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1931 Packard 833 5-Passenger Phaeton

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If you know this car or the owner, please refrain from naming him--privacy is why he works with us.


I've known this car for many years and it has been owned by a close friend of mine who just bought a new project and needs the space in his garage. He's owned this handsome 833 phaeton for more than a decade and while it is far from a show car, it is an extremely reliable and attractive tour car. The seller is one of those guys who likes to know how things work and to make them work properly (his other hobbies are restoring grandfather clocks and vintage firearms). As a result, this Packard works right and has been a reliable tour car. Every time I've seen it on the road, it has successfully completed the trip without incident, regardless of distance. 

Three years ago, it was partially repainted--the blue areas used to be orange, complements of a 1970s restoration. I think the change is for the better and gives it a bright look that isn't as dated. The tan areas are still in good shape as well, despite being 40+ years old, and the chrome is excellent throughout. The running boards were restored recently as well and it carries both the "donut pusher" ornament and a plain radiator cap, depending on your mood. Other accessories include the driver's side spotlight (not wired) and an authentic Packard trunk out back,, and the horns are not correct for an 8th Series car. It also has dual taillights for touring safety (which permitted the installation of turn signals). The radiator shutters are permanently fixed in the open position.

The brown leatherette interior dates to that 1970s restoration, so it's showing some age and it isn't exactly correct, but for tour use it's great. No worries, weatherproof, and you won't think twice about jumping in. All the gauges work and auxiliary panels are under the dash for turn signals and presumably a switch for the spotlight. There's a pushbutton for the starter that I don't believe is correct (was Packard still using foot pedals in 1931?), but the throttle and headlight controls on the steering column are fully operational. A little choke is all it takes to fire and the thing settles into a smooth idle almost instantly--what else would you expect from a Packard? The top is in excellent condition and does fold and the top saddles are included, although we decided not to do put the top down for photos. A full set of side curtains are included for touring.


The 320 cubic inch straight-8 was reportedly rebuilt when the first restoration was completed and it runs quite well today. It's tidy and clean under the hood, although not detailed for show, and it's mostly correct. The bright red plug wires are obviously not factory-issue, but it does carry a correct generator, starter, fuel pump, and carburetor (Stromberg is correct for the 8th Series, correct?). The Bijur chassis lubrication system is still there but not hooked up—ever seen the mess it makes on a garage floor? Packard Green paint looks right and there's plenty of evidence of recent work, including plus, hoses, belts, and acorn nuts on the head. It pulls the 133-inch chassis around with ease and is happy to cruise at 50 MPH all day. It never gets hot, never suffers from vapor lock, and just goes about its business like a Packard should. The transmission shifts easily, although the clutch is a little odd--it engages easily and has smooth take-up but if you push it to the floor, it starts to disengage again and gears grind, so we're looking into an adjustment (but if the mechanically-oriented owner didn't do it, I'm guessing it can't be done). Brakes are firm and confident and ride quality is pretty good considering the leaf springs (with correct metal gaiters!) and rigid axles. You'll note the chassis is grimy from tour use, but there's nothing seriously amiss aside from some minor seepage from the usual spot. Six 19-inch Lester wide whites were installed when the wheels were refinished with the body, and have plenty of life left in them.


I have this car priced the same as that handsome black Marmon I sold a few months ago--it's not as nice but it is a Packard and a Full Classic. It drives just as well and if you want a low-maintenance tour car that still looks dramatic, this is a great choice. Price is $89,900, which is fairly reasonable for a sporting Packard phaeton. Thanks for looking!


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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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On 9/12/2020 at 9:43 PM, Matt Harwood said:



If you know this car or the owner, please refrain from naming him--privacy is why he works with us.



This is true for any car -- any post, for that matter. No individual's name should be used unless it's your own or if it's essential to the article. In fact, it should be one of the rules of the forum. If someone needs the information related to any of my posts they can PM me and I'll be glad to put them in touch if possible. 




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5 hours ago, bdc said:

Beautiful car but I'm wondering if another less flashy color should of been chosen over the Subaru blue. I think the car would of looked better but I'm certainly no color expert.


I don't disagree that it's a little bright (it's not as vivid in person but our bright white studio with harsh lights really make it look that way). However, you can see in the photo below how it looked before the blue paint a few years ago (car in the middle):




I'm not going to complain about the loss of the orange and brown combination. Also, this is the seller's other Packard that he restored, and he liked the color:



Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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