Phaeton
Chassis Num: 394365
Sold for $187,000 at 2008 RM Sothebys.
High bid of $115,000 at 2010 RM Sothebys. (did not sell)
Sold for $130,000 at 2011 Worldwide Auctioneers.
Sold for $143,000 at 2011 RM Sothebys.
High bid of $175,000 at 2012 Mecum. (did not sell)
In the post-Great Depression era, the automakers who had survived had done so by utilizing many resources, finding way to attract new customers, generating multi-levels of models that ranged greatly in price, and many other methods. Packard's medium-priced line in the post-Depression era was the One-Twenty and it was introduced in 1935. Sales were strong and interests were high with over 55,000 examples produced providing much needed cash-flow in the weary market. The top of the line Packard was the Twelve, which ranged from $3,820 to $6,435. Sales were modest with around 700 units produced. In the middle were the Eight and Super Eight models. They both had nearly identical body styles with the main differences being found under the bonnet. The Eight cost less and outsold the Super Eight three to one.

In keeping with Packard's naming scheme, the 1936 models were the Fourteenth Series. There were 17 body styles available on three wheelbases. The largest was the Series 1402 which rested on a 139-inch wheelbase which is shared with its Super Eight counterparts. All 1402 Packard's seated either seven or eight passengers, except for the convertible sedan.

Though the 1936 open cars were bodied by the Murray Corporation, they wore a 'Dietrich' emblem in honor of the famous designer, Raymond Dietrich.

For Packard in 1936, the Phaetons were the only true open bodied cars, as they were void of any side windows. This example is a Series 1402 long-wheelbase Phaeton with body style 910. The current owner purchased the car at Hershey in 2004. The prior owner had restored the car over a four year period of time and had it painted in Thistle Green Dark and upholstered in dark green leather. The original owner, a Pennsylvania resident, had owned the car until 1952, when it was sold to a New York resident, and kept in his care until 1999.

The car traveled 57,000 miles prior to the restoration. During the restoration, the odometer was set back to zero. It now reads 178. In 2008 it was brought to the Automobiles of Amelia presented by RM Auctions where it had an estimated value of $175,000-$225,000. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the lot had been sold for $187,000.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
The Packard Motor Company relied on making luxurious cars that were highly refined, fitted with luxurious coachwork, and powered by proven engineering. This belief had placed them among the elite in the auto industry during the early 1900s. As the world entered the Great Depression, the Packard Company was one of the few that managed to survive. In fact, they outsold all of their competitors combined. They had entered the Depression in excellent financial health and they emerged with strong financial footing. But the post depression era had them worried, as the number of potential buyers had dwindled as fortunes were lost. Production had dropped nearly half each year when compared with the previous, from 1929 to 1933. In response to the decline, Packard continued to make improvements each year.

In 1932, Packard introduced their Ninth Series. It featured many improvements which helped segregate it from other automakers in the industry. Improvements included a revised steering geometry which made steering smooth and easy. Braking was equally as easy thanks to the new driver adjustable power assisted braking system. The shifting action and clutch were improved making driving a very enjoyable activity. The drivers workload was eased even further with the spark advance and automatic choke.

By making these changes they attracted a growing segment of buyers and drivers - woman.

The 1933 Packard's were called the Tenth Series cars as the company still refused to adopt the convention of the model year system which called for new cars to be introduced in September or October to coincide with the auto show schedules. The following year, the reluctantly joined with other manufacturers which resulted in a shorted run for the tenth series, lasting just seven months. The new Packard model line was introduced in the fall. Because of the seven month production lifespan of the Tenth Series, very few were produced making them very rare in modern times.

The Tenth Series were given a new X-braced frames, dual coil ignition, and downdraft carburetors. The styling was updated with skirted fenders and a 'V'-shaped radiator shell. The interior featured upgraded trim and a new aircraft inspired dash.

Packard continued to offer three chassis, the Eight, Super Eight, and the Twelve. The Super Eight and Twelve both rested on a wheelbase that measured 142-inches and had a hood that was nearly six-inches longer than the Eight. The fenders were longer as well.

The bodies on the Twelve's and Super Eight were interchangeable, with the Super Eight featuring an eight-cylinder engine while the Twelve featured a twelve cylinder engine. During this time, Packard also produced the Eight, which had a smaller wheelbase size and the eight-cylinder engine. The Super Eight and Twelve differed by interior appointments and engine size. The bodies were constructed of wood and steel.

In 1936 Packard was producing their Fourteenth Series as the number thirteen had been skipped. It is believed that thirteen was not used due to superstitious reasons. The Fourteenth Series was the last year for Bijur lubrication, ride control, a semi-elliptic suspension, mechanical brakes, heavy vibration dampening bumpers and the 384.4 cubic inch straight eight engine. It was also the last year for the option of wire or wood wheels.

In 1936 the fourteenth series received a new radiator which was installed at a five-degree angle. The Super 8 had a new sloped grille with chrome vertical bars which gave the vehicle a unique look and served as thermostatically controlled shutters which opened or closed based on engine heat. The headlight trim, fender styling, and hood vents saw minor changes. A new Delco-Remy ignition system was the new updates for 1936 under the bonnet.

For 1936 there were a total of 1,492 Super Eights constructed.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008

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