PACKARD, 1931 Model 840 – Deluxe Eight "Sport Rumble Seat Roadster"
This is the premiere sport model roadster for Packard, a full CCCA Classic. It is the last true, hand built roadster offering a factory-built, side-curtained, open car with fold down windshield. In 1932 Packard introduced roll up windows to its roadster line. During the 1920s – 1930s Packard produced the best engineered and finest styled cars in America – if not in the world.
The 1931 Packard Eighth Series was one of the last designs Dietrich did for the Packard company before he resigned in September of 1930. Introducing deep, sweeping fender designs, the 840 is the exemplar of elegant and refined bright work seen on any car of this era. The long straight-eight engine required a long hood – a body stylist's dream, a masterpiece. Production was less than 10 cars per day with only 1,795 Packard 840s of all body styles produced in 1931.
The owner purchased the 840 in 2012. Having restored two other 1931 Packards in the past, and enjoying retirement, his heart and soul went into making this car as perfect as possible. Sadly, his aging right knee tells him it is too painful to go from accelerator to brake pedal.
Over almost seven years, it underwent a full, frame-off restoration and was first shown at the 2018 AACA Fall Classic in Hershey where it was awarded its first, Junior award. At the Eastern Spring Nationals in Parsippany, NJ it was presented its Senior award. The judging sheet (see photos) shows no point deductions, but at the awards dinner the judge mentioned leaves on the rumble seat floor!
The "Deluxe Eight 840" was equipped with the Super 8 chassis (140.5") and the biggest engine Packard offered with 120 HP from a 384 cubic inch displacement, side valve straight 8. Performance was upgraded from 1930 thanks to larger intake and exhaust ports with a three-piece manifold and a cylindrical pre-heat chamber. The engine was completely rebuilt: new babbits from The Babbitt Pot, the cylinders were bored out 30 thousandths of an inch, new valves, guides and springs, the block was milled, and the crankshaft polished and balanced. Fuel supply is from a Detroit Lubricator 50 carburetor.
This car runs and drives superbly. It handles well and is very fast compared to cars of this period. The 1931 840 has a one-year-only feature; a four-speed, non-synchromesh transmission. It has leaf spring suspension and a Bijur automatic chassis lubrication system designed to lubricate forty-four key points each time the car is started. All canvas is Haartz Cloth and leather trimmed.
This car is equipped with many original Packard options:
Twin side mount spare tires with mirrors
Factory chrome disc wheel covers
Trippe driving lamps
Radiator stone guard
Goddess of speed radiator crown
Sparton Bugle Chime horn
Rear luggage rack
Fully restored trunk
Original luggage with keys
As evidence that the recent restoration focused on the authenticity, attention to detail and correct nature of these 840 roadsters, the superior chrome work was done by Paul's Chrome where the engravings on all the lights, mirrors and even the cigar-type wiper motor were re-engraved prior to final plating. The quality of the glove box restorations as shown in the pictures is another indicator of the attention to detail.
The Great Depression severely curtailed production at Packard Motor Company. Of the 1,795 840s produced, only 154 were Deluxe Eight Roadsters. This is a superb restoration and represents a rare opportunity for a buyer to own a masterpiece of automotive style and function.
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