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Lot 531: Packard Standard Eight Model 633 Five Passenger Phaeton

Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

Always built to the highest standards, the Packard was unquestionably one of the finest American cars of the pre-war era. Introduced in 1924, Packard's first eight-cylinder car - the Single Eight - was also the company's first to employ four-wheel brakes. The nine-bearing sidevalve straight-eight engine developed 85bhp from 5.9 litres, and the line-up initially comprised ten models on two wheelbase lengths. With the introduction of custom models in 1926 the Eight range increased dramatically. 'Original Creations by Master Designers' according to Packard, the custom offerings were bodied by Derham, Dietrich, Fleetwood, Holbrook and Judkins among others. Bijur chassis lubrication and hypoid final drive gears had arrived on the Eight by 1927, at which time the engine was enlarged to 6.3 litres. By now maximum power had risen to 105bhp, an output sufficient to propel the far from lightweight Eight to a top speed of 80mph. 1929 saw Packard building eight-cylinder cars only and marked the introduction of chrome-plated brightwork, parabolic headlamps and a dashboard-mounted water temperature gauge in place of the preceding Motometer. Also new was the base-model 319.2ci (5.2-litre) 90bhp Standard Eight, the larger engine continuing to power the Custom and Deluxe Eights. The Standard Eight was built in alternative wheelbase lengths of 126.5" (626) and 133.5" (633) with three body styles available of the former and seven on the latter. Prices ranged from $2,285 to $2,785. As confirmed by the car's identity plate, the Packard was originally supplied through the Chicago distributor for the brand and it is understood that Charles H. Brown's father was the original owner. If so, he took delivery on 14th September that year. To judge from the car's condition today, it appears that the Packard was never restored and that the paint scheme that it sports was the original. The black with red accents highlighted the central body moulding and was a popular choice in its day, on this particular car the red is continued onto the wheels, making for an attractive combination. A single rear mounted spare ensures that the handsome profile of the car and swage line is fully visible without distractions from radiator through to the tail, a particularly pleasing aesthetic. Accessories include C.M. Hall headlamps, and a windscreen mounted spotlamp, while dashboard retains its full complement of instruments. The car wears a U.S. historic automobile plate from 1952, suggesting that this was the last time that it was in regular use, while Antique Automobile Club of America and Sports Car Club of America 'toppers' adorn the front license plate and allude to it being used in some car club events, albeit a long time ago. It is believed to have been brought to the U.K. to share the stable of Charles H. Brown in the early 1990s. Owing to the desirability of this body style over closed or more formal cars, the Phaetons are frequently the subject of a body switch, so it is rare to find one in its original configuration. If you then take the single ownership and the unspoilt condition into consideration, this adds up to a quite remarkable example, which would surely be a welcome sight in preservation classes around the world. Footnote: Although shipped to the U.K. as a personal import, there is no evidence that it was ever re-registered for the British or European roads, which will need to be accomplished by the buyer, Bonhams can assist with this aspect if necessary.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
Lot Number531
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€18000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€20700
Condition rating2
Registration number
Chassis number265757
Engine number266631
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors