1932 Packard Eight Phaeton

The early 1930’s proved to be a difficult period 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 challenging economic times. Thankfully, Packard not only survived, but they also 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, Packards were officially designated by series, rather than model years and this; the Ninth Series, was built between June of 1931 and December of 1932. The Ninth Series utilized a new frame design that allowed for lower body height, as well as synchronized transmissions (on 2nd and top gears) and a driver-adjustable ride-control system for the shock absorbers. The Eight (formerly Standard Eight) and Deluxe Eight each featured the venerable alloy and cast iron L-head eight cylinder. Buyers had the option of several wheelbase configurations ranging from 129 inches to 147 inches, and the popular 902 rode on the 136-inch version.

At the height of the Classic Era, Packard offered a huge variety of body styles to suit the individual buyer’s needs. The extensive design catalog ranged from conservative sedans and limousines to the sporting open cars. One of the most desirable of all the Ninth Series bodies is this; the style 501 Phaeton. The gorgeous lines, raked windscreen, and low roofline give it a distinctly sporty appearance. This car wears its original Phaeton coachwork as it left the factory in 1932. According to the firewall tag, it was delivered to its first owner in May 1933 via Earl C. Anthony’s famous 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 was then acquired by the renowned Packard enthusiast Ralph Marano of New Jersey. It later passed into the hands of the late Jim Miller of Ontario, a man very well known for his keen eye and appreciation 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. It was sold by Hyman Ltd later in 2015 to a private collection of significant automobiles.

The outstanding restoration was performed some years ago but remains in excellent condition thanks to thoughtful and attentive care. 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 hardware evident throughout the body. The handsome coachwork is crisp and straight, finished in an elegant tri-tone scheme of medium gray with darker gray character lines and black fenders. Numerous factory accessories include the Goddess of Speed radiator mascot, dual spot lights, dual sidemount spares, chrome wire wheels, clock, and a trunk rack.

Inside, charcoal leather upholstery is in fine condition, displaying only the slightest character since the restoration. The leather only just appears 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 very sound and well-sorted, with the big 320 cubic inch inline-8 running strong and returning the easy performance that Packards of this era are so famous for.

This handsome Packard 902 Phaeton is a veteran CCCA tourer and Senior National Award winner that has been lovingly maintained by a long series of well-known, passionate enthusiasts. Highly attractive, and featuring one of Packard’s most desirable designs, this magnificent automobile is ready for the next keeper to continue its rich history.

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