Packard is a name synonymous with quality. From the earliest days of building horseless carriages, through their glory days in the 1930s and 1940s, Packard built the best. They traditionally avoided flamboyance and took a measured and conservative approach to both engineering and styling. This became both a help and a hindrance, as their loyal and traditional customer base began to dwindle, they found it increasingly difficult to attract new buyers. But these concerns were not on the minds of Packard designers when they introduced the 11th Series Eight on August 21, 1933. The three models were available on three different wheelbase chassis. In total, 41 different combinations of engines, wheelbases and body styles were available to buyers. Adding diversity and prestige to the range were 17 'catalog customs' bodied by coachbuilders LeBaron and Dietrich. The Eleventh Series cars (which ran through early 1935) were given attractive new fender contours that curved downwards nearly to the front bumper, giving a full-figured, sublimely elegant look. Other changes included new radiator caps, hood, door handles, better quality upholstery, and a fuel filler integrated into the left tail lamp. Mechanical changes included an oil-cooler and an oil filter for increased engine longevity. Unchanged was Packard’s legendary luxury and effortless operation. The 11th series refinements struck a magic balance of elegance, power and performance and to this day remain some of the most desirable cars of the classic era.
This striking 1934 Packard Eight Coupe is a wonderful example of this very desirable and rare model. Many of these elegant coupes were cut to make coupe-roadsters when the values of open cars peaked. As a result, very few original coupes remain and Packard enthusiasts have come to know these to be among the very best, and stylish, tour cars available. This example is a life-long California car that has been beautifully restored in a very elegant color combination. The cream body is offset by deep burgundy fenders and coach lines accented with red wire wheels and covered side-mount spares. In 2009, while in the hands of the most recent owner, a mechanical and cosmetic freshening was performed by renowned marque experts Custom Auto Service of Santa Ana, California, totaling over $90,000. The engine was rebuilt, bumpers and various trim rechromed, and the car prepared for CCCA CARavan duty with the addition of a proven Gear Vendor Overdrive unit. It subsequently completed a 1000-mile tour of the Pacific Northwest, where it is reported to have not required a single drop of oil or coolant.
Today, this magnificent Packard presents in beautiful condition. The restoration has aged gracefully and the car remains very showable with excellent quality cosmetics and details. The chrome is in excellent condition and the classic radiator shell is adorned with a Goddess of Speed mascot while at the rear end, a Packard trunk rack and chrome step plate for rumble seat passengers are fitted. Rich brick-red leather lines the cozy cockpit, which has taken on a warm character with use. Carpets, woodwork and other interior trim are similarly excellent and the rear window features a pull-down shade, presumably to keep sun - or prying eyes from the rumble seat passengers– out of the cabin. Beneath the hood rests the iconic, silky smooth inline-eight cylinder engine. It is correctly detailed with proper Packard Green paint, black components and correct fittings and plating. It is very clean and tidy, showing a few signs of regular use yet remaining very presentable.
There is a good reason why CCCA and Packard enthusiasts think so highly of the 11th Series Packard Eight. Excellent road manners come courtesy of the torque-laden eight-cylinder, the slick and forgiving gearbox, surprisingly light steering and strong brakes. Few cars of the era match these Packards for their combination of style and easy performance. This is an outstanding example that is an on-the-button, totally proven tour car with great history that will surely make its next keeper very proud indeed.
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