It is a very easy to argue the case that Packard’s glory days were in the late 1920’s and through the 1930’s. During this time, the famed Detroit automaker was building some of the finest automobiles on the market. The over-engineered nature of the chassis earned a reputation of exceptional reliability. Packard also offered a staggering array of body, chassis and engine combinations that could be tailored to suit virtually any client. And for their most discerning clientele, a chassis could be fitted with a bespoke body by any one of twenty custom body builders at their disposal. Packards of this era were grand and imposing and considered by many to be the very finest automobiles of their time.
The model 443 of 1928 was one of the most impressively grand automobiles of its day. It rode on an immense 143” wheelbase regardless of body style, giving it a sense of presence that few could match. Motivation was courtesy of a nearly silent straight-eight that displaced 383 cubic inches, and produced an understressed 109 horsepower and a steady wave of torque. As with other Packards of this period, the 443 was not an intimidating car to drive. Packard transmissions are among the easiest to use, the brakes are powerful, and road manners are excellent. The massive 443 has a tendency to shrink around the driver once out on the road. These truly are spectacular automobiles in every sense.
The striking example featured here wears a highly desirable Runabout body (most often referred to as a roadster) from the in-house Packard catalog. It is extremely attractive, finished in an elegant color scheme of black fenders, black top surfaces and expertly judged cream body sides. Black wire wheels with black wall tires maintain a degree of elegance and sophistication, while chrome wheel rims and center caps provide just a bit of sparkle. This is a seriously gorgeous automobile, particularly imposing on that long 143” wheelbase. This car has been treated to a full restoration and well maintained since, and the paint remains in beautiful condition. The big signature chrome radiator shell is excellent, as are the proper Drum headlights and matching Drum cowl lights. Finishes and details are largely correct and done to a very high standard. Proper Packard Green paint adorns the engine and it is well detailed, showing only a few minor signs that it has seen regular use. The presentation is not fussy; this is a wonderfully honest and inviting example that has been used as intended since the restoration was completed.
The front seat and rumble seat are upholstered in period appropriate heavy-grain brown leather and the doors and dash are capped with beautiful wood trim. Golf bag doors on either side allow access to a generous compartment behind the seats – the Packard Fact Book of 1928 claims that “ample space is provided for two complete golf bags”. A folding trunk rack rests out back should one need more cargo space for a long journey. And speaking of long journeys, this is one pre-war car that simply begs to be taken out for an epic adventure. It is very well sorted, mechanically speaking, and the cosmetics are to a standard were it can be shown with pride in its current state. It is of course, fully approved by the CCCA for touring. This is the sort of Packard that you drive to a show, enjoy a day in the sun and drive it home without worry. Prestige, power and presence, this magnificent 443 Runabout delivers on all fronts.
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