1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster SOLD

RM Vintage Motorcars in Arizona - Biltmore Resort & Spa, Friday January 19, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $165,000 - $200,000

$154,000 Sold

109bhp, 385 cu. in. nine main bearing side valve, inline eight-cylinder engine with three-speed transmission, shaft drive, leaf spring and solid axle front suspension and leaf spring and live hypoid rear axle rear suspension and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 140"

With the Packard name long retired, it is difficult today to remember the degree to which the Packard dominated the fine car segment. Throughout most of the classic era, Packards outsold all its competitors – including Lincoln, Cadillac, and Pierce-Arrow – combined.

Nonetheless, the market was changing in the late twenties. Although Packard ’ s 1928 production totaled an all time record 49,698 cars, the vast majority, more than 41,000 cars, were the less expensive six-cylinder cars.

This was not a reflection of economic weakness; rather, it represented the result of offering a more affordable Packard to an increasingly affluent marketplace that was enjoying an unprecedented boom. The old money, however, remained faithful to Packard ’ s top of the line Deluxe Eight.

1929 remains, even today, infamous as the year the stock market collapsed. Ironically, despite the crash it was a banner year for the economy; the negative economic side effects wouldn ’ t be felt for a few years to come. It was this delayed reaction that ensured car manufacturers, particularly in the luxury sector, would continue to concentrate on strengthening their product offering to the upper segment of the market.

Earlier in 1929, before the stock market crashed, Packard introduced the Model 640 and 645 “ Deluxe Eight ” , a chassis specifically designed for the extravagant custom and semi-custom bodies of the time. These long wheelbase cars, with their long hoods and their strong and silent nine main bearing engines, have come to be regarded by collectors as the ultimate examples of Packard ’ s Sixth series cars.

Several improvements meant Packard ’ s Sixth series cars were a cut above the previous year ’ s Packard lineup, as well as the competition. The suspension featured a shock-absorbed ‘ loose trunion ’ suspension system remarkably similar to what one might find on a modern day automobile. This development led to the design of a rocker mount held in place by four short compression springs; road shock was absorbed by the forward and backward movement of this loose trunion.

Other mechanical improvements included moving the coolant temperature gauge from the radiator filler cap to an easy-to-read gauge on the dashboard, as well as the addition of an automatic cylinder oiler, which helped to prevent unnecessary wear caused by dry startups. Interior room was increased when the shift lever was moved from the top of the transmission casing to the bell housing.

The example offered here in blue and white is one of these top of the line 640 Deluxe Eights, fitted with the highly desirable Runabout Roadster body. Considered the most sporting coachwork, the lines of this true Roadster are remarkable, with a long hood, low beltline, folding windshield, and in this case, dual side mounted spares. Although the Roadster was the least expensive body style when new, they are the most highly prized today because they represent one of the last of the true open cars. These magnificent “ summer only ” cars were often purchased by the very wealthy for use at their summer homes, and as such, they recall a bygone era of elegance.

The Packard has a host of desirable features such as chrome wire wheels, a driver ’ s side mounted spotlight, a tan Haartz cloth top and a matching leather interior. Overall, the Packard remains freshly presented and ready to show or drive in many different events such as those sponsored by the AACA or the Classic Car Club of America.

Addendum

Please note that this vehicle is titled by the engine number 172872.

Reference Number 5805

as of 1/9/2007

Overview
Car 1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster
VIN 172872 
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