Packard Model F Tonneau
Without a doubt, few early motor cars are as rare, stylish, refined and historically significant as the 1903 Packard Model F Rear-Entrance Tonneau. While it shared its 12-horsepower single-cylinder, four-stroke engine with Packard’s prior Model C, the Model F clearly marked the evolution of Packard automobile designs from the early and frail looking, buggy-type cyclecars to vehicles recognizable as “true” automobiles.
Setting the stage for Packard’s engineering excellence, which had already become a company hallmark, the Model F was introduced in 1902 with a three-speed selective sliding-gear manual transmission. For 1903, Packard advanced the basic Model F concept even further, with a four-inch wheelbase extension to 88 inches and a rather sleek sloping hood, inspired by the contemporary Renault designs from France. Priced from $2,250 for the two-passenger roadster and from $2,500 for the rear tonneau variant, just 179 examples of the Model F were sold in 1902 and 1903.
While the Model F was Packard’s most expensive automobile at the time of its introduction, it was quite economical to operate. In fact, the Model F achieved a remarkable level of fuel efficiency, with 27.5 mpg recorded in a 1902 economy trial. Further proof of the Model F’s sound engineering was provided in the summer of 1903, when “Old Pacific,” driven by Tom Fetch and Marius Krarup, completed a run from San Francisco to New York, a truly remarkable achievement on the virtually non-existent roads of the era!
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
12 bhp, 183.8 cu. in. single-cylinder engine, three-speed sliding gear manual transmission, live front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, shaft drive with bevel-gear rear differential, and rear-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 88".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel