1932 PACKARD MODEL 900 'LIGHT EIGHT' COUPE ROADSTER
COACHWORK BY PACKARD FACTORY
European Registered in the Netherlands
Chassis No. 55986
Engine No. 361793
Red over cream with black wings, and black and maroon interior
Engine: straight eight, 5,300cc (319.1cu. in.), 110bhp; Gearbox: 3-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: vacuum operated four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
Starting in 1932 the Packard Motor Company made a decision to enter the mid-price range market. The Model 900 was to compete with the Auburn V12 Custom Series, Stutz LAA, Chrysler Imperial, Buick, La Salle and Studebaker all of which were priced in the $1500-2100 range. The new 'shovel nose' radiator was very good looking and the car lovely to drive. Aimed at counteracting the depression, in their advertising, Packard stated 'we are offering a car that can be purchased out of income and not capital.'
Sadly the endeavour was unsuccessful mostly because of Packard's inability to build a less expensive car using their existing assembly line, and still market it at an affordable level. The costs of production necessitated a price that was not modest enough to develop a new clientele, in fact it served to distract existing Packard clients from the 901 and 902 Series, which is cited as one of the reasons it was withdrawn so quickly from sale.
Contemporary reports and those examples such as this that survive, confirm that it was through no fault of the model itself, that its production span was shortlived, introduced in January 1932, discontinued in December 1932, even so some 6,750 units were built. Indeed it was quite remarkable, the mechanical specification featuring an engine block thermostat with no shutters, and heated carburettor intake, the clutch was automatic and brakes were vacuum operated, the chassis had ride control, and drivetrain had an angle set differential. All this was provided for the price of seventy percent of even the cheapest Standard Eight.
A slightly shorter wheelbase than the Eighth Series models, meant coachwork was not directly transferrable, with the result that new sweeping modern lines stretched back from the distinctive new radiator, giving the cars a new look of their own which were designed by Werner Gubitz, Packards head-designer at that time. Only a handful of styles were offered, the majority of which, were four door sedans, less that an sixth of those produced were fitted with what is arguably the best proportioned, lightest and attractive design that was available, the Coupe Roadster. In its present livery highlights the flowing coachwork lines, unbroken by the single spare that is mounted to the rear of the car, rather than to the side.
Original factory options fitted to the car incude, five spoke wheels shod with whitewall tyres, chrome plated radiator shell and Packard exhaust end tip, a correct pair of 'Trippe' lights mounted to the front bumper, and in the interior are an Eight Day Waltham right side glove box clock, and Packard encrypted rear view mirror clock. The presentation of the car is completed by a rare Red-Ashay glass ladies head mascot, which can be illuminated underneath by pulling a switch from the dashboard. (The Packard Flying Goddess mascot is also supplied.)
The car was imported to Europe in 1995, and has remained in a private collection since. A good example of an older, but American and therefore high quality restoration, the car has continued to be well-maintained, with regular servicing by Bart Holland Restorations. In testament to its overall presentation it was invited to be exhibited at the first Concours d'élégance Paleis Het Loo, at Apeldoorn, Holland.