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1930's Super 8 versus Twelve


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Hi --- I have an opportunity to buy a 1937 Twelve Packard but would like some opinion on the relative merits of a Twelve versus a Super 8 of similar vintage. Some friends have tried to steer me away from a Twelve due to complexity, reliability, etc. I'd just like some opinion on each of these cars for someone who wants to drive and tour with them.

The car I'm looking at is 100% restored with a rebuilt engine. So, let's assume that I'm not getting into a project on either. If I'm buying a "new car" in 1937, why would I want the Super 8 and why would I want the Twelve? Or why would I not want to go for the Twelve?

Thanks for your thoughts.

--Scott

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All things being equal, who wouldn't want a Twelve. But many a "rebuilt" has left a lot to be desired, they are expensive to do correctly and often, when the real correct rebuild costs become apparent, shortcuts are taken. So I'd want the credentials of the rebuilder and carefully check his reputation. Let me give you an example, I have a friend who bought a Twelve with a "rebuilt" engine, it only cost him another $20,000 to have the valve train redone correctly, whereas on a Super 8 a valve job can be done by nearly anyone with good basic mechanical skills.

So, do your homework, thoroughly! "Rebuilt" can have a very large range of meaning.

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I agree, the term rebuilt has to be verified. I know someone who has a 12, and he's made the comment that every time he drives it, he hopes it doesn't fail, as the rebuild is incredibly costly. $20 to $25K for a 12 is not unheard of, the 8 is in the $8 to $10K range.

That said, 12's are wonderful cars. Power, and pride of ownership.

I'm sure that I'll get some comments, but if you want a robust engine, and want a 12, find a Pierce Arrow. Must better engineering, if Pierce had the styling and marketing of Packard, then it would have been no contest.

David C.

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Can you drive both cars? You may find the eight is a lot more pleasant to drive because it is smaller. The 12 was really meant for the chauffeur driven limousine trade. It can be somewhat trucklike to handle which was not a concern for the owner with a chauffeur to drive it.

Others have said that the smaller 120 eight is the nicest of all to drive. I would not know as I have not driven any of them. Just passing on a suggestion from those who have.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Dave C., I'd agree that the Pierce 12 is a terrific engine, it is certainly robust and gave great service in Seagraves fire equipment thru the 60s, but I wouldn't consider the Packard Twelve as not being robust and reliable, just that it's valve train is a very complex affair.

I've driven both, and it's like an experience without equal.

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I have had the oppportunity to drive both a Pierce and a Packard 12 and they were both pleasant experiences and surprising light handling in my estimation. If you are over 6' tall like me and plan on touring I would be wary of division window limos as the chauffer seats are very upright with not much leg room. A touring limo with no division would be a better choice for long trips. The cost of maintaining a 12 engine or either marque could be very expensive as mentioned . I recall recently an NOS Packard 12 distributor cap being sold on ebay for approx. $1000Although I would dearly love to have a 12 for the sheer pleasure of owning what is one of the finest automobiles ever created I think I will stick to the Eight versions and advise you to do likewise unless you have deep pockets..

Edited by Clipper47 (see edit history)
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. . . . . . I know someone who has a 12, and he's made the comment that every time he drives it, he hopes it doesn't fail, . . . . . . . . . want a 12, find a Pierce Arrow. Must better engineering, if Pierce had the styling and marketing of Packard, then it would have been no contest. . . . .

David C.

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Interesting comment. So sad. Sad for a number of reasons.

What about historical accuracy and understanding of what these cars SHOULD be like if they were actually maintained in a serviceable condition?

Packard did not become a world famous legend for quality, by selling unreliable cars. That goes for every price range Packard.

As for the V-12, I've been beating the %#*&!!! out of mine since 1955. Whe I got it, it already had 100,000 miles on it.

It let me down once. On a hot day in 1956, after really "beating" on it..vapor lock! Electric fuel pump properly installed as LOW as possible and as CLOSE to the tank as possible - guess what...hasn't let me down since.

I did overhaul the motor once - about 35 years ago. Pathetic that so many so called "restorers" are way too " smart " to overhaul a motor using common sense acceptable shop techniques.

I decided I was not smart enough to over-rule the judgment of trained engineers, so I put the V-12's motor back together the way it was built originally, with "insert" type rod bearings, and chrome-moly rings.

The valve mechanism of a Packard V-12 is "complicated"? To whom ? Maybe if you are in a hurry to do a "quickee" repair, to get the car into a trailer for the next car show. If you KNOW what you are doing, it is a relatively simple and utterly reliable system. Now there's a problem - how many so called "restorers" these days know what they are doing on sophisticated hi-powered motors like the Packard V-12. Just for fun, how many of you know the shop proceedure for removing the valve-lash silencers (mystakenly called "hydraulic valve lifters" by those who should know their limitations, and keep their hands off Packard V-12 motors.

The owner of one of our country's leading restoration shops once explained to me (by way of apology when I started to "rip him a new one" for making a Packard V-12 look pretty, but was horrible to drive) .... ....

...........that it would not be fair to 99% of his customers to take their money to make the cars run the way they should, since most just want them as costume jewelery to show off - they get dragged around in trailers. If they can run far enough to get from the trailer over to where the cars are shown, that is all that most expect.

Yes, sad - that I have to agree - many of these "pretty hangar queens" that look so nice are just faint unwiedly ghosts of what they were when properly maintained. I guess if I was a "victim" of a so called "prettied up" restoration, I would be afraid of its reliability too.

Wonder where this guy gets the idea that a Pierce Arrow V-12 is in any way "better" than a Packard V-12. Suggest you would be doing a better service to the typical car buff who reads this stuff, to go look at some engineering drawings of each respective engine, look at how they were put together, drive both, then come in here and tell us what you found.

Be patient - you guys who just like to spread whatever fantasies come into your heads - while there are a few of us left who actually own and work on these cars, we are fading away. Won't be too many years before you can say unchallenged any ole nonsence that makes you happy.

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Hi --- I have an opportunity to buy a 1937 Twelve Packard but would like some opinion on the relative merits of a Twelve versus a Super 8 of similar vintage. ?

Thanks for your thoughts.

--Scott

Hi Scott!

Here's the deal. Packard pulled a "fast one" for 1937. There was no REAL Super Eight for 1937. The REAL Super Eight was 384 cu. in., and up to, say about 50 mph, gives performance ALMOST as good as the V-12 (almost 100 cu. in larger, but also pulling much more weight).

For 1937 production, they called the much smaller Packard Standard Eight of 320 cu. in. a "Super Eight". It used the same body sheet metal and dash as the Twelves, on a lighter chassis. Nowhere near as fancy upholstery or trim, and much less satisfying to drive than the V-12. Dont mis-understand...within ITS price range it was competitive. Be assured of this - Packard did not gyp its customers. You paid a LOT more for a Packard V-12, and you GOT YOUR MONEY'S WORTH.

Up thru 1938 production, Packard Twelves and Super Eights had the same wheel-base dimensions, same body sheet metal for any given body style. No difference in size. Again, difference is performance and elegance of upholstery.

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Can you drive both cars? You may find the eight is a lot more pleasant to drive because it is smaller. The 12 was really meant for the chauffeur driven limousine trade. It can be somewhat trucklike to handle which was not a concern for the owner with a chauffeur to drive it.

WHAT PURPOSE IS SERVED BY TYPING SUCH NONSENCE. HAVN'T YOU FIGURED OUT YET THAT THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE AROUND WHO DO KNOW PACKARD PRODUCTS.

AGAIN, UP THRU THE END OF 1938 PRODUCTION, "senior" Packards, meaning EIGHTS, SUPER EIGHTS and TWELVES had the same body sheet metal, and same wheel-base dimensions for any given body style. SAME. The difference is in what the body was bolted to - the chassis, brakes, and motor.

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not know as I have not driven any of them. Just passing on a suggestion from those who have.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HONEST IN ADMITTING YOU ARE JUST BABBLING WHAT YOU HAVE "heard" FROM LORD KNOWS WHO.

PATHETIC! DONT MIS-UNDERSTAND..NOT PICKING ON YOU PERSONALLY - YOU WERE HONEST ENOUGH TO ADMIT YOU PERSONALLY DONT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT..THAT IS REFRESHING.

AND THE SAD FACT IS, THANKS TO THE WAY MOST MODERN RESTORATION SHOPS TURN OUT CARS, YOUR SOURCE CAN BE RIGHT. YOU SCREW UP A PACKARD TWELVE BADLY ENOUGH, AND IT ISN;T ANY FUN TO DRIVE !

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Scott12180,

I would drive the 12 and see how you like it. These sorts of decisions depend on who you are and what you care about: Prestige? Presence? Ease of handling? Repair costs? etc.

I have a '35 12, and it's a real joy to drive such a car. There's a certain pleasure in starting up such a massive engine and knowing that your car is the very top of the line and such an icon of the classic era. On the other hand, the car is kind of a tank: It drives really well for how big and heavy it is, but it's still a 5,500 lb car.

Finally, I agree with what everyone else is saying about rebuild costs: My car has never had an engine rebuild, and I'm probably a few years away from needing one (knock on wood!), and I know I could buy a lot of packards for the price of rebuilding the engine correctly.

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When we saw the title of this thread, my guess is most of us knew that sooner or later we'd get our lecture from PH, reminding us that we are ignorant, adrift in the wilderness, and have had no Packard experiences worth having. Honestly Pete, if you'd lighten up a bit and give a little respect to your audience, perhaps your responses would have a bit more value. I mean this in a positive, constructive way.

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I agree. Peter, please be less pedantic and pompous. You have a lot to offer but you turn people off with your deprecating comments. You often come across as an insufferable snob and as a result the valuable knowledge and experiences you impart is lost in the rhetoric.

Edited by Clipper47 (see edit history)
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I have a '35 12, and it's a real joy to drive such a car. There's a certain pleasure in starting up such a massive engine and knowing that your car is the very top of the line and such an icon of the classic era. . . . . It drives really well for how big and heavy it is . . . . . . . . . .I could buy a lot of packards for the price of rebuilding the engine correctly.

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Shame on you for posting such a snobby comment - suggest you read OWEN's post - where he says if you would lighten up a bit and show respect for the guys in our audience... your ideas are lost in the retoric...... and there is more in these posts.....dont you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who says every time he drives a Packard Twelve he hopes it dosnt fail...."

Why cant you show respect for these "contributions to our history"....you might even learn that some of these guys "know" the Packard Super Eight is a smaller car"...

O.K...O.K...I know...we are all human and I should be more patient with fellow humans. C'mon...guys....THINK...you want to be "politically correct" and "go with the flow' of whatever crackpot myth someone is "selling"..or do you want to share and learn about REAL automotive technical history.

Hopefully, some of you guys will GROW UP and stop thinking like spoiled children who are corrected when they are caught babbling something stupid.

In fairness, it is NORMAL and HUMAN to have "beliefs". It is NORMAL and HUMAN, especially if we have some reason to want those "beliefs" for example, because some other guy got lucky and has a bigger, faster, more elegant car... to want to BELIEVE it really isn't fair that it is THAT much neater than yours.

Adults can handle having their "beliefs" challenged by FACTS. Can YOU ?

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When we saw the title of this thread, my guess is most of us knew that sooner or later we'd get our lecture from PH, reminding us that we are ignorant, adrift in the wilderness, and have had no Packard experiences worth having. Honestly Pete, if you'd lighten up a bit and give a little respect to your audience, perhaps your responses would have a bit more value. I mean this in a positive, constructive way.
Funny, last night I was going to start my post with a similar comment. I opted not to, but I guess we're all on the same wavelength.
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Hopefully, some of you guys will GROW UP and stop thinking like spoiled children who are corrected when they are caught babbling something stupid.

I often wonder why people strive to be the t**d in the punch bowl or why they eschew recent experience and current knowledge for foggy faded recollections.

:confused:

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this reminds me of the fuss that happened over a really nice book about Packards that Bev Kimes did some years back. It is a great book, which I bet most of us Packard nuts have a copy of.

Trouble is, Bev. was the EDITOR, not the WRITER of much of that book. She never made herself personally out to be an expert on automotive technical matters.

Seems some restoration shop had done a very expensive restoration for a guy who had a '38 Packard Super Eight (like the '37, it was actually a re-badged "STANDARD" eight (the much smaller motor of Packards lower priced line) ( Can you imagine, Packard in 1938 re-badged the excellent "120" series, and called THAT a "Packard Eight...!).

Somehow, this guy who wanted a show-piece collector car found out that there was such a thing as a Packard V-12.

To make him feel good, since the car's sheet metal was identical to a Packard Twelve, it got out that "the Packard Twelve and the Super Eight had the same chassis".

Of course that was utter nonsence. The Twelves were much more powerful, heavier cars, and thus basic SAE/ASTM tech standards required heavier chassis, heavier springs, axles, MUCH larger brakes, beefier suspension components.

1) I remain unclear why someone would want to believe that nonsence even when corrected, and then get nasty about it?

2) I remain unclear why it is so important to take a position that in effect, states that Packard cheated its customers - LET'S TRY IT AGAIN, FOLKS...We all love Packard because they delivered a product that was worth the money. That goes for a Packard SIX...a Packard "120"...and up the line.

But I do understand the call for censorship. Not everyone can have the "best of the best". Many ordinary people hated the "biggest & the best" when they were NEW ! Even as late as the late 1950's, new car dealers knew they could get lots of people to come to the dealership if they bought some grand old REAL classic car, sat it on the lot, and let people swing at it with a sledge hammer.

The late Jack Nethercutt (The Mearle Norman Cosmetics collection in Sylmar, Calif) had (could still be there for all I know) a J-2 Hisso V-12. Vastly superior to a Packard Twelve. And a HELL of a lot faster (you could buy three or four new Packard V-12's for what that J-2 Hisso costs new). How would you guys feel if I started volunteering silly info, and/or nit picking or making up historically inaccurate technical nonsence about that fantastic Hisso, just because it is better than my Packard ? Think hard about that for a while.

Edited by Twunk Rack (see edit history)
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Take it easy Twunky. I was only suggesting the guy drive both cars before making up his mind.

It IS possible he would like the 8 just as well or better, or find the difference in performance was not worth the extra money.

In any case it was just a suggestion.

As for Packard 12 being the most magnificent car of that or any other year, what did they do that compared to this?

"To publicize the new twelve, Pierce-Arrow arranged for the race driver, Ab Jenkins, to drive a Pierce-Arrow on the Bonneville Salt Flats. An unofficial, 24-hour run was done in 1932, with an average speed of 112.91 miles per hour. In 1933, Pierce-Arrow repeated the run, this time with AAA observing and conducting the run. This time, Jenkins drove 3000 miles in 25 1/2 hours, averaging 117 mph. This trial broke 66 official AAA speed records. In 1934, another run set a new worlds speed record of 127 mph for 24 hours. "

24 hours at over 100 mph backed up by a repeat performance the next year, and then again the third year, without involuntary stop or mechanical failure of any kind.

The next year Jenkins came back and broke the record with a supercharged Duesenberg.

To put this in perspective, at that time Rolls Royce warned its customers that if they used their cars for continental touring, the should not run them wide open for more than 5 minutes lest they blow up the engine.

Mercedes Benz much vaunted supercharged straight eight Grosser Mercedes had a top speed of a hair over 100MPH with the supercharger engaged. But they also warned their customers not to use the supercharger for more than 2 minutes at a time for the same reason. As it took 1 minute to accelerate to 100, the Mercedes owner did not get much enjoyment out of his supercharged speed.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I have a 32 Super 8. I was advised that I should purchase a Super vs. a 12 because the performance was close, but the V12 was a much heavier hard to drive car. My 32 weighs 5000 lbs and a V12 weighs 5500 lbs, not sure how 10% more weight would make that much of a handling difference.

I have never driven a V12 so I have nothing to compare. In fact I have only driven my Super 8 so I also have limited experience.

I am getting my Super 8 rebuilt this winter so I guess I'm glad I have a Super 8 due to the major difference in rebuilding price. However the price of V12 open is much more than a Super 8 or so the two rebuilding costs is closer when you compare them as the percentage pf the total value of the car.

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Packard made different models for different applications.

Starting in the early 20s some luxury car makers offered 2 chassis, the traditional large car made to carry the largest limousine bodies with aplomb. These were designed to be driven by a chauffeur.

Then they made a smaller easier to handle chassis aimed at the new breed of owners who drove themselves.

Rolls Royce added the 20hp alongside their big 40/50hp Silver Ghost

Pierce Arrow had the dual valve six and the much smaller model 80 six

Packard had their straight eight, and a smaller six.

The smaller cars offered similar quality up to a point but were easier to buy and easier to drive.

None of these were "tin lizzies". The cheapest of them cost as much as 10 Fords.

This was the sort of comparison I was attempting to draw.

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Let's not forget what the fellow who started this chat wanted to know. Let's assure him that no matter which '37 Packard he picks, (IF, AS OWEN NOTED, IT WAS SERVICED CORRECTLY) he will have a delightful-to-drive car that will give him tremendous satisfaction.

At the risk of repeating myself, to advise him correctly, lets also remember to emphasize that Packard gave an HONEST BUY FOR THE MONEY. So if he can afford a Packard V-12 over the eight, and again (LISTEN TO OWEN'S EXCELLENT POST AND WARNING...MEANING IF IT WAS PROPERLY SERVICED !) he most certainly WILL get MORE pleasure out of the much more expensive, much more powerful car.

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"To publicize the new twelve, Pierce-Arrow arranged for the race driver, Ab Jenkins, to drive a Pierce-Arrow on the Bonneville Salt Flats. An unofficial, 24-hour run was done in 1932, with an average speed of 112.91 miles per hour. In 1933, Pierce-Arrow repeated the run, this time with AAA observing and conducting the run. This time, Jenkins drove 3000 miles in 25 1/2 hours, averaging 117 mph. This trial broke 66 official AAA speed records. In 1934, another run set a new worlds speed record of 127 mph for 24 hours. "

24 hours at over 100 mph backed up by a repeat performance the next year, and then again the third year, without involuntary stop or mechanical failure of any kind.

Fascinating Rusty,

That beats the 1955 Packard feat of 24 hrs @ 104 MPH, and accomplished 30 some years earlier!

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At the risk of repeating myself, to advise him correctly, lets also remember to emphasize that Packard gave an HONEST BUY FOR THE MONEY. So if he can afford a Packard V-12 over the eight, and again (LISTEN TO OWEN'S EXCELLENT POST AND WARNING...MEANING IF IT WAS PROPERLY SERVICED !) he most certainly WILL get MORE pleasure out of the much more expensive, much more powerful car.
Two thoughts.

1) Whether Packard gave an "honest buy for the money" in 1937 -- whatever that means in a market economy -- is irrelevant 72 years later. The market for 1937 Packards in 2009 is determined by supply and demand in 2009, not the offering prices of Packards in 1937.

2) I'm not sure how you know what will give him pleasure, assuming you are not the man's psychologist or spouse. For example, I have a 1935 Twelve and a 1941 110, and I'm not sure which gives me more pleasure. They give me different pleasures: They're just different cars, and they provide different driving experiences. It all just depends on what moves you, and no two people are moved by precisely the same thing. That's why a lot of us suggested driving the car, so he could get a feel for what moves him.

(I know, DNFTT, but I couldn't help myself.)

Edited by 1935Packard (see edit history)
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Dave Fields: "It truly is an extremely valuable point that at this point, a car is not a car."

I agree, it's an excellent point, and one that we need to keep in mind. When a car is 70+ years old, differences in how it has been treated, restored, etc. have a remarkable impact on how well it drives, how reliable it is, how much it's worth, etc. Today, "cars of the 1930s" are a combination of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90, and 00s.

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A properly restored Twelve (or an excellent low-mileage original) is not "trucky." I have driven (and my family has owned) a wide variety of prewar Packards -- standard eight, super eight, twelve, 180, 120, etc. The only two that felt "trucky" were the 1929 Series 633 phaeton and the 1930 Series 734 Speedster. I have driven other 1929 phaetons, and other 734 Speedsters, and they, too, felt trucky.

The Packards from later in the decade are very pleasant cars to drive, weather Eight or Twelve. If it feels "trucky," then there's probably something that needs rebuilding/repair somewhere. Gas mileage of the 12, in our experience, is down around 5 or 6mpg. Pete, what does yours get?

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I know...i know...we shouldn't let any one "thread" get too far off-course, so again, before I start answering questions, let me again suggest to the originator of this "thread" (who inquired about 1937 "Senior" cars):

To guide your selection, all you REALLY have to remember is this - Packard became the legend it did, and convinced us to be Packard buffs, by giving VALUE for the money. LOTS of value for the money!

That holds equally true whether you have a (AGAIN..AGAIN..PLEASE LISTEN TO OWEN' POST ABOVE ABOUT PROPERLY MAINTAINED CARS!) a Packard Six or a Packard Twelve, or any Packard product in between.

So - again, to the originator of this "thread" - IF the car complies with OWEN's discussion (meaning PROPERLY set up), you are going to be VERY happy with ANY Packard product you get your hands on. But again, you get what you pay for. To argue that a well-maintained 1937 Packard "Super" Eight of only 320 cu. in., will give you the same satisfaction as a 1937 Packard V-12 of a hair under 480 cu. in, is to simply deny the reality of what the two cars were. Get the V-12 !

Wes's question about fuel consumption on the V-12.

My own experience is that the '32-'34 Twelves ( around 440 cu. in) would get about a hair under 10 mpg if not beaten too hard AND you stay under about 50 mph.

From 1935 production on, Packard V-12's were 473 cu in-the larger displacement costs you about 3/4 to 1 mpg. Any Packard V-12 getting much less than 9 mpg should be taken away from its owner, his maintaince crew shot, and their brains disected to see what is wrong with them, and the car turned over to someone who knows what they are doing....!

As many of you know, I run off at the mouth over and over and over again about the importance of getting our pre-war collector cars out on the road where people can see these important historical artifacts. By re-gearing them so their engines arent beaten to death trying to keep out of the way of today's garbage trucks and city transit buses.....!

I am presently running a 3.23 "pumpkin" out of an early 60's Olds station wagon. Mathmatically, that means my engine is turning over, at a ROAD speed of 75 mph, at just over 50 mph.

I usually average about 9.8 mpg, which is pretty damn good considering I am pushing that big mass of UNstreamlined junk thru the atmosphere much faster than most people drive collector cars. Translation - gained a lot in effiency by enabling much higher road speeds using the same amount of energy.

As for Dave's question about chassis - yes, of course Packard engineers followed standard SAE/ASTM standards for design. You add weight and power, you add "beef" to the car. It is that simple.

Heck..Packard actually wrote many of those "standards". As a side-note to Dave's question, a VERY important contribution to American industry was Packard's early development of "standards" for draftsmanship, engineering drawings, and precision measurements.

So, yes, Dave, the slightly heavier and more powerful V-12's got their own heavier chassis, meaning, thicker frames, suspension components, much larger brakes, etc.

As many of you know, when the 'Harvard Business School' types took over Packard in the late 1930's, lacking faith in American capitalism, they elected to abandon the super-luxury car market. They decided to concentrate efforts on building more affordable cars. That meant smaller, cheaper, lighter EVERYTHING. And they also decided to effectively stop MANUFACTURING cars, and simply be "assemblers" - no more Packard bodies in any series; they were "out-sourced".

I cannot answer your question about the THICKNESS of Packard chassis after "Senior" Packard production ceased in the summer of 1939. Obviously, the more powerful Packards of 1940 & later, with the longer "356" motor required LONGER frames than the "120" series. Whether they were THICKER, I dont recall, and my old tech. info. is still buried somewhere after our "big move".

As to Dave's question about boring a Packard V-12 cyl. block. Yes, the Packard V-12 is a bit of a problem to bore. Many Packard Twelves were badly neglected as they aged, with dirty oil and clogged cooling systems, so cylinder bore wear and damage is found in most of them. I had to bore mine out to 40 thnds to get it to "clean up" (thanks..EGGEE...those pistons are still jumping up and down in there....!).

The problem, as Dave mentioned, is that the Packard V-12 has a very advanced combustion chamber & piston relationship design not found in production automobiles until we get into the Chrysler "hemis" of MANY years later.

Packard's brilliant design included a WEDGE shaped combustion chamber with WEDGE shaped pistons. This is part of the reason why a Packard V-12 develops sufficiently more power per cubic in. than the average motor of its day (Packard recognized that the extra tooling costs of going to over-head valves did NOT make sense given the compression ratios of that era, which, in turn, were dictated by the low octane fuels).

So - yes, Dave...re-boring a Packard V-12 is not possible with the standard shop boring bars I am familiar with. That is because the flat top of the cylinder block is NOT at right angles to the cylinder bore. There ARE a few that CAN bore a Packard V-12 ( I dont know what happened to Charlie Last's when his wife sold off his stuff) .

Edited by Twunk Rack (see edit history)
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Actually, the technical observations and suggestions by folks like Twunk Rack seem to have the most value to me here and do not appear to be off course regarding the discussion between the 1937 Super Eight and Twelve. The thread originator may also appreciate the technical considerations regarding the Twelve. This knowledge is quite useful even if the work is sent out to a proper restoration or machine shop specializing in these vehicles.

So Twunk Rack may not be sending the thread on a detour to Scott12180’s original question.

Here is a “Packard Motor Company” letter from 1950 regarding Mr. Saunders' inquiry about where a “Packard” Twelve boring bar adaptor plate may be borrowed for use. Interestingly, the letter also states a “Van Norman” type boring machine will also work. The “Van Norman” referred to must have the proper fixture or adjustment for mounting to the Twelve block. There are several “Van Norman” models, so maybe a machinist can provide more insight. The letter also addressed Mr. Saunders' question about the largest Twelve pistons that were available from Packard.

Vintageride

Boring Bar Letter.PDF

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The "Packard Motor Company" letter provides some hope to all of us that if the "Packard" angle adaptor plate are unavailable, and then a “Van Norman” type boring machine and proper accessories may work. The technical information in the short letter is really valuable to all of us.

If we don't write it down this information, share it, or keep it safe, it will get lost.

In the case of the pistons referened in the letter, Mr. Saunders opted for Judson Manufacturing Company Pistons over the diminutive ones offered by Packard.

I have allot of information about Mr. Saunders. Mr. Saunders worked at Alvin T Fuller's Packard dealer in Worcester and later for L.R. Mack in Albany.

Vintageride

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"In the case of the pistons referened in the letter, Mr. Saunders opted for Judson Manufacturing Company Pistons over the diminutive ones offered by Packard."

What would the advantage/difference have been in the Judson pistons over the Packard?

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At the time, it was simply size. Mr. Saunders was looking for bore sizes larger than Packard offered.

Today bore sizes would likely be determined by the condition of the worst borehole in the block. Boring is conducted until score marks and pits are removed. Pistons are then ordered according to the size of the finished block.

Vintageride

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Not a V-12 expert but this may be of relevant enough to mention. I understand that Packard Motorcars here in CT may be going out of business, and I also understand that they bill themselves as Packard V-12 experts – finally, I know the reputation is somewhat controversial and I don’t pretend to have any details there. I would imagine the V-12 guys would know more. I mention it because if they are going out, perhaps any specialized books and/or equipment for servicing these engines will hit the market soon. Those interested enough may want to google their site and reach out to him.

On the original question, drive train is a huge determinant of value here, but so are the usual other factors – bodystyle, overall condition, etc. For example, what if the choice comes down to a closed 12 or an open 8? Tough choice, I would think.

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Can you safely go over a .045 bore in the Packard twelve?

As a general rule (and there are always exceptions) It is not wise to go beyond the largest overbore pistons offered by the factory. In the case of such a rare and pricey block as a V12 it would be wise to ultrasound it to see how much meat is actually there.

This is one instance when "striking oil" (or water) is not a good thing.

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Twunky I see you are firmly in the "Bigger is always better" camp.

Some of us don't share this view. There are times when a smaller car is more appropriate.

Personally, I wouldn't feel a bit underprivileged if someone gave me a Super Eight from the thirties, even a sedan. I wouldn't pout because it wasn't a 12 and would resent anyone telling me my car was inferior or second rate because of it.

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Twunky, I know the original poster set particular parameters but you seem to make the assumption that one can make the choice to “buy up” today at conveniently stepped prices as if it were still 1937. That would be nice but it is not the case, the issue is what are the choices and cost of those choices available to the poster today. Not the difference in converted 1937 money – today’s market value is what is relevant. I would not argue for a second that the V-12 is top of the heap mechanically but each car is a unique opportunity that should be assessed carefully when spending the kind of dollars involved here. I am merely pointing out there is usually more to consider than drive train alone – the question is, for touring is it worth the extra coin it takes to “buy up” now. Usually, I think a difference larger than your converted $15,000. Forget the V-12 & the Super 8 for a moment, consider that the market seems to prefer an open junior car over a closed senior car even though that was not the case when new – see my point now? That said, if you are aware of any Packard dealerships operating today, where one can move up as conveniently as you suggest, could you let me know where they are? The reality is there is a finite universe of options out there for anyone in the market at any one time, and he has not yet decided that he cannot live without the V-12. So my take on this question is to remind the poster to assess each car on its individual merits as well as what appeals to you. Personally, I have always best enjoyed cars I bought that “spoke to me” and that may be different for each person. For example, I have a friend with a ’37 Super 8 Dietrich Victoria and another with a ’37 V-12 coupe-roadster and I happen to prefer the Super 8. Both open cars, not sure just how much they differ in market value but I will take the very elegant Victoria body style over the V-12, just a personal preference between two very nice largely original cars (with lengths of ownership similar to yours). Anyway, the poster has asked for opinions, so you may want to consider allowing others to give theirs. I actually appreciate your passion and knowledge but your delivery is getting really old and it leaves me with only one bottom line response – if you are tired of typing, stop!

Scott, could you provide more detail on your potential purchase? What, if any alternatives are you considering? Are you interested in discussing any alternative choices or are you mainly looking to confirm that the V-12 is actually a reliable (I think that has been established) engine for tours?

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