The early 1930’s proved to be very difficult for Packard. Without the financial might of a major corporation such as GM or Ford behind them, Packard relied heavily on cash reserves to get through the difficult economic times. Thankfully, Packard survived and in that time, they produced some of the most beautiful, iconic cars of the era – cars that would go on to symbolize pre-war glamour and opulence. As per tradition, Packard offered their cars in series, rather than model years and this; the Ninth Series, was built between June of 1931 and December of 1932. The Ninth Series boasted newly designed frames that allowed for lower body height, synchronized transmissions (on 2nd and top gears) and a clever ride-control system for the shock absorbers. The Eight (formerly Standard Eight) and Deluxe Eight were powered by the venerable alloy and iron L-head eight cylinder. New chassis designations now designated that the model 902 rode on a 136” wheelbase.
As was typical for Packard, a myriad of standard and custom catalog bodies were offered to clients. The styles ranged from the conservative Club Sedan to the more sporting Stationary Coupe and Convertible Coupe. One of the most desirable of all the Ninth Series bodies is the four-passenger Phaeton as is fitted to our featured example. The rakish lines and full folding top give it a very sporty appearance but with the usability of a full four passenger cabin. Still wearing the original vehicle number plate on the firewall, this is an original-bodied Phaeton that left the factory in 1932 and was delivered to its first owner in 1933 via Earl C. Anthony’s Los Angeles dealership. From there, it is believed to have remained in California for many years. More recent history shows it was owned in the 1980’s by Bob Gould, and then acquired by the renowned Packard enthusiast Ralph Marano of New Jersey. It then passed into the hands of the late Jim Miller of Ontario, a man very well known for his fine appreciation of and keen eye for excellent original cars. The previous owners purchased the Packard from Miller in 1999 and retained it as a highlight of their collection until 2015.
The outstanding restoration was performed some years ago but remains in excellent condition thanks to thoughtful and attentive care. In fact, it is clear that this car was very well maintained for its entire life, as the body structure appears to be largely original – with mostly original wood and body hardware evident throughout. The handsome body is impeccably straight and finished in an elegant tri-tone scheme of medium gray with darker gray character lines and black fenders. Numerous factory accessories have been fitted from new, such as a Goddess of Speed radiator mascot, dual spot lights, chrome spoke wire wheels, dual sidemount spares, clock, and rear mounted trunk rack.
Inside, black leather and carpets are in fine condition, showing almost no wear since the restoration. The upholstery has been just barely broken in, making for an inviting environment for driver and passengers alike. Likewise, a Haartz Stayfast cloth top is beautifully fitted to a restored wood and chrome top frame. Mechanically, it is of course very sound and completely sorted, with the big 320 cubic inch inline-8 running strong and returning the easy performance that Packards are so famous for.
This handsome Packard 902 Phaeton is a veteran CCCA tourer and National Senior award winner that has been lovingly maintained by a long series of well-known, passionate enthusiasts. Incredibly attractive, this magnificent automobile is ready for the next keeper to continue its rich history.
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