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Matt Harwood

1934 Packard 1101 5-Passenger Sedan *SOLD*

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*SOLD*

 

I acquired this lovely 1934 Packard sedan in a trade a few weeks ago and I'm having a hard time letting go. A 1934 Packard is my end game, the only car I've truly wanted since I was a kid. When the trade offer came in, he told me it was an 1100 sedan, the base model with a 129-inch wheelbase. So you can imagine my surprise and delight when this 1101 showed up, complete with a luxuriously long 137-inch wheelbase. I was only too happy to take it in from the previous owner, who was in his late 80s and decided that the big Packard was just too much to manage anymore. In the weeks since, we've spent a considerable amount of time and money cleaning it up and fine-tuning it, and now it's a fantastic tour car that drives and handles great. Some of the new stuff includes a rebuilt carburetor and a new fuel pump, fresh tires, and a thorough flush and clean-out of the fuel system. The previous owner had a lot of work done in the last year, including a valve job and brakes, so it really is a fantastic driver now. The paint is probably 40 years old, maybe more, but after a full clean up and some touching-up of the details, it looks pretty darned good. It's got a good gloss and there's obviously no bad bodywork hiding underneath. But yes, it's old paint and there are nicks and scratches here and there, some fading in spot, and one area on the hood where someone sprayed in a touch up with a color that's maybe one shade too dark. But for touring and casual use, it looks great. The same is true of the chrome, with some of it being fresh and some being original. The grille shell and shutters are in good shape but they're 1934 chrome, so there's a light dusting of pitting on the outer shell--I was strongly considering painting it to match the bodywork because I prefer that look, and that's what I'd do if I were keeping it. The bumpers are excellent and were obviously refinished more recently. The "donut pusher" hood ornament is exquisitely detailed and I strongly believe it's an NOS piece that has never been chromed--it looks like a raw casting and should chrome beautifully with extra crisp details. There's also a plain hood ornament that's in the same shape as the radiator shell. Headlight buckets are nice, door handles are good, and the taillight housings are in good order. All exterior lights are working except the Trippe lights up front and I'm wondering if they're even hooked up because I can't find a switch.

 

As far as I can tell, the interior is 100% original, save for one strip of the back seat lower cushion. I'll admit that the front seat is a bit tattered and we were going to reupholster just the driver's seat, but we couldn't find a suitable fabric that matched everything else. Believe me, we tried, including calling companies in England and Sweden. Yes, we tried that guy. And that guy you're thinking of. And that company you used. We really tried. Failing that, we decided not to go any farther for two reasons: one, whoever buys this car might want something different than what I picked (especially since a color change might be in this car's future), and two, when faced with originality that you can use and replacement to keep some whiners from complaining, I'll choose originality every time. So we gave it a deep cleaning instead. It's presentable and clean, doesn't smell funky, and yes, while there are some threadbare spots and areas where the moths got to it, it's still totally functional as-is. The headliner is beautiful, the door panels are quite good, and except for the passenger's front door garnish molding, all the woodgraining is excellent. Gauges are just lovely and they all work except the gas gauge. Dome light works, steering wheel controls work, the horns honk nice and loud, and there are brand new windshield wiper motors in a box ready to be installed (probably best to do that when you do the interior so you don't disturb the headliner). I have fellow forum member BillP to thank for that cool shift knob--come get your free lunch, Bill!

 

The engine is Packard's friendly and robust 320 cubic inch straight-8. This one has been rebuilt with an .030 overbore, and as I mentioned, it has also just had a valve job. At that time, the bearings were checked and they're good and it makes about 15 pounds of oil pressure at hot idle and about 50 PSI at cruising speed, so no issues inside. We rebuilt the carburetor, cleaned out the fuel system, and installed a new fuel pump, and this sucker fires up the first time every time. Pull out the choke about 3/4 of an inch and press the button and it's running. The generator makes good electricity and regulates down to 0 as you drive and it seems to hover around 160 degrees under normal driving. I've been driving it quite a bit and it's been 85-90 here lately, and it never threatens to get out of hand. We cleaned the engine and debated about painting it and cleaning it up, but it's really not bad. The head was painted when it was off a few months ago, and they painted the exhaust manifold at the same time. The aluminum crank case is bright and clean and the big air cleaner assembly looks good, too. There's the usual crustiness around the water jacket, but it's not actively leaking at this time. Wiring is a combination of original and new stuff that isn't pretending to be correct, but at least everything works like it should. New belts and hoses, fresh coolant in the radiator, and fresh fluids in the engine and transmission round out the list of recent service. The Bijur system is there but I don't think it's connected, but I haven't tried pushing the plunger, either--my floors are white. It's original and unrestored underneath, but also solid and in good order with no rust or glaring needs. The exhaust system is older and I'd replace it because it's a little more aggressive-sounding than I'd like for a Packard. Nice 8-cylinder grumble, but a Packard should whisper. Yes, it leaks--doesn't your old car leak? It's not a major leaker, but you're going to get drops under the engine and rear end. Welcome to the world of old cars. The wheels were cleaned and fitted with fresh Lester wide whites, which I think look great.

 

So here it is, ready to tour right now, today. Looks great and nobody will argue that a '34 Packard isn't on everybody's A-list. Totally restored, this is probably an $80,000 car, maybe more at this point, but I think that's a mistake. Get in, turn the key, and drive the doors off it. It cruises at 50 MPH very easily and will do more if you want. Ride is superlative, and a lot of expensive, difficult work is already done. If you want a new interior in it, let's talk, because my guy says he can do it fairly reasonably--door panels, seats, side and back panels, and carpets. But please promise me you'll drive it, because it does that extremely well.

 

We're asking $39,900. Go find more Packard for less money. Or come take this one for a spin and be impressed by just how well it works. Thanks for reading!

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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I read all these posts to absorb information. What is with the gauge marked gasoline/oil? Thanks!

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34 minutes ago, leon bee said:

I read all these posts to absorb information. What is with the gauge marked gasoline/oil? Thanks!

There is a button you can push that changes the gas gauge to the crankcase oil level gauge. So you can check your oil while driving down the road.

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" What is with the gauge marked gasoline/oil? "

 

A dual purpose gauge which shows either fuel level in the gas tank or oil level in the engine, all at the flick of a switch!

 

EDIT - Pipped at the post by Brass is Best!

Edited by Ozstatman (see edit history)

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Guest BillP

I always look forward to reading Matt's posts and this is one of his very best.

 

Looking forward to lunch Matt, I'll be down sometime if work/life ever slows down.

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And you are letting this gem go why?

Stunning car.

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