Tag Archives: Packard

Sixth Series – Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster #168397

In 1924 Packard replaced it’s V12 powered top of the range Twin Six models with more powerful and economical straight eights.

Four years later Packard production peaked at 55,000 units in 1928 and in August of that year the company introduced it’s Sixth Series with either 140 inch wheel base 640 chassis as seen here or 145 inch wheel base 645 chassis.

Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster, Bonhams, Quail Lodge, California

Power for the sixth series came from a single block straight eight with side valves and a seven bearing crank with a capacity of 384.8 cui / 6.3 litres that produced 106hp at 3,200 rpm.

Today’s featured car is equipped with a three speed manual gearbox, semi eliptic springs and drum brakes for all four wheels.

Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster, Bonhams, Quail Lodge, California

A contemporary report in The Autocar noted “… the big car has the power for traveling right up to a high speed without fuss, without suggestion that the engine is doing much work, without harshness, yet with plenty still in reserve.”

Known history of this car starts with collector Richard C. Paine, Jr who owned from at least 1990.

Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster, Bonhams, Quail Lodge, California

Mr Paine left instructions for this car an several others from his collection to be sold upon his passing to secure the future of the Seal Cove Auto Museum near Bar Harbor, Maine.

After being bought by a European Museum in 2008 the car is seen in these photographs by Geoffrey Horton waiting to be put under the Bonhams hammer for a second time at the 2013 Quail Lodge Auction where it sold for $126,500 including buyers premium despite requiring “mechanical re-commissioning”.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Sixth Series” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for FIAT Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Americana – Niello At Serrano Concours d’Elegance

A couple of weeks ago Geoffrey Horton wrapped up his Concours d’Elegance season with another award for his Jaguar XK140 at the Niello at Serrano Coucours d’Elegance and kindly shared these photographs of some of the other competitors.

Ford Speedster, Niello at Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Turning Ford Model T’s into speedsters evocative of those raced before the 1914 – 18 war and immediately thereafter seems to be a growing pastime, this one looks brand new and unusually does not feature a transverse leaf spring for the front suspension.

Packard 1104 Super Eight Dual Cowl Phaeton, Niello at Serrano,

Powered by a straight eight the 1934 Packard 1104 Super Eight Dual Cowl Phaeton above seats seven in style.

Packard 110 Convertible, Niello at Serrano,

Eight years later Packard were manufacturing six cylinder Packard One Ten’s like the convertible example above.

Kurtis 500M, Niello at Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Around the time Kurtis built machines were dominating the Indy 500 the glass fibre bodied 500M like the example above was built for the road, powered by what ever engine the customer chose, often Cadillac, these machines were capable of reaching nearly 100 miles an hour over a 1/4 mile and had a top speed of over 130 mph.

Dodge Dart, Niello at Serrano,

The 1964 Dodge Dart Convertible above, which in optional automatic form had push buttons to select the gears come straight out of the era of rocket inspired styling

AC Shelby Cobra, Niello at Serrano,

Finally above a 1965 Shelby Cobra Mk III the 31 detuned semi competition versions of which are worth well in excess of one and half million dollars.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs more of which will appear on Friday.

Thanks for joining me on this “Americana” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a hot Plymouth. Don’t forget to come back now !


Mavis – Packard Bentley

Today’s featured vehicle Mavis is a creation of Chris Williams, the owner of The Ultimate Laxative Napier Bentley I looked at a couple of years ago.

Mavis, Packard Bentley, Chris Williams, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

Mavis is built on a 1930 Bentley Speed 8 chassis which has been extensively modified to accommodate it’s 41.8 litre / 2563 cui V12 motor which was purchased by Williams at the suggestion of Duncan Pittaway.

Mavis, Packard Bentley, Chris Williams, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

This particular 1500 hp Packard 4M 2500 V12 is a marine variant of an aero engine that was orignally installed in a 45 mph 2nd World War PT, Patrol Torpedo, boat.

Mavis Packard Bentley, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

The supercharged Packard M4-2500 has twin exhaust ports and hence is fitted with 24 exhaust pipes, the faux torpedoes are actually oil tanks.

Mavis Packard Bentley, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

Up to 1500hp is transmitted to the rear wheels through a Bentley C type gearbox that has no synchromesh, note that this vehicle has no front brakes !

Mavis Packard Bentley, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

The rear wheels can be spun in any gear and Chris Williams “drive it like you stole it” attitude ensures that spectators are entertained with copious quantities of fire from the exhaust and clouds of smoke from the rear wheels at every opportunity.

Mavis Packard Bentley, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

Chris says that Mavis was once lightheartedly described as “biggest automotive waste of time, money and engineering expertise ever built”.

Thanks for joining me on this “Automotive Waste Of Space” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an event which returned Motorsport to Hullavington in Wiltshire. Don’t forget to come back now !


Classic Americans – Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance

A couple of weeks ago Geoffrey Horton loaded his trailer up with his Jaguar XK140 and headed for Palm Springs and the Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance. Toady’s blog features photo’s Geoffrey kindly shared of some of the US built cars that were taking part.

Lincoln L Brunn Beetle Back, Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance

By 1925 Cadillac founder Henry M Leland had sold the second marque he had founded, Lincoln, to Henry Ford for $8m but Ford continued to up date the L-Series first seen in 1917, until 1930. The 1925 Lincoln above features a nickel plated radiator shell first seen in 1924.

Cadillac V16 Series 452, Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance

Need a 2 door convertible with plenty of room for occasional passengers and cargo in the boot / trunk the 1930 Cadillac V16 Series 452 is just the car you are looking for.

Packard 1005 Convertible Coupe , Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance

Winner of this years Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance was the 1933 V12 powered Packard 1005 Twelve Convertible Coupe seen above. The 1005 was the tenth Packard series car and shared 11 different body with the V8 powered Packard Super Eight.

Cord 812 s/c, Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance

1935 the Cord 810 was the sensation of the New York Auto Show, by 1937 when the supercharged 812 convertible above was built the company had a less than complimentary reputation for reliability and the following year the remains of the company were sold to Avaiation Corporation which today is part of Textron Systems Corporation.

Diamond T Pickup, Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance

Following a tip from some quail hunters the owner of this rugged 1949 Diamond T Model 201 1 ton pickup abandoned in a field near Globe Arizona, dented and rusted it was 90% there and the Hercules six cylinder motor still turned. After restoration this Diamond T won the 2010 Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance Best Non-Passenger Vehicle award.

Packard 250, Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance

Visiting Paris Retromobile in the 1990’s Californian Carl Schneider came across some drawings by Pininfarina of a Packard that was never built. After purchasing the drawings Carl and Peter Portugal built the likeness of the Pininfarina Packard, seen above, using a 1952 Packard 250 series Mayfair two-door hardtop as a starting point.

Scarab Continuation, Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance

In 1958 Lance Reventlow started building a successful series of sports racing cars, above is a continuation model.

Guldstrand Corvette GS90, Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance

In the early 1990’s Corvette racer Dick Guldstrand approached General Motors with a plan to build his own vehicle based on the Corvette asking for 15 chassis and a few million dollars to get him going, he got one car and GM’s blessing. Dick ended up building six of the $200,000 dollar cars, the one above is the second of them, built in 1993.

Vector M12, Desert Classic Concours d'Elegance

Nearly three times more common than the Guldstarnd Corvette is the Vector M12 of which 17 examples were manufactured from 1995 to 1999. The Vector was built on a modified Lamborghini Diablo Chassis and is powered by a 499 hp Lamborghini V12.

My thanks to Geoffrey for sharing his photographs more of which will be seen tomorrow and next Wednesday.

Thanks for joining me on this “Classic Americans” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me tomorrow for Ferrari Friday to see a work in progress.


Automotive Treasure – Blackhawk Museum

While showing his Jaguar at the Danville Concours d’Elegance last month Geoffrey took a wonder around the automotive treasures at the Blackhawk Museum and kindly sent today’s photographs.

Mercedes Benz S Tourer, Blackhawk Museum

In 1927 Mercedes Benz replaced it’s Model K with the Model S which among it’s innovations introduced a chassis that was lowered between the front and rear axles, which dramatically lowered the cars wind resistance and lowered it’s center of gravity which improved the handling. 146 Model S vehicles were built, this 1928 example was bought new by the entertainer Al Jolson.

Minerva Type AM, Blackhawk Museum

Minerva was a Belgian manufacturer started by Dutchman Sylvain de Jong, like many motor manufacturers de Jong started building bicycles and by 1928 when he died had graduated to manufacture high end automobiles. The 1929 Minerva Type AM seen above was supplied as a chassis to which coach builbers Walter M Murphy of Pasadena, CA fitted a “Clear Vision” Convertible Sedan body. The six cylinder car would have been a little cheaper than a contemporary Rolls Royce.

Packard 120 Darrin Convertible Victoria, Blackhawk Museum

After a career working for European coach builders Howard “Dutch” Darrin set up a showroom and bodyshop in Hollywood California called Darrins of Paris to restyle automobiles for Hollywoods rich and famous. Among the cars he restyled was Preston Fosters 1939 Packard 120 seen above with Darrin Convertible Victoria bodywork. This car was later updated with 1941 Packard Super Eight grill, bumpers and headlights.

Fraser Nash 328 Sports, Blackhawk Museum

Fraser Nash were the British importers of BMW cars into Britain prior to the 1939-45 war. Of the 464 BMW 328’s the 1939 example seen above is one of six known to survived the war, it was fitted with a custom Sports 2 seater body by Fraser Nash and driven by Dickie Stoop and Peter Wilson in the 1949 24 hour race at Spa in Belgium where it came home 12th overall sixth in class.

Aston Martin DB 2/4 Mk 1 Bertone Coupé, Blackhawk Museum

The body of the red gem above is by Bertone of Italy while the chassis and engine is 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4. The Aston Martin DB2/4 Bertone Coupé is a one off prototype, no more were built because Aston Martin refused to supply any more DB2/4 chassis though it is by no means the only DB2/4 to feature unique Italian bodywork.

ALFA Romeo 1500 SSZ, Blackhawk Museum

When ALFA Romeo wanted a 4 cylinder 2 litre 122 cui motor in 1950 they redesigned their twin cam 6 cylinder 6C 2500 with two fewer cylinders and called it the 1900. The 1955 1900 Sprint Speciale SSZ seen above is one of around 40 thought to have been built with coachwork by Zagato featuring a double bubble roof.

Maserati 3500GT Vignale Spider, Blackhawk Museum

The 140 mph 1960 Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spider, above, is one of 243 built between 1957 and 1963. Fitted with drum brakes and a four speed gearbox it was more luxuriously appointed than the Ferrari 250 GT’s against which it competed in the market.

Jaguar XK-E Lightweight, Blackhawk Museum

In 1963 Briggs Cunningham entered 3 factory built Jaguar XK-E’s with hard top alloy bodies in the Le Mans 24 hours. One, 5115 WK qualified 20th and finished 9th, 5116 WK qualified 18th and was destroyed by fire after an accident on lap 40 while the car above driven by Augie Pabst and Walt Hangsen qualified 13th and retired in lap 8 with a broken gearbox.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs, more of which from the Blackhawk Museum will be seen on Friday.

Thanks for joining me on this “Automotive Treasure” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thursday when I’ll be looking at a Ford Thunderbird. Don’t forget to come back now !


Americana – Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance

At the back end of June Geoffrey Horton attended the Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance, apparently there was some confusion during the prize giving thanks what appears to have been a break down in communication between the judges and marshalls which left Geoffrey unsure if he and his Jaguar XK 140 had won a prize, if so which one, or not.

Packard, Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance

Among the photo’s Geoffrey kindly sent me were several of US built machines, above a Packard which I believe might be a 1936 One-Twenty though I’ll gladly take a second opinion the top mounted wipers appear to be the most useful clue as to the date.

Cadillac, Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance

The script above the front fender trim on this Cadillac combined with the old school tail dating back to pre 1939/45 war makes this a 1947 model year and I’ll hazard a guess it’s big enough to be a Cadillac 62, if you know different do not hesitate to chime in below.

Oldsmobile Eighty Eight, Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance

The squarish liberally chrome decorated 1958 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight is relatively simple to identify, not the James Bond gadget like fuel filler hidden by the tail light.

Buick Le Sabre, Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance

Above a fine example of a 1959 Buick Le Sabre basks in the sun, unfathomably, with the roof up !

Pontiac Grand Prix, Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance

Finally the windscreen of the 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix above displayed a certificate confirming that at least 90% of this vehicle remains within it’s factory new originality, finish and condition.

My thanks to Geoffrey for sharing today’s photographs.

Thanks for joining me on today’s “Americana” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at some of the Ferrari’s at Palo Alto. Don’t forget to come back now !


Land Yachts – Danville Concours d’Elegance

Once again today’s photographs from the recent Danville Concours d’Elegance come courtesy of ‘California Streets‘ blogger Jay Wollenweber.

Packard One-Twenty, Danville Concours d'Elegance

To get through the Great Depression Packard decided to produce a midsize vehicle known as the One Twenty, many think it was a mistake to use the Packard reputation for excellence for the venture instead of coming up with a new brand.

REO Speedwagon, Danville Concours d'Elegance

I mistakenly identified this pick up as a Terraplane, Jay pointed out that it is actually a rare REO Speedwagon. While it looks totally stock on the outside the motor axles and air conditioning are a mix of Chevrolet and Ford parts that allow this pick up to travel comfortably faster than the 35 mph it would have achieved when new in 1935.

Buick Caballero, Danville Concours d'Elegance

First of today’s genuine land yachts is this low riding 1957 Buick Century Caballero Station Wagon. high production costs of this car featuring unusual, for an estate / station wagon, pillarless styling stymied production after just two years with the Caballero name remaining dormant since 1958.

Ford Thunderbird, Danville Concours d'Elegance

Not quite in the land yacht category is this ’57 Ford Thunderbird, with the first series, last year of production, heavily restyled front bumpers.

Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, Danville Concours d'Elegance

If your in the market for a rare Cadillac then a 1957 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham might be a great place to start. Only 400 of these hand built cars were built in 1957, they cost more than a contemporary Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.

Pontiac Bonneville, Danville Concours d'Elegance

1958 saw the Pontiac Bonneville launched as a separate model, with a standard electric clock, priced at less than US$3,000. The 300 hp Bonneville Convertible was chosen as the 1958 Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500.

Studebaker Avanti, Danville Concours d'Elegance

The ‘aerodynamically different’ Avanti by Studebaker also got an early airing at Indianapolis in 1962, as the “Honorary Pace Car alongside the Studebaker Skylark Convertible ‘Official Pace Car’. Production of the Avanti was shut down in December 1963 with 2,500 vehicles still in the dealer chain this particular model above appears to have been one of those 2,500.

Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO, Danville Concours d'Elegance

Pontiac Sales Manager Frank Bridge insisted on limiting production of the GTO option package for the 1964 Pontiac Tempest to 5000, by the beginning of 1964 10,000 had already been sold and the vehicle above is one of the 32,450 total first year sales. Surprisingly despite all the performance upgrades the GTO option offered it retained the standard Tempest drum brakes.

Chevrolet Corvette, Danville Concours d'Elegance

Jay tells me this 1965 Chevrolet Corvette C2 was equipped as an SCCA racer in the 1970’s and is fitted with a 5358 cc / 327 cui small block V8.

Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396, Danville Concours d'Elegance

Last of today’s featured vehicles from Danville Concours d’Elegance is this understated, sports stripe option deleted, 1970 Fathom Blue Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 which packed a 350 hp Turbo Jet big block V8 when it left the factory.

My thanks again to Jay Wollenweber for sharing his photographs with us.

Thanks for joining me on this “Land Yachts” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for a Danville Concours d’Elegance Ferrari Friday edition tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !