Packard Super Eight Sport Phaeton
It has long been regarded as ironic that the greatest creations of the classic era came during the depths of the recession. Although the company was in excellent financial health, Packard was deeply concerned about the devastating effect of the depression on sales in the fine car segment. Packard’s response was to redouble its efforts, meeting the threat from Cadillac and Lincoln head on with the new Twin Six and a range of spectacular custom bodies.
The depression had a tremendous impact on fine car makers in North America, reducing sales to a fraction of what they were in the early 1920s. In fact, from 1929 to 1933, Packard production dropped nearly half each year when compared with the previous. In spite of slipping sales, Packard continued to make improvements each year, and as a result, the company was able to maintain a hold on its market share.
One of the most respected designers of the classic era, Ray Dietrich was also one of the most influential. After stints at Brewster and LeBaron, he formed Dietrich, Inc. where his smart and elegant designs attracted the attention of Packard management, and as a result, Packard became one of Dietrich’s best customers. Lacking an in-house styling department, Packard incorporated Dietrich design cues in its production cars, and in fact, after 1933, all open Packards carried Dietrich body tags.
The eleventh series is often considered to be the ultimate Senior Packard. It was the last car with the classic swept fender lines before the advent of the streamlined look. The front ensemble is truly beautiful, with a graceful vee-shaped radiator and matching headlights and fender lights. The ’34 dash is a jeweled work of art surrounded by rich burled trim. Although many body styles were offered, the rarest and most desirable is the striking dual cowl sport phaeton.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
150 hp, 327 cu. in. side valve inline nine main bearing eight-cylinder engine, three-speed synchromesh transmission, solid axle and semi-elliptical leaf spring front suspension, hypoid live axle with semi-elliptic leaf spring rear suspension, Bijur chassis lubrication, and vacuum assisted four-wheel mechanical braking. Wheelbase 142.5"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Michael Furman