Saint Louis, MO
The Packard 8th Series made its debut on August 14 1931 at a time when the automaker was beginning to face serious competition from its cross-town rivals at Cadillac. While Packard had remained sales leader through 1930 Cadillac s twelve and sixteen cylinder engines as well as the value LaSalle brand began to pose a serious threat. But Packard soldiered on and with the 8th series they continued their traditional approach with impeccably built beautifully styled automobiles with an unerring sense of quality. The practice of offering buyers standard and semi-custom bodies continued with fabulous styles by the likes of LeBaron Rollston Dietrich and Derham gracing the flagship 145-inch Deluxe Eight chassis. Of the variety of body styles and configurations available it is the elegant convertible coupe by LeBaron that stood out among the most attractive and desirable. It boasted distinctive lines including a wide beltline molding attractively sloping doors elegantly sloping rear deck and a distinctive convertible top that folded flush with the body for a clean smooth line all the way through the car. The design was so attractive that it would later be borrowed by Packard almost point-for-point to become the factory s production coupe roadster body of 1932 1934.Only three such LeBaron-bodied Deluxe Eight Convertible Coupes are known to survive today. Our featured example riding on the 145-inch wheelbase chassis presents in handsome condition wearing an older but high quality restoration and benefitting from some recent freshening. The firewall plate identifies the car as having been delivered new on February 10 1931 by the legendary Earle C. Anthony Packard dealership in Oakland California. An unusual and rarely seen secondary tag denotes the car was resold as a Used Packard via a Chicago dealer on March 14 1933 indicating the car had relocated to the Midwest early in its life. Further investigation of the component numbers on the engine frame and steering box reveals them to be in very close sequence indicating they are original to this particular car. Its early life is as-yet unknown but this fabulous Packard surfaced in the 1950s as an excellent original car when it became part of the well-known enthusiast Wayne Merriman s collection. Merriman sold the car in the 1960s to the former Classic Car Club of America President Gene Perkins of Indiana. Mr. Perkins had the car restored by a friend though it was reportedly in very good order to begin with. He kept the car for many years and during his tenure it was featured in Hugo Pfau s book The Coach-Built Packard.Today this fine Packard presents in lovely condition throughout. It retains its original body which is finished in a unique creamy tan color with medium tan body lines. The feature lines subtly outline the body sides with the arrow-like speedform at the leading edge of the bonnet lending a sensation of motion even while sitting still. It is a subdued but very attractive color combination with the bright red wire wheels and blackwall tires giving the car a sporty and purposeful appearance. The distinctive body is fitted with a trunk rather than a typical rumble seat which is believed to be a unique feature of this example. A trunk rack provides room for additional carrying capacity allowing copious luggage space for long-distance touring. Dual side mount spares wear body-colored covers with lovely chrome tops. Dual steerable Pilot Ray driving lamps a Goddess of Speed mascot radiator stone guard and freshly re-chromed bumpers add some additional flash without taking away from the stunning LeBaron lines.A true two-seat Packard roadster the cozy cabin is trimmed in tan leather with complementing door panels and dark brown carpets. Upholstery quality is very good showing light signs of use but generally good and tidy and appearing well kept since the restoration was completed. The wood-grained dash panel is fitted with original instruments and Jaeger clock as well as a rare Earl C. Anthony service plaque. Packard s 385 Cubic Inch inline-eight cylinder engine is well-presented showing signs of use but remaining in good tidy order with correct Packard Green paint and black porcelain manifolds. The 8th series engine featured some of the improvements made for the 745 Speedster and produced a healthy 120 horsepower. This car runs and drives very well having benefitted from fettling by the experts at Stone Barn Restorations in 2016.This beautiful LeBaron creation served as the prototype for 1932-1934 Packard Coupe Roadsters and it remains a very important design in Packard history. Its significance hasn t gone unnoticed having been enjoyed by well-known connoisseurs of the marque. It presents today in handsome condition an ideal choice for CCCA CARavan Touring or casual show.