One of the motor cars on the short list of any serious collector is the 1930 Packard 734 Runabout. Since its inception, Packard built its reputation for manufacturing a superior automobile which employed the finest craftsmanship and engineering available at the time. Like most manufacturers, Packard participated in racing, but aside from its earliest days when it offered street versions of its racing cars, the models available to the general public were generally more reserved. That is, until, the introduction of the 626 Speedster in 1929 and the 734 Speedster the following year.
The backbone of the 734 was the Standard Eight 733 chassis which was boxed for rigidity. The engine was modified extensively with the use of a Detroit Lubricator dual-throat carburetor in addition to alteration of the inlet and exhaust ports from squared port on a vertical plane to a more practical hemispherical port set at a 45-degree angle. This maximized the larger manifold openings and separated the exhaust and inlet manifolds, resulting in a larger capacity, better flowing exhaust system. Of course, exhaust vented even more freely when the foot-operated cut-out was engaged. Buyers of the 734 were offered, at no additional cost, a higher compression head with a compression ratio of 6:1 which produced 145 horsepower. It is difficult to imagine any 734 buyer not opting for this free performance upgrade. In fact, RM specialists have verified that chassis 184088 is still equipped with the high compression head. The exhaust manifold was finned, as were the special forged iron brake drums which allowed for a two-inch wide braking surface.
Packard offered the 734 Speedster with five different body styles. The Rumbleseat Runabout, Phaeton, Boattail Runabout,Victoria and Sedan. The passenger seat is set back from the driver’s seat, indicative that the operator may need a little extra elbow room for spirited driving.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida, in July of 2011 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan and in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
145 hp 384 cu. in. L-head eight with Detroit Lubricator dual-throat carburetor and high-compression head, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel mechanical brakes with finned drums. Wheelbase: 134.5"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel