1931 Packard DeluxeDeLuxe Eight Convertible Coupe
To be OFFERED AT AUCTION at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale event, April 1-3, 2016.
$140,000 - $170,000 US
The design and build of a Packard motorcar called for a finely balanced measure of many arts, crafts and sciences. Packard’s acknowledged mastery in each discipline resulted in a worldwide reputation for beauty, performance and longevity. In the period of this car, more Packards were exported than any other make in its class; abroad as at home, the Packard brand was dominate in the fine car market.
The Packard Motor Car Company introduced its Eighth Series cars on August 14, 1930. Among the changes were larger hubcaps, steering wheels now had three spokes instead of four, fenders were marginally deeper, plus additional design details that took a trained eye to discern. The misnomered “Custom” identification for the 740’s was dropped; all large Eights (such as this car) were now called “DeLuxe.” The new 845 and 840 were in one line now, with the longer wheelbase (845) cars being utilized only for seven-passenger sedans and limousines. This 840 DeLuxe Eight has the 140.5-inch chassis.
Eighth Series Packards had more power than their predecessors; manifolds and valves from the 1930s speedster engine had been adopted across the board, resulting in a horsepower boost to 120 on the 384.8 cubic inch L-head straight eight “Senior” Deluxe models. Meanwhile, the deepening Depression took its toll. While more than 6,000 Deluxe Eights had been produced in the 1930 model year, only a reported 2,035 were built for 1931, with nearly three-quarters of them being built before the end of the 1930 calendar year.
The current owner of this car is only its second possessor; he has owned it for more than 40 years. When it first came to his attention, it was a wonderful one-owner Packard with only 27,000 miles on the odometer. A friend had been asked to conduct an appraisal for a woman of wealth’s estate in St. Paul, Minnesota and amongst her treasures was this beautiful, original Packard. The cowl data tag shows the Packard was sold through Worman Motors, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota with a July 13, 1931 date of delivery. While listed as exempt, the owner states that he feels the displayed mileage of less than 32,000 is correct for the car; concluded by using his long term ownership and the knowledge he has of the cars origins and its place in the estate when first seen.
Approximately 30 years ago, the owner decided to restore the car in a body-off-frame fashion that was executed with all-new paint and leather, plus newly chromed wire wheels from Dayton Wire Wheels. Another feature of note on this convertible coupe is the rare, factory-installed automatic vacuum clutch which made it easier for the elderly lady owner to be able to shift and drive the car. This feature is controlled by a special red knob on the steering wheel. The Packard had the engine totally rebuilt in the 1990s (around 2,000 miles ago); it is stated to be unbelievably quiet, powerful and fast. This is likely aided in part by having the original Packard high speed rear end gearing.
Also in the ‘90s, he had a new top installed and with the original Packard cabin heater, plus roll-up windows with tight seals, the Packard “stays amazingly warm in cold weather.” The car has, what is described as, a recent cosmetic restoration in which the paint, interior, chrome and mechanical features are well-maintained and fully functional. The owner states that “while the paint is still in very good condition, some of the black is aging, but as seen in the photos, it polishes up very well.” In the 1990s, full advantage was taken with the Packard’s Full Classic status in the Classic Car Club of America and was toured throughout Florida in various CARavans without issue. He considers it to be the fastest and most comfortable of the nearly 20 Packards he owns and adds that he would grade it as a great touring class automobile.
Looking nicely attired in white with black fenders, top and leather interior; the 840 DeLuxe Convertible Coupe displays landau irons and the red hue on the brake drums nicely complements the pinstripes and allows the chromed wire wheels to glisten in subtle arrays of color. The tasteful presentation is all the better with the many features that accompany the car in the form of dual-sidemounted spares with mirrors, dual Trippe “Speedlights,” radiator grille guard, rumbleseat with a rare windshield, tilt-out windshield, “golf bag” compartment, radiator mascot, luggage rack, new old stock Packard trunk from the soon-to-follow “Super Eight” era, whitewall tires and added directional signals. The original jack, tools and owner's manual remain with the car. The artistically presented woodgrain dash and instrumentation is keeping with the period elegance.
Ask the man who owns one; why not enjoy the distinction and luxury of Packard’s timeless sophistication?
1931 Packard DeLuxe Eight Convertible Coupe