A 92 Year-Old Survivor? 1930 Packard Standard Eight Roadster

A symbol of wealth and power that rolled off the assembly line just as it was becoming clear that the Great Crash of ’29 was only a taste of things to come, this 1930 Packard Standard Eight Roadster is located in Granby, Connecticut, and listed here on eBay. Rare in any condition, the bid for this beautiful machine has already reached $65,000, with just over a week left before the auction closes.

Less than a year into the Great Depression, business leaders were thinking that it couldn’t possibly get worse. This was especially true of Packard, which reacted to the stock market crash by building even more expensive and luxurious models. In fairness, they had few options; luxury was their thing, and without the broad product bases of Ford or GM, there was no way that they could absorb a drop in sales like competitors Lincoln and Cadillac. Thus, there were dozens of different Packard models to choose from in 1930. This Standard Eight Roadster was very nearly the least expensive of the lot, coming in at $2,425. To put this into context, the average income for those gainfully employed in 1930 was $1,448, and Ford would sell you a Model A Tudor for $500. Sound manufacturing decisions, a somewhat late attempt to offer somewhat more affordable cars by the mid-30’s, and a healthy stockpile of cash built up during the Roaring Twenties would help Packard weather the financial storm. Other independents weren’t so lucky: both Peerless and Pierce-Arrow would be done in by the Depression, leaving Packard as the last of the Three Ps.

The Standard Eight Roadster was one of the lightest Packards of that year, weighing just under two tons. A 319.2 cubic-inch straight eight made 90 horsepower at 3200 RPM, which would have been more than enough on either unpaved country roads or the densely-packed streets of the city. And, really, if you buy a Packard, you want to be going slow enough that people can see you in it. That power traveled to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission with a single-plate clutch, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes provided stop for the engine’s go. The Standard Eights also came equipped with louvered hoods, in contrast to the doors found on higher-end Packards– although these could be ordered as an option.

Without additional information, and with a few caveats, it would be very tempting to call this 92 year-old a survivor. Although it would be very unlikely that a car would survive that long without some mechanical replacements or touch-ups, we are talking about a Packard: if any car is going to get treated with kid gloves for nine decades, this would be the one. A strike against it, in terms of originality, would be the wire wheels. These weren’t offered on the Standard Eights. However, one can see the original discs in the first picture in the ad. The current owner states that he had to cut the tires off with a reciprocating saw; let’s hope that the original wheels survived and are included in the sale. Originality aside, today, as when new, this stunning machine has a lot to offer for the discriminating motorist.

Comments

  1. Charles Marks

    Love these old beauties. Nice to see something in Barn Finds that’s not a CudaMustangCorvetteGTO442. They start to run together

    Like 25
  2. Bil Hall

    If only I was filthy rich

    Like 6
  3. Howie

    No longer available.

  4. scott m

    What’s the device on the steering column with the two big knobs?

    • Bill

      Probably the control head of a radio. The actual unit would be quite large and buried under the cowl. The antenna was often under a running board.

      Like 1
      • scott m

        Thank you, that’s a new one to me! More research to add :^}

  5. Kenn

    Radio controls appear to be on the dash, each side of the dial. Knobs on steering column then become a mystery.

    • Bill

      What looks like a radio on the dash is an ammeter, unless I am missing something.

    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Kenn,

      It wasn’t until a couple of years later that Packards were available with a factory installed radio, with the knobs and dial in the dash. The control on the steering column is indeed a radio head. You can see the 2 cables coming out the back side. These connected to the main radio unit under the dash area. One controlled the dial station search, the other controlled the on/off and volume.

      Like 4

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