Lot 255

London 2013

1929 Packard Custom Eight Roadster


£86,800 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom Flag | London, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Offered from the collection of an Italian gentleman
  • Desirable open body style
  • Restored in correct factory colours
  • A wonderful example of Jazz Age motoring

Series 640. 106 bhp, 384.8 cu. in. side-valve inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, leaf-spring and solid axle front suspension, leaf-spring and live hypoid axle rear suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 3,568 mm

Packard, like so many other American luxury car manufacturers, was not immediately affected by the stock market crash of 1929. The company used straight-eight power for all cars that year, with the Sixth Series Custom and Deluxe Eight models receiving the larger 106-horsepower, 384.8-cubic inch engine, on a chassis improved with such enhancements as a shock-absorbing “loose trunion” suspension with new Houdaille shocks, a dashboard gauge that replaced the Motometer on the radiator, and an automatic cylinder oiler. These were the first Packards with parabolic headlamps and, more importantly, chrome-plated brightwork.

With their long wheelbases and hoods and silent nine main-bearing engines, the Custom and Deluxe Eights are rightly regarded as being the ultimate examples of the Sixth Series. Whilst a variety of open and closed body styles were available, as is frequently the case, it is the open coachwork that remains the most desirable.

The Custom Eight Roadster offered here was acquired by the consignor’s father a decade ago, after being owned since new by enthusiasts in its home country. It was restored shortly thereafter in striking colours that were borrowed directly from an original 1929 Packard advertisement, a copy of which accompanies the car. Packard ads were known for their use of bright and dramatic colours, which emphasised the sprightly lines of the sporty open body styles, and this car’s combination of burnt orange and cream yellow with white beltline inserts is striking indeed.

Features like the radiator stone guard, the “Goddess of Speed” mascot, wind wings, a golf bag door, side-mounted spares with belted mirrors, and painted wire wheels shod in wide whitewall tyres add to the car’s racy flair. The windshield can be folded flat, for racing-style motoring. One has to wonder if a Packard of this era has ever run at Goodwood, and if not, why shouldn’t it?

Shown several times in Europe since completion of the restoration, this Packard is offered complete with its FIVA Identity Card, copies of the advertising that inspired its beautiful colours, and an owner’s manual. It would be an interesting addition to any show, or simply a pleasure to drive and enjoy, with the silent smoothness of an inline eight churning happily under the hood.