Packard was at the height of their golden age in the late 1920’s. They were enjoying steady commercial success with the junior six-cylinder models, a car that served buyers who aspired to own a grand “senior” Packard, but at a more affordable price. The six was still a very well built and luxurious car, but with a significant price difference between the two. While Packard enjoyed steady volume sales with the six, the eight made stronger profits per unit and helped to maintain their deserved luxury image. It was a perfect balance, aspiring buyers could enjoy Packard prestige in the six, but the cars were far enough apart in the market where the top line Eight still enjoyed its place at the pinnacle of the American car market. The model 443 was one of those eight-cylinder cars at the very top of Packard’s offerings. It was named such because it is the fourth series, and it rides on the grand 143” wheelbase. For 1928, the 443 was treated to some styling enhancements, including thicker radiator shell and larger headlamps. In-house body designs were massaged and notably, Disteel disc wheels became available. Mechanical changes were made so that any any car could be now fitted with wire wheels, disc wheels or wooden artillery wheels depending on customer preference. Previously, it took a change of hubs, brake drums and all sorts of other bits to make a change, now all it took was a simple swap of wheel bolts. Packard 443s of 1928 were also fitted with an ingenious new oiling system that added additional oil flow when the choke was engaged – the theory was that increased fuel flow with the choke activated could wash down the cylinders and cause damage during cold starts. The additional oil flow helped coat the cylinders and protect the engine from damage. Features like these helped to solidify Packard’s reputation for building the finest and most durable American cars of the period.
This 1928 443 Deluxe Dual-Windshield Phaeton is a delightfully elegant motorcar from Packard’s brightest years. This example was treated to a full restoration some time ago and has held up quite well, now displaying a charming patina and featuring well-sorted mechanicals. It is finished in a lovely cream-colored main body with green accents and black fenders, an appropriate and attractive color combination. Disteel disc wheels and whitewall tires are the perfect complement and add quite a bit of elegance as well as a degree of usability, as they are more robust than wire or artillery wheels. It is very well-detailed with drum headlights, a PilotRay spot lamp, cowl lamps, a “Doughnut Chaser” radiator mascot, Moto-Meter, a large rear-mount trunk, and dual side mount spares. The tan canvas top is in excellent condition, and all passengers enjoy a bit of protection from the elements thanks to wind-wings and a rear mounted windscreen while they ride in comfort in the attractive cabin. This Phaeton features seven passenger configuration, with additional jump seats in the rear for the times you want to take the whole family – and maybe some neighbors – out for a spin. As we have mentioned, this car is very well sorted mechanically. The engine compartment is tidy and presentable, with the big straight-eight taking center stage. It is clean and appropriately detailed, suitable for regular use. Brakes, clutch and gearbox are all strong and it is quite simply a joy to drive. Packard’s of this era are extremely approachable and easy to use, even for those not accustomed to driving full classics. They are renowned for excellent braking, road holding, sublime torquey nature of their engines and easy to use transmissions. This car is of course, no exception and would be a gratifying choice for use on CCCA Caravan tours or use on your favorite country lanes. This Packard is a stylish, elegant and above all affordable entry into the world of American Grand Classics.
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