1933 Packard

Type: Twelve Sport Phaeton, Dietrich

  • Serial No. 2069-5491
  • Twelve-cylinder, 67 degree vee engine, 445.47 cubic inches, 160 hp at 3200 rpm.

For over half a century, the company suggested, “ask the man who owns one,” fully confident of
what the answer would be. Packard owner loyalty was fierce. It still is. Enthusiasts of the marque today
virtually leap at the chance to espouse the virtues of a Packard.

The virtues were estimable. For extended touring on the open road, few cars could equal the
comfort and ease of travel by Packard. Occasionally even Ettore Bugatti used one in preference to his own
make for journeys on the Continent. In America, Packard was favored by college presidents and for
ceremonial parades (Lindbergh’s ticker tape in 1927, Roosevelt’s inaugural in 1933 among them). Packard
spelled prestige.

This V-12 Sport Phaeton typifies the classic Packards of the early thirties. Its price tag was $5875,
its fuel consumption under 10 mpg, its top speed over 100 mph. The car’s coachwork was courtesy of Ray
Dietrich, Packard’s most prolific custom body designer. Sophistication of line and proportion was a Dietrich
hallmark, as were nifty styling treatments of usually mundane features. The rear compartment wind wings in
this car, for example, hinge at the rear windshield, attach at the door handles, and thus open and close with
the doors themselves. If a breezier ride was desired, the wings could simply be unhooked and folded against
the windshield; the entire assembly then rolled down neatly into the divider section.

Precisely how many Sport Phaetons were built is not known. This particular car was displayed in
Philadelphia in the spring of 1933 to generate interest in the new Packard models, but in that Great
Depression year, sales were few. From an almost 50,000-car annual production in the twenties, Packard had
plunged to less than 10,000 cars by 1933. The top-of-the-line Packard (V-12 engine, 147-inch chassis) was
available in 17 different body styles. Just 276 found buyers that year. The last Packard of all was built in
1958.

 

Photos – Peter Harholdt

Stats

Year
1933 Packard
Type
Twelve Sport Phaeton, Dietrich
Serial No
2069-5491
Engine
Twelve-cylinder, 67 degree vee engine, 445.47 cubic inches, 160 hp at 3200 rpm.
Wheelbase
147 inches
Weight
4720 pounds

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