Long considered one of the most beautiful of all Classic Era production automobiles, Packard’s gorgeous 11th series is one of the finest of its kind. These gorgeous machines marked the turning point for Packard styling, as the full-figured front fenders grew ever more integrated into the bodywork from 1935 onward. Not only beautiful, they were also magnificently engineered – conservative in terms of technology, but robust, exceptionally well-constructed and very rewarding to drive. The three models of the 11th series 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 two-seat (with rumble seat) coupe body was one of the most sporting styles on offer, appealing to wealthy playboys who didn’t have to worry about seating a family. Only the two-seat roadster could top the coupe in terms of pure form over function. For many years, the two seat coupe was seen as an ideal candidate to convert to an open roadster, when values for the roadsters skyrocketed, many unscrupulous restorers took advantage by lopping the roofs off coupes. As a result, an uncut, unmolested coupe has become a true rarity in the Packard world. With newfound appreciation for these gorgeous automobiles, they have become ever more desirable, particularly for enthusiasts who enjoy touring with their Packards. The Rumble Seat Coupe strikes an ideal balance of stunning style with all-weather capability. Combine that with legendary Packard reliability and ease of use, and you have a near-perfect choice for classic touring and events.
Our featured 1934 Packard Super Eight Coupe is a very fine example of this rare and desirable factory body. Very few have survived over the years, with many being rebodied or cut into roadsters. The most recent keeper of this lovely Packard acquired the car from long-term ownership on the East Coast. The older restoration presents exceptionally well in its striking two-tone paint combination of red with dark burgundy fenders and swage lines. The paint looks great, but up close it is showing its age, with some crazing evident in the red. It is well optioned with dual side-mount spare wheels with fully enveloping metal covers, Swan radiator mascot, dual Trippe driving lights, and gorgeous new chrome wire wheels shod with blackwall tires. Red painted brake drums appear behind the chrome wires, imparting a decidedly sporty look. The chrome trim is in very good condition, showing just a slight bit of age in places but otherwise still supremely attractive and in keeping with the overall feeling of quality of this restoration. This is quite simply a visually stunning machine from all angles, the proportions border on perfection, thanks in no small part to the grand 142” wheelbase of the Super Eight chassis.
Occupants of this wonderful machine are cosseted in freshly upholstered black leather seats. Matching black door panels are capped with gorgeous wood trim which flows into a beautiful woodgrain dash. The instrument panel features a full array of gauges in a beautifully detailed chrome and paint binnacle. The dash, steering wheel and instruments show just a slight bit of patina from use since the restoration, making it a very pleasing and comfortable place to spend an afternoon of motoring. This being a two-place coupe, a rumble seat is out back for occasional rear passengers, which is trimmed in black leather to match the cabin.
Packard’s big 384.8 cubic inch L-head inline eight produces a silken 145 horsepower and an ocean of effortless torque. It puts power through a three speed manual gearbox which is known for its ease of operation and smooth shifting. Every car enthusiast should experience driving a Packard of this era at least once, as they are surprisingly tractable, incredibly smooth and remarkably easy to drive for such a large and grand car. This example’s big Eight is tidy and clean in the engine bay, presented in proper Packard green on the block with a silver crankcase. Importantly, it is also the original engine to this car, as indicated by the chassis and engine numbers being in very close sequence. Correct plug wires and other details make for an attractive yet functional look. Some signs of use are apparent, making this a car that encourages one to drive rather than to sit it in a garage and keep sterile. The chassis is likewise tidy and fully functional, with excellent four-wheel mechanical brakes keeping things under control.
The 1934 Super Eight is one of the most highly regarded models from Packard, and many enthusiasts believe the 11th series to be the pinnacle of this storied marque. This gorgeous example is of course a recognized CCCA Full Classic and would be a simply sublime choice for CARavan touring, AACA Touring or simply weekend exploring your favorite roads.