16 August 1998
FROM THE ESTATE OF JEROME KELLNER
1941 PACKARD SUPER-8 180 CUSTOM FORMAL SEDAN
Chassis no. 0502565
Engine: L-Head V8, 356ci, 160bhp at 3,500rpm; Gearbox: 3-speed Synchromesh; Suspension: semi elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: hydraulic drum. Left hand drive.
James Ward Packard, an electrical lamp manufacturer from Warren, Ohio, and his brother bought their first car, a Winton in 1898. Dissatisfied with it they decided to design and build their own car and in 1903 opened their new factory in Detroit, becoming within a few years one of America's leading car manufacturers.
In the early 1930s Packard controlled over 50 of the luxury car market, they managed this by offering a wide variety of automobiles to choose from. Packard became known as an innovative car company that was always attempting to improve upon its own creations. They were the first company to introduce a V12 engined car into production starting in 1915 under the model name Twin Six and it's success was measured by 35,046 being built before it gave way to the Straight Eight in 1922. The 1930 introduction of Cadillac V16 prompted Packard to rethink its engineering specifications and designs before they lost potential owners to the larger comparable Cadillac cars.
Throughout the 30s Packard consistently made improvements to its lineup and was able to retain much of its market share. However the onset of WWII caused the entire automobile industry to suffer, Packard production topped off at a meager 46,065 in 1939. Nevertheless, the low sales and production of the previous years did not effect Packard in 1940 as production doubled to over 98,000. Packard executives were not satisfied and felt their place in the market was not secure. As a result new changes were inplemented for the 1941 models. The trademark long body of the car was extended further adding five inches at the hood. The grillework was elongated and widened, while the headlamps were incorperated into the fenders. The effects of both resulted in a more dramatic and refined front, completed of course by the Packard Pelican Hood ornament.
In 1940 Packard's advertising slogan was spoils you for all other cars, in 1941 it evolved to the the class of '41. One of the flagships of this class was the Super-8 180 Formula Sedan. At an original cost of over $5,000, the 180 was the formal example of the best Packard had to offer. The car included every amenity available and was one of the only Packards offered with a wide variety of coachworks. Six different coachbuilders offered a wide variety of interiors in addition to the four standard versions offered by Packard. The custom built Formal Sedans as they were built offered as special order cars, the result was a total production of only 930. One such example is the Super-8 180 on offer here today.
At the time of printing very little information on the history of this Packard 180 is known. Those interested should feel free to call a Christie's Motor Car Specialist the week of the auction for a comprehensive detailed report concerning the Packard on offer here. This Formal Sedan is recognized as a Full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America and is therefore eligible for many club sponsored events.
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Please note the photograph in the catalogue is of a different model. The car we have on offer is a seven passenger limousine not a Le Baron sport as photographed.
Also, it is fitted with overdrive transmission.
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