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 Packard 1601 Eight photo

1938 Packard 1601 Eight

Packard weathered the Great Depression by introducing a medium-priced automobile called the One Twenty in 1935, powered by an eight-cylinder engine and priced lower than its 'senior' twelve-cylinder line. Nearly 25,000 examples of the One Twenty were sold in 1935 compared to fewer than 7,000 of all the other Packard models that year. The One Twenty offered similar styling, craftsmanship, and sophistication but with a smaller engine and a smaller wheelbase platform. It had an independent coil-spring front suspension, X-braced chassis frame, and hydraulic brakes, features that were not adopted on the larger cars for several years. The eight-cylinder engine was backed by a synchromesh transmission.

For 1938, the Packard One Twenty became the Eight, introduced in September of 1937. It rode on a wheelbase that measured 127-inches, the same as the Packard 'Six,' first introduced in 1937. The success of the lower-priced One Twenty inspired Packard to return to six-cylinder power, something they had not used since the Fifth Series in 1927. The six-cylinder engine gained a larger displacement for 1938, now measuring 245 cubic-inches resulting in greater torque, however, horsepower remained mostly unchanged. The wheelbase increased to 122 inches and carried all-new, all-steel bodies.

The Packard One Twenty employed a 256 cubic-inch, L-head Straight Eight engine with 110 horsepower for 1935, gaining an increase in stroke to 4.5-inches in 1936, resulting in a 282 cubic-inch displacement and 120 horsepower at 3,800 RPM. It had mechanical valve lifters, a Stromberg carburetor, and five main bearings. It remained in this configuration for the 1938 Packard Sixteenth Series Eight, albeit with a 6.6:1 compression or optional 7.05:1 compression.

The Packard One Twenty was named for its 120-inch wheelbase, while the Packard Eight rested on a 127-inch wheelbase for the 1601 and 148-inches for the 1602. Prices on the lower Six ranged from $975 through $1135 and only five body styles were offered compared to eight in its inaugural year of production. The Eight also lost body styles including the station wagon but gained three new custom bodies from Rollston. Among them was the all-weather panel brougham, a unique interpretation of the town car tailored for chauffeur use on day trips within the city. It was the most expensive of the very few custom body styles offered in 1938 on the new Eight, priced at $5,100. The All-Weather Town Car by Rollston listed for $4,885 and the All-Weather Cabriolet was priced at $4,810. Prices on the 1938 Packard Eight ranged from $1,225 to $5,100. Most of the factory prices were in the $1225 to $1,955 range.

The four-door Touring Sedan, priced at $1,325 could be purchased as a Deluxe Touring Sedan, adding just over $200 to the price. The Touring Sedan was listed with the 'DeLuxe' option, but any bodystyle could be configured as a 'Deluxe'.

Packard's 1938 models included the 'junior' Six, the eight-cylinder One-Twenty that was now simply 'Eight', the upmarket Super Eight, and the range-topping Twelve. Stylistically, all Sixteenth Series Packard models continued to feature a modern streamlined design theme with 30-degree raked radiator grilles and elegant proportions. The interior housed comprehensive instrumentation, a 'banjo' steering wheel, and roomy and comfortable accommodations.

The options list included a gearshift ball, radiator emblem, electric clock, DeLuxe steering wheel, Custom radio, heater, and chrome wheel discs. In 1939, the eight-cylinder Junior Packard name returned back to the One Twenty.

Packard produced 22,624 examples of the 1938 Packard Eight accounting for approximately forty-one percent of Packards overall production. 30,050 were Packard Six models, 2,478 were the Super Eight, and 566 were the Packard Twelve.


by Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2011

Related Reading : Packard One-Twenty History

The Packard One-Twenty was produced from 1935 through 1937 and again from 1939 through 1941. The One-Twenty signified Packards move into the mid-priced eight-cylinder market a highly competitive segment that was filled with many marques with numerous offerings, options, and price ranges. The move had been made due to financial reasons and the need to stay competitive the Great Depression was taking....
Continue Reading >>

1938 Vehicle Profiles

1938 Packard 1601 Eight vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Darrin

Chassis Num: A309389
Engine Num: C325338D

The Sixteenth Series Packard models were introduced in September of 1937. Most of the changes were cosmetic, including more rounded fenders and 'vee'd' windshields on many of the bodies. Sales for 1938 reached 48,682 units, which was less than the pr....[continue reading]

1938 Packard 1601 Eight vehicle information

Cabriolet
Designer: Graber

Swiss coachbuilder Graber bodied this American Packard 120 chassis. The car was originally sold and titled in Switzerland and it was evidently used very rarely. Road conditions and tax considerations led to the frequent use of Packard's shorter chass....[continue reading]

1938 Packard 1601 Eight vehicle information

All-Weather Panel Brougham
Coachwork: Rollston & Company

Engine Num: 310934

Packard retained the struggling Rollston Company in 1936 to create a full line of custom-bodied cars. The following year, Rollston introduced an all-weather panel brougham (similar to a town car that was chauffeur driven and intended for use on day t....[continue reading]

1938 Packard 1601 Eight vehicle information

Convertible Sedan

Engine Num: D303801A

This Packard Series 1601 wears a four-door convertible sedan body finished in Packard Cream with a red interior and tan cloth top. It has a wood-grained dashboard, plastic steering wheel, and 30,353 miles on the odometer. It is well-accessorized, inc....[continue reading]

1938 Packard 1601 Eight vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

For 1938 the Packard One Twenty was briefly renamed as the Series Eight. New this year was all-steel construction in the body which made the cars somewhat heavier than the 1937 models. ....[continue reading]

Convertible Victoria by Darrin
Chassis #: A309389 
Cabriolet
 
All-Weather Panel Brougham by Rollston & Company
 
Convertible Sedan
 
Convertible Coupe
 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1938 1601 Eight
$1,650-$9,500
1938 Packard 1601 Eight Price Range: $1,225 - $1,650

Other 1938 Packard Models

Eight

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
22,624
127.00 in.
8 cyl., 282.00 CID., 120.00hp
$1,225 - $1,650

Industry 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)61,027
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)31,956
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)4,800

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