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The Eighth Series Packards of 1931 were the product of steady and constant improvement in engineering, construction, and driving dynamics over each previous series. They boasted powerful 120 hp straight-eight engines and the factory coachwork featured brilliant designs with crisp lines, sweeping fenders, and magnificent accent brightwork. The 840 Deluxe Eight Phaeton presented here is a true standout as one of the most coveted body styles offered, and its presentation is no less significant.
This Packard was first sold by the Hon, Smithson and Raymond dealership in Chicago, Illinois, and by the mid-1960s, was in the collection of Dr. Harley Deere of Long Beach, California. In the 1970s, collector Bob Vitz purchased the Packard from Dr. Deere in a disassembled state, and immediately retained Bob Mosier and his team at Mosier Restorations in Inglewood, California, to restore the car. The perfect shades of maroon were obtained from J.B. Nethercutt, and the tan leather in the proper Packard texture was sourced for the interior and canvas top trim. Stainless steel spokes and chrome snap rings accented the painted hubs and rims, which were shod with whitewall tires. Mosier recently recalled the finer points of the restoration completed nearly 40 years ago: “We really took our time finding the correct materials, all the way down to the carpet, Bob [Vitz] wanted his car to be perfect, and unbeatable at shows. We were lucky in that the body was so straight and undamaged, that the primer and paintwork were able to be incredibly thin. In those days, we would drive the Packard to various concours in California, win, sometimes Best In Show, then drive home.” Indeed, the Phaeton did accumulate numerous accolades including a First in Class at Pebble Beach in 1981.
In about 1982, another Packard enthusiast saw the 840 at the Packards International Grand Salon and purchased it on the spot. He continued to show the car in the following years, taking a Best in Show with a record 247 of 250 points at a Grand Salon in 1982. He drove it to most events, adding some of the 1,750 post-restoration miles shown on its odometer. Since joining the consignor’s collection in 1992, the Packard has seldom made public appearances.
Accompanied by a set of side curtains that appear unused, this grand dual-windshield Packard Phaeton still benefits from its high-quality restoration and appears to be a high-point automobile even today, save for a few paint chips and light canvas staining. Perhaps the ultimate fair-weather tour car, this stunning and significant open Packard’s best days may yet lay ahead, providing boundless enjoyment with every passing mile.