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zipdang

A few days with a Packard

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I don't remember a great deal about this car but I'll try to relate the memories I do have. Back around 1970, my dad had possession of this Packard for just a few days - long enough to take it to a car show somewhere in the Columbus, Ohio area. I believe the story is that a distant relative or possibly just a friend asked Dad to do this for him since the car was for sale and the owner couldn't make the car show. Mom, Dad, and us 5 kids piled in the car and went to the show in style! Believe it or not, four of us rode in the rumble seat with one of us up front between Mom and Dad. On the way there, and while still rolling in traffic, we did a "kid swap" between the front seat and the rumble seat! Yes, we survived childhood just fine.

 

I ran across this photo while going through some of Dad's things. I do not know the people in the car but the picture has "Photo by W.E. Handley" stamped on the back and it was in an envelope with W. E. Handley in the return address and a Columbus, Ohio address.

 

I remember Dad saying it was a Packard Dietrich and I think he said it was 1928. How close am I to being correct? A few years later I asked Dad about what happened to the car, and (again, memory lapses) he said that it was totalled not too long after our weekend with it.

 

Any thoughts?

Packard1.jpg

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I'm not a Packard expert, but it looks to me like a 1929 626 or 633 with a custom body.  The standard convertible coupe did not have chrome windshield frame and front opening doors.  My guess on it being the smaller model of Packard is just the scaling, looking at the people vs. size of car....

 

The other interesting thing is that just about every convertible coupe of this time period had prominent landau irons on the side of the top, which obviously this one does not.

 

What a pretty thing it was, sure makes one sad to think it was totaled, that would be a shame....

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  • David, you are correct about it being a 1929. I think it is a 633 due to the doors in the hood instead of louvers. The windshield does not look like a Deitrich to me.

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The doors in the hood (4 of them ) were on the  640 or 645, the 633 had louvers - but an option in late 1930 (after the 1931 8th series had been introduced) let a 3 door hood be ordered for the 633,733,and 833. I have one of those 3 door hoods. The car has a CCCA badge on the front so the owner belonged to CCCA at that time.

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It seems even totaled unless completely destroyed by a fire,  Someone would have purchased ti to resurrect some day.  Even back then when they weren't quite as valuable,  it was still a very good looking car to walk away from. 

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It just doesn't look big enough to be a 640, but maybe it's just the perspective of the picture.  With all due respect, if it's a 640 or 645, then the young ladies are on the tall side, as usually such a car swallows an individual pretty well.....

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Thank you to all for chiming in. I was thinking it was going to be an easy identification exercise but, as usual, I'm learning quite a bit. Hope more folks have some ideas.

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Not a Packard expert but like many cars of the late 1920s and early 1930s the various Packards were built from mid year to mid year, sort of, so if your car is from early in the run it is one year and if late in the run it is the next year. It all depends on your dating criteria - is it model year or date of first registration or actual date of rolling out of the factory? It has always been and always will be a huge can of worms.  Even with more recent cars it could be argued. For example I have a 1965 Pontiac. There is no doubt it is a 1965 model car - the appearance, specification and the serial number confirm that - but I know it was built in the first week of September 1964. By some criteria I could claim it to be 1964.

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Single wiper, unusual flip open windshield with unusual frame, also, interesting door handle and locking mechanism.  Belt line looks run of the mill. Over all the car looks on the small side. Interesting puzzle.

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39 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Single wiper, unusual flip open windshield with unusual frame, also, interesting door handle and locking mechanism.  Belt line looks run of the mill. Over all the car looks on the small side. Interesting puzzle.

I have to disagree, Ed, and tell you to stick with Pierce-Arrow on this one. The belt line is definitely not typical. Also, the front-opening doors is not typical for 1929 convertible coupe.

 

54 minutes ago, nzcarnerd said:

Not a Packard expert but like many cars of the late 1920s and early 1930s the various Packards were built from mid year to mid year, sort of, so if your car is from early in the run it is one year and if late in the run it is the next year. It all depends on your dating criteria - is it model year or date of first registration or actual date of rolling out of the factory? It has always been and always will be a huge can of worms.  Even with more recent cars it could be argued. For example I have a 1965 Pontiac. There is no doubt it is a 1965 model car - the appearance, specification and the serial number confirm that - but I know it was built in the first week of September 1964. By some criteria I could claim it to be 1964.

This is also not the case. It is neither typical for 1929, nor for 1930. The car is a complete custom.

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Hi West, I wasn’t implying the belt line was factory, just something to my eye that looks uninspired for a custom. Windshield is very interesting, but a bit awkward for my taste. I like one off and unusual cars, it just seems that while a full custom, they didn’t knock it out of the park as far as it’s lines go. I find the most interesting thing about the car is it hasn’t been identified by all the usual sharp eyed experts we so often see nail a car down in less than a few hours. Also interesting is the fact no one has tossed out a builders name...........I wonder if it was a prototype or sample built as a possible low run production custom catalog offering that never got off the ground and ended up as a one off. I was thinking it may be the work of one of the mid west batch builders like Phillips, Centeral, Robbins, or the like.......

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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To me, the hood length, 8-lug wheels, and 4 hood doors say senior series, but the headlights seem to indicate a junior series - could it be a reconstruction or maybe a mash-up, combining parts from more than one original?

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I agree that it's unusual to post a Packard picture and not have it identified quickly.

 

from a trimmer's perspective, the top looks a little funny, too.  It appears to have a rear bow that's wider than the outside door to door measurement, usually a characteristic of roadsters.  Most convertible coupe tops go straight back and don't flare out.

 

Also, the removable pillar right behind the door looks bulky and awkward.

 

The windshield is very interesting, if it was custom built, what a nice piece of workmanship.

 

I'm leaning toward this being a customized car "in the manner of" a period coachmaker, maybe even a cut down coupe....

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Please don't shoot the messenger but there is another possible explanation. Could it have been a coupe that was cut down to make a convertible? I agree with Trimacar that the top looks a bit awkward and there is something strange about the belt line, at least to my eye. Late 1960's early 1970's there was more than one "restorer" who made his living chopping coupes into convertibles. Lack of landau bars is strange.

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I agree, David, that the top is very strange looking. However, there is waaaaaay to much customizing here for it to be a cut-down coupe. As noted before, the front-opening doors is NOT something someone would change to when merely cutting down a coupe.

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10 hours ago, Marty Roth said:

To me, the hood length, 8-lug wheels, and 4 hood doors say senior series, but the headlights seem to indicate a junior series - could it be a reconstruction or maybe a mash-up, combining parts from more than one original?

I'm not sure there is any difference between the Custom Eight and the Eight headlights for 1929, Marty. Perhaps the Eight doesn't have the green (or red) jewel in the back, but from this angle we can't see that.

 

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I wonder if it's possible someone started with a victoria and swapped the doors around. The rear belt line is very similar. The original trunk would be difficult to turn into a rumble seat, though. So, I guess it would be easier to start with a coupe and swap the doors.

 

1929 Packard victoria.jpg

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The body shares a lot of similarities to this well known 1931 845 LeBaron. The way the body line drops to the rear of the door so the top doesn't look to "baby buggyish" when folded is a typical LeBaron design features seen on a lot of 1930-31 Lincolns etc.

 

Hard to tell the length of the car.It is possible that the angle of the photograph could be creating some confusing optical illusions. It is also possible since this is a scan of a photo that the photo somehow got truncated and/or distorted in the process??

 

The 1929 640s and 645s appear visually shorter than the 1930 740/745s or the 1931 840/845s due to their front fender designs. The 1930-31 fender design adds a visual length to the car's appearance.

 

A great looking car and an interesting puzzle.

 

https://hymanltd.com/vehicles/6000-1931-packard-845-deluxe-eight-coupe-roadster/

6000-1024x683.jpg

6000_1.jpg

Packard1.thumb.jpg.1932378210b2a76fee387a338e9e2359.jpg

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)

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This is very interesting.

zipdang, is there no one in your area who remembers this unique car?

That may be the best avenue for investigation if the crew here can not identify the car.

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