Packard built trucks with the same attention to detail, strength and quality that it applied to automobiles. Produced only from 1905-1923, Packard trucks are an overlooked part of the history of the marque.
This 1920 Packard Model E 3-ton should go a long way toward refurbishing the reputation and recognition of Packard trucks. It has been absolutely beautifully restored to better than new condition for the Miller & Hartman wholesale grocery company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania whose name -- along with client Anheuser Busch's Prohibition era Bevo ('The Beverage') drink -- is proudly carried on the truck's screenside body. Miller & Hartman had a fleet of six Packard trucks in the 1920's and as the company's 125th anniversary approached it came upon this truck gathering dust in a Danbury, Connecticut lumber yard where it had reputedly accumulated only 16,000 miles since it was built. Offered for sale by its 94-year old owner because 'it's getting too hard to crank the old thing', it was the ideal vehicle to commemorate Miller & Hartman's long history. It was acquired in 1989 and immediately began a full restoration to its present magnificent condition.
With its hood and fenders finished in black, the frame and running gear brightly contrasting in bright red and the screenside body finished in green it rides on wood spoke wheels with solid rubber tires. The enclosed cab is upholstered in black set off against varnished wood and utilitarian black painted floors, firewall, steering column and a freestanding binnacle with the engine controls. Exterior trim is similarly utilitarian in black paint, even the radiator with its Boyce MotoMeter cap, cab-mounted acetylene headlights and supplemental cowl lights. The identification is hand-painted in gold outlined in black or light green, a premiere example of the sign painter's art. The cargo compartment has a fixed white composite covered wood plank roof and wood floor with roll-down sides for weather protection. The wood is highly varnished throughout -- where it isn't flawlessly painted.
Power comes from a fixed-head side valve inline four cylinder engine with magneto ignition, a multi-disc clutch, 4-speed sliding gear transmission, worm drive and full-floating rear axle. The service brake is applied on the driveshaft while rear wheel expanding drum brakes are available for emergencies.
The enclosed cab, with tall oval quarter windows that give it extra elegance, is unusual for a truck of this era when drivers were descended from tough-as-nails teamsters accustomed to enduring privation in all seasons.
The magnificent restoration earned Miller & Hartman AACA National First prize, Senior status in 1990, Grand National in 1992 and an AACA Silver Platter and runs and drives beautifully. It comes with a copy Packard Operation and Care manual and a hard cover book "Building on the Past, a 125 Year History of Miller & Hartman 1869-1993" as well as three framed photos: one as-found, one as-restored and the third of one of the original Miller & Hartman Packard trucks.
This is without doubt one of the finest early 20th century trucks in existence, repeatedly judged as the best and then maintained in show-ready condition. It exhibits little evidence of use, even on the cab floors and step plates. The solid rubber tires are crisp and unworn. It would steal the show at a Packard meet or at any car or truck event. In quality, construction, restoration and maintenance this is a rare and imposing Packard that endorses the quality and reliability which made Packard one of the world's leading vehicle makers.
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