1932 Packard gets lifetime gentle care

Farm Forum

In 1932, a Packard Standard Eight convertible coupe with a rumble seat was purchased by a Maryland physician. The base price of a was $2,850. A total of 3,737 such models were manufactured.

The doctor kept the luxurious Packard for 34 years before it was sold in an estate sale to a jeweler in Virginia. At that time its inline-eight-cylinder engine was not in running condition, having spent the previous 15 years stored under cover in a barn.

The jeweler returned the sporty roadster to good health and began using it as daily transportation; he reportedly repainted the body of the car but left the black fenders untouched. The Packard became a minor local landmark because it seemingly was always parked in front of the Crown Jewelry store.

After 42 years of ownership, the jeweler sold the Packard to Marty Miller, owner of the Classic Car Center in Fredericksburg where many owners of antique cars store their vehicles.

At that time Miller described the condition of the Packard as “mildewy.” He reports that his Packard was not restored so much as it was resurrected. The process began in 2009 and took six months to complete.

First, the 320-cubic-inch engine was brought back to like-new condition, once more producing 110-horsepower. The interior was also reupholstered and its tan top now complements the tan upholstery.

The third owner happily explains that for 82 years the Packard has received such gentle care that, with the exception of one bumper guard, all of the chrome remains original.

Both sides of the engine hood are ventilated with four small doors. In front of the V-shaped grille are 16 louvers. Not wanting to waste space, the Packard designers took advantage of the valleys between the front fenders and the sides of the engine hood, where they placed two metal boxes, one to hold tools and the other provides a place for the battery.

In pre-air-conditioning days, a flow of fresh air was necessary for the comfort of motoring passengers. Occupants of this Packard were never in short supply of fresh air thanks to a pair of side vents that directed air into the cabin at ankle level while a cowl vent brought in more air below the dashboard. Even the bottom of the windshield can be pushed open to allow additional air to enter.

While seated at the three-spoke steering wheel, the driver has a clear view of the 100-mph speedometer. The floor-mounted emergency brake lever is conveniently placed by the driver’s left knee. By the driver’s right knee is the floor-mounted gear shift lever.

According to Miller, the three-speed transmission is easily controlled because the second and third gears are synchromesh.

Access to the rumble seat is gained by using two large step plates on the right rear fender. Once settled in the rumble seat, passengers can flip a small padded leather armrest over the edge of the car for additional comfort for their elbows.

To the rear of the right door is a smaller opening to a compartment where a golf bag can be stowed. At the rear of the Packard, between the two taillights, is a luggage rack that can be adjusted to carry luggage up to steamer trunk size.

At the other end of the car, positioned atop the front fenders are small parking lights. Augmenting the illumination from the headlights are Trippe lights mounted in front of the grille.

The 4,420-pound Packard comfortably rolls on 7.00×19-inch tires mounted on a lengthy 136.5-inch wheelbase. The spokes of the wire wheels are painted red.

Miller says the odometer on his Packard indicates that the car is rapidly approaching 78,000 miles. From the day the Packard was new, the annual mileage has averaged about 950 miles. With that figure in mind Miller considers his Packard a low-mileage car.

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