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1939 Packard 120 vs. Super Eight


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Hi.

Can comeone tell me the differences between a Packard 120 and the Super Eight of 1939? Am I right that by 1939 they used the same bodies? Is the chassis the same except for the engine?

If I have an opportunity to buy either one, any recommendations for someone who wants a reliable daily driver car?

Thanks -- Scott

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Scott, I think either car would be a good choice. The 120 engine would be less expensive to rebuild if needed and probably easier to come by parts. The transmissions are the same in both cars. Overdrive would be a real plus if you are going to do any highway driving.

What condition are the cars you are looking at?

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As mentioned the 1939 120 and Super Eights are both wonderful cars and are very similar and shared most body and chassis components The differences were mainly in trim level and as mentioned, the engine . I think that for availability and expense of engine parts the 120 would be the easier to find since the more modern 120 engine 282 CID(120HP) was used in Packards from 1935 to 1947 and many more were produced whereas the Super Eights venerable 320CID (130HP) was discontinued when the 356 CID engine was introduced in 1940. Performance was about the same. Other than that there is not really much to chose between the two models in 1939 as both were excellent cars. Good luck.

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The green Convertible is a 12 Cylinder (1708) model on a 139" wheelbase not a Super Eight (1703-1705)and the white sedan looks like a 6 (1700). The 12 was made in very low numbers in 1939 and retained the body lines of the 1938 with wood framing etc. while the Super Eight body and chassis was changed to the dimensions and all steel body construction of the 120. The 120 and Super Eight both used a 127" wheel base chassis. The 6 used a 122"

The engine of the 1937-39 Super Eight was the 319CID engine. The last Super Eight to use the 385" engine was 1936.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Thanks, Dave

I'll try to remember this time. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

But Probably not. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> </div></div>

Speedster, Believe me I don't keep it all in my head! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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The condition of the two cars is similar but not the same.

They both are on the road and ready to drive.

The 120 is low(lower) milage at 44,000 and allegedly quite a nice all original, well preserved and well taken care of car. Blled as needing nothing.

The Super 8 is higher milage at 88,000 and has a few minor issues like upholstery, steering wheel, etc. Probably little problems associated with high milage will come up. But it is also billed as a daily driver, needing nothing.

Neither car has had the engine rebuilt, to my knowledge.

--Scott

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The comments regarding the engine are accurate - stick with the 120, especially if the car has been maintained. If you're wanting to be a "Senior" Packard guy, go with a '38 or earlier. The 120 is a simple, inexpensive, and reliable engine to operate. Goes pretty much for the whole car. As for the Super8, the trim and generally anything else that is Super8 specific is generally more expensive, in particular BEWARE THE COST OF THE DASH PLASTIC. That said, "don't say I didn't tell you so...."

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I agree. If the upholstery or platic needs redoing on a Super Eight it will be very expensive. Depends on how much you want the prestige of owning a CCCA Classic. The Super Eight is a CCCA Classic and the 120 is not. I would likely opt for the Super Eight but that's just my preference.

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Scott, if you have the opportunity to drive and inspect both cars it will mean more than most anything we can add here. Either car could be a good choice for you depending on many unknowns at this point. The dash plastic is but one factor in comparing both these cars and certainly should not be the deciding one.

Better yet,if you can, find an old car guy to go with you and inspect these cars. Take your time and take notes on condition and problems you spot.

Are both these cars close to you?

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One car is close (150 miles on the train), the other car is pretty far. Far enough that I am beginning to doubt that I will be able to go see it, as appealing as it is.

Can someone comment on the reliability of the column shift, a first for 1939?

What is a comfortable cruising speed without overdrive?

And are overdrives available for these cars so that I could install one later, or are they just about non-existant? Someone said that for 1939, the one I want is unique to that year.

--Scott

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Assuming they are the same body, condition and price you would be insane not to buy the 180.

1. The 180 is a full forty horsepower greater than the 120.

2. The 180 is accepted as a full CCCA classic.

3. When you go to resell it you will have a better chance of recouping your money as the 180 cars are a definite premium over the 120 cars.

regards, A.J.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Assuming they are the same body, condition and price you would be insane not to buy the 180.

1. The 180 is a full forty horsepower greater than the 120.

2. The 180 is accepted as a full CCCA classic.

3. When you go to resell it you will have a better chance of recouping your money as the 180 cars are a definite premium over the 120 cars.

regards, A.J. </div></div> A.J. The other car is a 1939 Super Eight with the 130HP 319CID engine not a 1940 with a 356 160HP engine. I agree with the other two comments however.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">One car is close (150 miles on the train), the other car is pretty far. Far enough that I am beginning to doubt that I will be able to go see it, as appealing as it is.

Can someone comment on the reliability of the column shift, a first for 1939?

What is a comfortable cruising speed without overdrive?

And are overdrives available for these cars so that I could install one later, or are they just about non-existant? Someone said that for 1939, the one I want is unique to that year.

--Scott </div></div>

Scott, Since no one else has jumped in I will try to answer your questions based on my somewhat limited knowledge of 1939 Packards.

The "Handi-shift" columnh shift can be a problem but if properly adjusted and with good bushings it works just fine.

You should have no problem cruising comfortably at 55-60 m.p.h. in either car. I know others will say 70 is no problem but I like to keep my 1947 Packard under that speed unless in overdrive.

The overdrive for the 1939 cars is different from the 1940 and later cars but the transmissions are the same. I suspect that the later overdrive units would fit without problem if you can find one with all the pieces.

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The 39 Super Eight is based on the previous Standard Eight.

The 160 and 180 refer to the 1940 - 42 cars with the 356.

The 120 of these years has the 282.

The best performer of the lot would probably be the rather rare 1940 160 Business Coupe.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">And are overdrives available for these cars so that I could install one later, or are they just about non-existant? Someone said that for 1939, the one I want is unique to that year. </div></div>

The main difference in the od used in the 39 cars(R6 Warner) vs the 40-49 cars(R9 Warner) is that it used a centrifugal clutch for cut in. If adjustment is needed it's done through an access hole in the od case. The cut in on the 40 cars was done electrically with a governor. There are other differences in the od relay and wiring.

The R9 od would be adaptable to the 39 cars.

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I own both a 1700 and a 1703 and I like them both, but the Super 8 is a better car, there are a lot of trim differences - the headlights are totally different and much better looking on the Super, there is a fluted chrome trim running front to back, alternately painted grill shutters (that much less to chrome),much nicer running board mats with special trim, nicer bumpers and gaurds, a much nicer interior with higher quality wool and Marshall individually bagged coil seat springs and rear seat folding arm rest, nicer carpet, nicer door handles interior and exterior (the sort that Jr guys upgrade to on their 41s...), wood grain panels on the doors and rear 1/4, wood grained garnish moldings rather than plain brown, a much nicer instrument set with gold faces and a different speedo and clock. The dash plastic is often bad, but remember that having the dash professionally woodgrained is very expensive too, almost as much as the plastic and it is easy to damage. 39 Supers had marblized plastic which is very exotic looking and showy when done. The Super also has bigger brakes and stiffer suspension and most have overdrive and sway bars. The engine may not have a lot more horsepower, but with a very long stroke, it has lots of torque and it drives a lot better than my 6 or the 120. Another plus factor for the Super is that it is a Classic, and you can take it on CCCA caravans and regional events and have a great reliable driver, that is also fun. The 320 engine is a good one and has all the refinements of an engine that was developed over 10+ years. It is not hard to rebuild or maintain. Both are good cars and will give you a lot of enjoyment.

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