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FOR SALE: 1928 Packard 533 7P Sedan *SOLD*

Matt Harwood

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I'm actually very sorry to see this car become available. It's offered by a long-time friend of the hobby who has owned "Gracie" since he purchased her as a basket case when he was just a 22-year-old kid in 1967. Over the intervening years, he restored it himself to its current stunning condition, completing it in 1988. It has won every major award such a car can win, including AACA National First Prize, CCCA National First Prize and Premier, and Packard Club National First Prize. It has won awards at concours events like Meadow Brook Hall and the Glenmoor Gathering, as well as the Founder's Award at a Packard National Meet for best pre-1929 Packard, and just about every other event in which it was entered. It's one of only three such cars known to exist, and the only complete one in the US. And while the restoration is now 25 years old, I have no doubt that this car could roll off the trailer as-is and capture a second place at any event, and with a weekend of detailing, could still be competitive for the top spot. It's quite extraordinary.

The owner is a historian of note and did his due diligence on the restoration, duplicating the original color combination of Black over Dove Gray, right down to painting the insides of the 20-inch disc wheels bright red to match the pinstripe. Paint, chrome, and other exterior fittings are virtually without flaw and in show condition, with recent work including repainting the front fenders last fall. The pinstriping is entirely hand done, with "GRACE" spelled out on the passenger's side rear door. The top insert is excellent, the one-year-only cowl lamps are correct, and it features a lovely moto-meter and "lady with doughnut" hood ornament, as well as drum headlights that were fabricated from scratch during the restoration. Dual sidemounts and a fitted trunk, all with black canvas covers, give this imposing Packard incredible presence.

Inside, there's enough room for a basketball game, with lovely gray broadcloth stitched into the correct patterns. It shows virtually zero wear save for what the owner calls the "driving carpets" that are custom mats bound in leather. Underneath, the carpets are like new, as are the wood garnish moldings, all the brightly plated interior fittings, and the headliner. Everything works, including the wiper and BOTH clocks, which were recently restored for the third time (he's owned the car for 46 years, after all). All the gauges are operational, and the lovely wooden accessory cases in the rear seat area feature a few period dress-up items.

The engine is a 288 cubic inch inline-six, which Packard fans will note was the standard engine before 1929 and the introduction of the "Standard" Eight. Now before you scoff at a six in a big 7-passenger sedan (as I did), please come drive it. For one thing, it's only 30 cubic inches smaller than the Standard Eight that would follow, and out on the road, it's performance is more than adequate. I spent about an hour yesterday driving this car and was astounded by how tight, smooth, and well-composed it is. The body feels solid, the steering is precise, the brakes are surprisingly strong, and the engine just purrs along happily ignoring the mass of the body it's carrying. Seriously, it drives every bit as well as my V8 powered Cadillac, and the body feels worlds tighter. The engine is highly detailed and runs excusively on its original vacuum tank fuel system. After sitting since October, we turned on the fuel, hooked up the battery, and Gracie fired almost immediately and settled into a happy, smoke-free idle. She idled throughout the photo set and hardly registered any heat at all on the moto-meter.

Anyway, this car is impressive in every possible way. Today a vehicle like this, found in the condition in which it was found, would be little more than a parts car parted out on Ebay, but instead it enjoyed a frame-off restoration to the highest possible standards. With that in mind, as well as the fact that this is a show and tour-ready CCCA Full Classic, it's a bargain.












Edited by Matt Harwood
SOLD! (see edit history)
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