Packard 904 Dietrich Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton
The Ninth Series Packards were quality, quiet, sophisticated automobiles, offered in a variety of engines, wheelbases and bodies, both production and Individual Custom. The problem was that the Depression had continued to deepen. In the face of uncertainty even Packard’s well-off clientele was looking carefully at purchasing new cars. The situation was made worse by Packard’s superior quality: Packards took a long time to wear out in normal use, and it was hard to justify paying three or four thousand dollars for a new model when the old one was perfectly serviceable.
One of the strategies quickly employed by Packard to deal with the Depression was to consolidate as much as possible of its body construction and trimming in its own facilities, now rapidly becoming under-used as production dropped. Its custom coachbuilding relationship with Murray Corporation’s affiliate Dietrich, Inc. was preserved as long as possible, however. The Dietrich designs were important sources of fresh ideas and concepts for Packard’s own coachwork, and Dietrich and its founder, Raymond Dietrich, had a reputation which enhanced Packard’s appeal.
Although Ray Dietrich had been forced out of his namesake firm in early 1931, his talent was manifest in the many custom and semi-custom bodies that continued to bear the Dietrich name and to grace Packards for years to come.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
120 bhp, 385 cu. in. L-head eight, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with leaf springs, live rear axle with leaf springs and four-wheel mechanically-actuated drum brakes. Wheelbase 147.5"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel