cubic-inch straight eight with nine main bearings, a two-barrel Detroit Lubricator carburetor, hemispherical combustion chambers, and a unique ribbed exhaust manifold.

The 734 Speedster was available in five distinct body styles including a boattail runabout, phaeton, victoria, sedan and roadster. They were built in Packard's own coachworks. Their lightweight coachwork, specialized chassis and high-performance engine gave the 734 Speedster excellent performances, with 60 MPH being achievable in second gear. Top speed was in excess of 100 mph.

This Packard 734 wears a Speedster Phaeton body, of which just 32 examples were built and just five original phaetons are known to survive. It was delivered new to Hubbard Woods Packard of Winnetka, Illinois and sold to its first owner on May 13, 1930. It is believed the car remained in the Chicago area throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

After World War II, the car was acquired by wealthy Chicago banker, D. Cameron Peck. His collection of automobiles reached nearly 1,500 in total - ranging from early French antiques to American classics.

The majority of Mr. Peck's collection was auctioned off in 1952. The 734 Speedster Phaeton was sold to Wally Marsh, a resident of Cleveland, Ohio. At the time, the car was reported to be in 'completely restored to new condition.'

In 1959, the car was purchased by Dr. Charles W. Marsh of Longview, Texas. Less than a year later, it was sold to Patrick Ferchill of Fort Worth, Texas. During the 1960s, Mr. Ferchill enjoyed the car on several classic car tours.

After thirty-five years (in 1996), the car was sold to its next (and current) owner. At the time, the car was in well-preserved, largel origianl condition. Finished in black with red trim adn equipped with plain disc wheels, the 734 Speedster Phaeton was both complete and correct. It even wore a CCCA CARavan plate from the Texas Tour of June 1965.

The car was treated to a ground up restoration and finished in two-tone gray color scheme with dark blue leather upholstery. It has a polished radiator stone guard and a Goddess of Speed mascot.

The car made its restoration debut at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where it earned Second in Class. It then went on to win First in Class at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance and First Prize in CCCA competition, achieving a perfect 100-point score.

In 2012, the car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, California. It was estimated to sell for $975,000 - $1,300,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $975,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2012
It is believed that just under 120 examples of the Packard 734 were constructed with as many as 26 surviving in modern times. The Packard 734 was constructed by the company to be a high performance vehicle with stylish bodies, low weight, and high top speeds. Inside of these small vehicles (small for the day) was Packard's largest engine, a 384 cubic-inch super eight with Detroit Lubricator 2 barrel updraft carburetors. There was a vacuum driven booster to keep fuel regulated to the engine while the vehicle was traveling at high speeds.

The bodies of these vehicles were much narrower than the other production Packards. This practice aided in the reduction of overall weight and helped the vehicle to achieve a 3.31:1 gear ratio. To help keep the vehicle in the driver's control, finned cast iron drum brakes were used. Standard Packards were un-finned.

The side mounted spare tires were placed in front of the passenger compartment.

Famous coachbuilders were given the opportunity to create custom bodies to suite the clients specific needs and desires.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
Speedster Runabout
Chassis Num: 184012
Engine Num: 184015
Vin Num: Vehicle #: 184029
 
Sold for $165,000 at 2014 RM Auctions.
Packard introduced the 734 Speedster series in January of 1930, a full five months after the public introduction of Packard's Seventh Series models on August 20th of 1929. This series was the work of Colonel Jesse Vincent who had a special speedster built to demonstrate the potential of a lightweight Packard. Vincent's prototype was driven by famed aviator Charles Lindbergh at Packard's proving grounds, easily exceeding 109 mph. Packard chief Alvan Macauley was impressed with the prototype and the 734 Speedster series was born for 1930.

The lightened boattail body had its overall weight reduced by 455 pounds. The engine was given twin-throat carburetion, a finned exhaust manifold, and other updates, raised the eight-cylinder engine's basic output to 125 brake horsepower. With the optional high-compression (8.0:1) cylinder head, the engine produced upwards of 145 horsepower.

The Packard 734 Speedster, for some reason, was not advertised and little promotion was ever done, the sole exception of a single eight-page, black-and-white brochure. As a result, just 113 examples were ever built.

This 1930 Packard Speedster Runabout is an authentic, accurately constructed example that is faithful to the original coachwork. It is finished in blue with a light blue beltline rib, a beige top, and dark blue upholstery and carpeting.

A restoration was completed in the 1980s, which resulted in AACA National First Prize Award honors in 1988.

Period accessories include a radiator stone guard, dual driving lamps, dual side-mounted spares with canvas covers, side-view mirrors, chrome wire wheels, and whitewall tires.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2014
Speedster Runabout
 
Between June 6th and July 9th of 1995, this 1930 Packard Model 734 boat-tail speedster was driven 9,638 miles through all 48 contiguous states. The car is powered by a 385 cubic-inch, straight 8 engine offering 145 horsepower. It has a wheelbase that measures 134 inches and it has a fuel economy rating of 12.6 mpg. The total mileage on this car is over 300,000.
Runabout
 
This 1930 Packard Speedster Boattail Runabout was once part of the famous Harrah Collection and is one of a very few of this body style known to exist. It is believed that this model was produced in response to the Cadillac Sixteens.

Packard's Vice-President of Engineering and father of the Twin Six, Colonel Jesse Vincent, convinced the company management that Packard needed to enhance its image by squeezing more horsepower out of the existing eight-cylinder engine and putting it in a variety of sporty body styles.

The 384 cubic-inch displacement engine produced 145 horsepower, a good number for that time. It sported a dual-throat carburetor, high-compression cylinder head and four-speed transmission. The suspension featured semi-elliptic leaf springs; the car had four-wheel mechanical brakes with finned drums for better cooling.

The Series 734 Speedster was offered in a variety of bodies built at the factory on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. They were essentially factory super cars with lower weight, more horsepower, better top speed and sporting bodies.

Total production for 1930 and 1931 was less than 120 cars and only 26 are known to survive. Original cost was over $5,000 depending on the body chosen.
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