29 August 1999
1929 PACKARD 645 SPORT PHAETON
COACHWORK BY DIETRICH
Chassis No. 174937
Engine No. 175128
Black with red highlights and red leather interior
Engine: straight eight, 384.8ci., 120bhp at 3,200rpm; Gearbox: three speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
The eight cylinder engine that Packard had revealed in 1923 as a successor to the V12 provided the backbone of Packard's future production until the end of the 1930's. The design was a simple side valve (L-head) of the highest quality with a light alloy crankcase with the crankshaft running in nine main bearings. It gave smooth and effortless performance.
The new engine provided the model name for Packard's most prestigious model of this era, the Eight. The eight cylinder was designated the 645 for 1929 and was offered in 21 body styles. This car carries the very desirable and attractive Sport Phaeton coachwork designed by Dietrich. The name of Dietrich is always closely associated with the finest coachbuilt Packards of the late 1920s and early 30s.
1929 marked the first application of the Packard family coat-of-arms as a radiator emblem. The temperature gauge was removed from the radiator filler cap to a more easily read dash-mounted position and an automatic cylinder oiler avoided engine wear caused by dry starts.
The 645 Phaeton on offer here was first sold to Mr. Edward Fitzgerald of New Jersey in 1930 by Charles I. Rice and is documented by the original bill of sale and contract between the two gentlemen. Mr. Fitzgerald owned the car until 1983 when he sold it to Mr. Louis Melchoir also of New Jersey. While under the long ownership of Mr. Fitzgerald, the Packard remained original, however vastly deteriorated and in untouched condition retaining almost all of its original trim. The car's second owner, Mr. Mechior also kept the 645 in original condition, retaining the original paperwork and photos of the car while under Mr. Fitzgerald's ownership.
The Packard was then sold to its third owner who commissioned a thorough frame off restoration to return the handsome Packard to its original glory. Photos of the restoration illustrate the full extent of the overall project. The interior was completely redone with red leather and the correct darker red carpeting. A new tan top was fitted to complete the Packard's overall sleek appearance. This Packard 645 Sport Phaeton has all the accoutrements for all weather touring with its side curtains, top boot and rear seat tonneau cover, all of which matches the tan top.
This Packard is considered a Full Classic by the CCCA and is eligible for all tours and club events. Highly suitable for competition, the Packard is described by the vendor as being in excellent overall condition.
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