1931 PACKARD 845 ROLLSTON VICTORIA CONVERTIBLE
COACHWORK BY ROLLSTON
Chassis No. 190864
Engine No. 190874
Brewster Green with tan leather interior
Engine: straight eight L-head, 384.84 ci., 120hp at 3,200rpm; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel drums. Left hand drive.
The Packard Eighth series was introduced following the impressive 1930 Seventh series that achieved great success. In 1931 however, Packard executives looked to increase their profits by expanding on their past creations both stylistically and mechanically. They renamed the Packard 'Custom' the 'Deluxe'. Despite the trying economic times, the company flooded the newspapers and billboards of almost every major city with their advertisements so American buyers of luxury cars would immediately think of the Packard name.
These new DeLuxe Packards owed much of their improved styling and mechanics to the 734 Speedster line from 1930. Though very few Speedsters were ever produced in their single year of production, their advanced engineering laid the groundwork for developing an equally impressive and competitive Eighth series. The Eighth series Packards produced 120hp, up from the previous year's 100hp. This was done by borrowing the 734 engine design and improving it to utilize a preheated carburation mixture that entered the inlet ports through wider passages which allowed for increased combustion. The vacuum tank was replaced with a cam operated Stewart Warner fuel pump that was placed on the end of the timing chain cover, limiting vacuum power use for windshield wiper operation only. 734 styling was implemented on the 845 with the usage of the sexy, long flowing fenders. Despite Packard's attempts to create interest and gain attention for their cars, the ensuing sales did not live up to the expectations of the Packard executives. Instead, the Packard team was forced to introduce the Ninth series earlier than expected, leaving a surplus of unsold Packard Eighth series cars for dealers to sell. Production in 1931 was also at a low, with only 15,450 cars produced, of which 3,345 were DeLuxe models. The Depression had truly hit and the Packard Eighth series cars were downright affordable with published sale prices lower than they had ever been for a luxury car of that caliber. The then minimally successful Eighth series would only come to reach its full potential in both value and appreciation years later at the hands of avid collectors and enthusiasts of the Packard marque such as William Lassiter.
This Packard 845, which was the flagship of the Packard line in 1931, was the first 'full classic' owned by William Lassiter and has remained a favored car for many years. In 1979 Mr. Lassiter purchased the car from Mr. Jack Miller of Peachtree City, GA, who had commissioned a ground up restoration from Dick Terhune in Virginia. This superb restoration was awarded many First Place National Awards in the late 1970s by the Antique Automobile Club of America, becoming a Senior Winner in 1979. Mr. Lassiter sold this car to the renowned Packard collector, Ray Bowersox of Pennsylvania, and then bought it back from Bowersox in 1988. Since then this car appears to have been meticulously maintained and is in very good condition throughout. The paint and interior appear extremely clean and well preserved for a car that was restored twenty years ago. The engine compartment and motor also appear well maintained, very clean and sparingly used. The underbody shows almost no road wear and is extremely clean and detailed as well. There are some signs of age in the exterior brightwork, which seem to have recently developed minor blemishing. Overall this car has been thoroughly restored, well maintained and enjoyed for its sexy and sleek body lines and its high speed, open top touring potential.
This 845 is equipped with many of the options that were available from the Packard sales catalogue, including chrome side mount covers with mirrors, C.M. Hall headlamps and steering operated dual Pilot Ray driving lamps. Additionally, the car features the stainless steel and green finished wire spoke wheels, whitewall tires with dual spares and a fitted black leather trunk. It is reported that Rollston constructed only six of these beautiful Victoria Convertible Coupes in 1931 and that today only three examples remain - William Lassiter's is one of these three. This Packard 845 is regarded as a full classic and is eligible for all Classic Car Club of America events and tours.