1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180

Packard's Model 180 became the company's top-of-the-line model in 1939 with the demise of the Twelve. The junior cars had helped the company weather the difficult economical conditions of the great depression and essentially saved the company from extinction, while the senior cars (including the 180) continued to set the standard for luxury, refinement, and exclusivity. Although the 160 and 180 had similar specifications, the 180 was reserved for Packard's top-of-the-line semi-customs and customs.

Both the 160 and the 180 were powered by an L-head, 356 cubic-inch eight-cylinder unit with nine main bearings, hydraulic valve lifters, aluminum pistons, and a cast-iron block. It produced 160 horsepower at 3200 RPM and was backed by a three-speed selective synchromesh transmission with column-mounted gearshift controls, and a single plate clutch. They had four-wheel hydraulic brakes, a coil spring independent front-wheel suspension, and a live rear axle with longitudinal semi-elliptic leaf springs. Both the One-Sixty and the Custom Super-8 One-Eight (1806, 1807, and 1808) shared the same wheelbase lengths of 127-, 138-, and 148-inches.

The differences between the 160 and 180 models were in the level of luxury, trim, refinement, and appointments. The 180 also carried the custom cars including the Rollson offerings which were updated versions of the bodies previously applied to the Twelve. The Darrin bodies were all new and were heavily promoted under the company's 'Glamour Car of the Year!' advertisement.

Howard 'Dutch' Darrin was born to modest means and blessed with a talent for design, balance, and style. Early in his career, he worked at the family company, Automatic Switch Company in New Jersey, designing electrical switching systems, including the first pushbutton elevator switch used by Otis Elevator. This experience would later prove helpful with the mechanical complexities of coachwork, including folding top mechanisms, relocating the steering column and wheel for lower cowl and hood lines, and his sliding door systems.

LeBaron sent 'Dutch' Darrin to Paris in 1922 as their representative where his charm, naturally ebullient personality, and talents blended well with the 'Jazz Age' climate. Within a short period of time, he had joined with LeBaron colleague Tom Hibbard to form Hibbard & Darrin. Together, they created designs and stylish bodies for many of Europe's most prominent and prestigious carmakers. In 1927, General Motors licensed a Hibbard & Darrin hood and fender treatment for Cadillac, paying $25,000 plus $1,000/month for the privilege. The partnership ended in 1931 when Hibbard accepted a position in General Motors' design department and returned to the United States. Darrin remained in France and formed a new company with a French banker named Fernandez - the company was called Fernandez and Darrin.

In 1937, Darrin returned to the United States and established Darrin of Paris on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood. Although he was born in New Jersey, his designs were influenced by his time spent in Paris, and he was able to convince prospective customers he was a Frenchman. His reputation, vivant personality, and his coachwork designs brought the operation success. The designs were an innovative compromise between sporting and formal coachwork, coupled with complicated and unique mechanical components.

Actor Dick Powell commissioned a disappearing top Victoria on a Packard One Twenty chassis in 1937. It has a disappearing top, cut-down doors, and an open body with seating for four. This was soon followed by three 1938 Packard One Eighty Victorias. Earle C. Anthony brought the designs to Packard President Alvan Macauley's attention, earning the Packard Darrins a place in the Packard catalog in 1940, in both 2- and 4-door form. The design proved so popular that Packard agreed to market the cars, later setting up production in the former Auburn-Cord body facilities at Connersville, Indiana, and later at the Sayers & Scovill's facility near Cincinnati, Ohio. Packard's construction of the 'Hollywood Darrins' brought an improvement in quality and construction, and they continued to be offered in small, exclusive numbers through the end of pre-war Packard production in 1942.

The 'Hollywood Darrins' were often owned by such A-list musicians and actors as Clark Gable, Gene Krupa, and Preston Foster.


by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2020

Related Reading : Packard 180 History

The Packard One Eighty was first introduced in 1940 and was Packards new top-of-the-line vehicle. It served as a replacement for the companys V12 powered vehicle. The Packard 180 was given an eight-cylinder 356 cubic-inch engine that produced an astonishing 160 horsepower. Packard proudly claimed that it was the most powerful eight-cylinder engine on the market. Though most of the other series,....
Continue Reading >>

1940 Vehicle Profiles

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Darrin

Chassis Num: 1807-2015
Engine Num: C500740

Packard introduced the Eight in 1924 and was the first Packard to employ four-wheel brakes. The side-valve straight eight engine developed 85 horsepower. The model line-up initially comprised ten models on two wheelbase lengths. A few years later, in....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Club Sedan

The Super 8 180 was Packard's most senior automobile. The 180 Series offered standard with dual sidemounts and a trunk rack. 1940 was also Packard's first year for the column shift transmission and the last year for the independent free standing head....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Sport Sedan
Coachwork: Darrin

Of the catalogued custom body offerings from Packard in 1940 none is rarer than this Darrin Sport Sedan. One of just two produced, and thought to be the only survivor, it is a rare closed creation from designer Howard 'Dutch' Darrin, who was better k....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

Chassis Num: 18062025

Packard entered the 1940s firmly ensconced at the top of Detroit's luxury car market. It also saw the looming demands of war-related production coming and rationalized its line with the elimination of the complex and expensive Twelve. It was replaced....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

'Glamour Car of the Year' was Packard's advertising line for the all-new 1940 One-Eighty convertible victoria by Darrin.....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Darrin

Chassis Num: C507382F

There were Packards, and then there were Darrin Packards. Howard 'Dutch' Darrin had been doing custom coachwork on Packards since the early 1920's, but his real 'star' came when he set up shop in Hollywood, customizing Packard coupes into dazzling C....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

'Glamour Car of the Year' was Packard's advertising line for the all-new 1940 One-Eighty convertible victoria by Darrin.....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Sport Sedan
Coachwork: Darrin

Building on the success of his customized Packard Convertible Victorias, Howard 'Dutch' Darrin began designing a Sport Sedan based on the 1940 Packard 180 four-door chassis. The translate of the custom Darrin features to the completed four-door car w....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Club Sedan

With the demise of Packard's 12-cylinder engine at the end of 1939, the Super Eight line with its newly revamped straight-eight engine remained the only Senior series on the books for 1940. To keep up its inventory of styles, Packard management dicta....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Formal Sedan

While the 1939 Packard was the last of the evolution for the company's multi-cylinder cars, the 1940 offerings marked the company's continuing commitment to quality and excellence. While many of the custom bodied Packards were the top of the line, Pa....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

The Classic Car Club of America recognizes fine and unusual motor cars built between 1925 and 1948 as Full Classics. They are distinguished by fine design, high engineering standards, and superior workmanship. The Classic era epitomizes the transitio....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

The Packard Darrin was a blending of all the glory that was Packard in the Classic Era with all the chutzpa that was the stock in trade of Howard 'Dutch' Darrin - glamour with lots of pizzazz. Without Darrin's insistence, the car likely would never h....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

This 1940 Packard 180 Convertible Victoria by Darrin is number eleven of thirty produced, and was purchased by Hollywood actor Chester Morris. All Packard Darrins after serial number 14 were built in the old Auburn plant in Connersville, Indiana. A....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Parisienne Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

Chassis Num: 18062007

This one-off Packard Seanca Parisienne offered half of a hardtop on what would normally have been a Convertible Victoria body style in the 1940 Packard Custom Series designed by Darrin. The result surely has to be one of the most elegant Packards of ....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Touring Sedan

This was the first year for the Packard 180 series, which replaced the V12 as the top-of-the-line model. Packard had offered 12-cylinder engines intermittently from 1916 through 1939.....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

The Packard 180 was introduced for the 1940 model year by the Packard Motor Car Company to replace the discontinued Packard Twin Six as their top-of-the-line luxury model. The car was derived from the Packard Super Eight One-Sixty with which it share....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Darrin

This Packard 180 Convertible Sedan was originally owned by Mrs. Welch of the Welch's Grape Juice Company. Her initials were hand painted on the rear doors in a sterling monogram. It was delivered in the Washington D.C. area, where it remained for man....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Derham

The Packard 180 was first introduced in 1940 and with the demise of Packard's Twelve in 1939, the 180 now took pride of place as the company's top-line car for 1940. It served as a replacement for the company's V12 powered vehicle. The Packard 180 wa....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

The Packard Super Eight was the larger of the two 8-cylinder models produced in 1940, and its 356 cubic-inch, straight-8 engine benefitted from an overdrive gearbox that made the cars perfect for high speed touring. The Custom Super Eight 180 can be ....[continue reading]

1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

Engine Num: CC501951B

This 1940 Packard Custom Super Eight One Eighty Convertible Victoria by Darrin was originally sold in Columbus, Ohio on May 9th of 1940. It was acquired in January of 1960 by John Kinkead of St. Paul, Minnesota who maintained the car for over a quart....[continue reading]

Convertible Sedan by Darrin
Chassis #: 1807-2015 
Club Sedan
 
Sport Sedan by Darrin
 
Convertible Victoria by Darrin
Chassis #: 18062025 
Convertible Victoria by Darrin
 
Convertible Sedan by Darrin
Chassis #: C507382F 
Convertible Victoria by Darrin
 
Sport Sedan by Darrin
 
Club Sedan
 
Formal Sedan
 
Convertible Victoria by Darrin
 
Convertible Victoria by Darrin
 
Convertible Victoria by Darrin
 
Parisienne Victoria by Darrin
Chassis #: 18062007 
Touring Sedan
 
Convertible Victoria by Darrin
 
Convertible Sedan by Darrin
 
Convertible Sedan by Derham
 
Convertible Victoria by Darrin
 
Convertible Victoria by Darrin
 


Concepts by Packard

Similarly Sized Vehicles
from 1940



Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$399-$6,300
1940 Custom Super 8 180
1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180 Price Range: $2,240 - $6,300

$900 - $1,240
$1,000 - $3,800

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Packard
1942Chevrolet (254,885)Ford (160,432)Plymouth (152,427)33,776
1941Chevrolet (1,008,976)Ford (691,455)Plymouth (522,080)
1940Chevrolet (764,616)Ford (541,896)Plymouth (430,208)
1939Chevrolet (577,278)Ford (487,031)Plymouth (423,850)24,350
1938Chevrolet (465,158)Ford (410,263)Plymouth (285,704)55,718
1937Ford (942,005)Chevrolet (815,375)Plymouth (566,128)122,593
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)788

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