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Throughout the 1920s, the Packard name was synonymous with wealth and prestige, and by 1930 it was the top-selling luxury car brand in the US. The Packard Eight was produced from 1930 through 1938 and in 1930, it was offered in three models, the 733, 740, and 745, which designated its wheelbase, from shortest to longest. These models came in various body styles, with the most luxurious custom coachwork usually fitted to the longest wheelbase, the 745 Deluxe.
The Seventh Series Packards of 1930 featured a single flowing fender line from the crown of the fender to the running board. Underneath the long and graceful bonnet was an eight-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed manual gearbox. These Packards featured a Bijur chassis lubrication system and four-wheel assisted mechanical drum brakes; amenities included a single center driving lamp, white wall tires, cowl-mounted spotlights, grille guard, wind wings, and a single, rear-mounted spare tire. They had Watson Stabilator shock absorbers, thermostatic radiator shutters, shatter-proof laminated windows, a hypoid rear axle, and new gauges. The engine offered 106 horsepower at 3,200 rpm along with a substantial 350 pound-feet of torque. Dual side-mounted spares were standard on the 745, an option on the 740.
The 745 Deluxe Eight was Packard’s top-of-the-line offering in 1930 and was available in 11 semi-custom and individual factory bodies. For collectors today, the 1930 model remains especially coveted as Packard moved the cowl forward for 1931, which shortened the hood by five inches. This changed the appearance and balance of the finished car dramatically, and as a consequence, the long hood and near-perfect proportions of the 1930 Seventh Series remain highly collectible today.
As a Deluxe Eight 745 with coachwork designed by Dietrich, this example, Packard vehicle no. 181631, is an ideal specification and epitomizes the perfectly balanced Seventh Series cars. Dietrich’s automotive experience began at Brewster & Co. and continued through his partnership with Tom Hibbard and their resultant LeBaron Carrossiers, followed by the creation of Dietrich Inc. Now known as one of the greatest designers in automotive history, Dietrich created some of the most elegant and beautiful bodies ever fitted to classic-era automobiles. This example features ample chrome and a red body with contrasting silver fenders over a tan interior. These colors highlight the 1930 model’s perfect proportions and the masterful lines of Dietrich’s coachwork.
This Packard is rarity with its top-of-the-line Deluxe Eight 745 chassis, the 1930 model’s attractive proportions, and Dietrich’s sensational coachwork. Its convertible sedan body style is both versatile and handsome, making it well suited to both touring events and shows. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a significant Packard that would be a wonderful addition to any collection.