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America’s Finest: 1932 Packard 902 Victoria

Today America lacks a truly high-end luxury automobile brand, but this wasn’t always so. In the early part of the 1900’s there were many manufactures that were building luxury cars that more then rivaled their foreign competitors. However by the 1930’s, if you were in the market for a luxury car and you didn’t want to buy foreign you really only had one option, Packard. At one time this 1932 Packard 902 Victoria Convertible was one of the most luxurious cars money could buy, but after a long stay in a barn it’s in need of a complete restoration. Listed here on eBay with an asking price of $67,500 it will be hard for anyone to come out ahead on this project. Then again, the last one to sell at auction sold for nearly double that…

It looks like everything is still with the car, but time has taken its toll. The interior looks to be in the roughest condition and is going to need all new upholstery, a new top, and a good share of wood work. Thankfully most of the structural pieces look solid and salvageable, which will help cut down on fabrication costs a bit. The seller claims that not only does the car have its original interior, but that it’s still wearing its original paint. With all the surface rust, we have our doubts, but then again the car was parked in the same barn for over 50 years.

Packards weren’t just luxurious and beautifully styled cars, they were also incredibly advanced. Some of the more impressive features included the adjustable suspension system, Bijur automatic chassis lubrication system, and an all-synchromesh gearbox. The Ride Control system, as seen above, allowed the driver to fine tune the suspension while driving for the smoothest ride possible. These cars were masterpieces of American engineering and are considered to be some of the easiest and most enjoyable prewar cars to drive.

When Packard introduced the 900 series, the car received much acclaim. This was in part because of its fantastic styling, but mostly because of the new 320 cui inline 8 producing 110 hp. This car’s engine currently isn’t running, but looks to be complete and hopefully isn’t seized up. The seller doesn’t state whether it’s the original block or not, so we would be sure to check into the car’s history before we made any kind of offer. This car isn’t very fast by today’s standards, but in 1932 this was considered a high speed luxury machine.

Packards of this era are becoming hard to come by and have always been popular, which has driven up their value considerably. Even so given the condition of this car and the body style, we think the seller’s asking price is a bit too high. This car would be a great starting point for a restoration, but the seller’s asking price might make that prospect unrealistic. Do you guys think the seller is dreaming or does the rarity of a prewar Packard justify this kind of money?

Source: eBay


  1. Lemble

    This is a great car ! I wish I had the money to bring it back from the Barn ! Nothing is better looking than a 30’s Packard .

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  2. J. Pickett

    Every one thinks the one in the barn is worth what they get at auction. That’s why I hate televised auctions.

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  3. M.Mayzsak

    I honestly think that they are dreaming that car, would yes be worth that much if it was well taken care of, but i have a 1930 and its worth that and its in prefect condition, and it runs and the interior is in way better shape. Ask them if you can make an offer.

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  4. Bob Shuman

    Packard was the only choice? I would suggest there are a few more choices. How could you forget the Cad 16, Auburn, Duesenberg, Cord, Pierce Arrow, the American manufactured Rolls Royce (The Springfield Rolls Royce), and many others. This Packard isn’t even the top of the line Packard. They had a V-12 in the top of the line models.

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  5. theodosius

    When I could get a late 20s (I think it is a 1928) Packard that drives weekly through downtown Cincinnati as the owner goes around visiting his rental properties and it could probably be had for less than the asking price of this one, it’s hard to believe people pay this much…

    Then again, Jimmy did drive his Alfa Romeo 2900B around Cincinnati on a daily basis for 50 years…

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    I’M BIDDING $50.00——–lets call a spade a spade—AND JUNK—JUNK——

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  7. Ripley

    He paid about 40K for it on May 19th at the Dragones Auction. Interesting car.

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  8. Tom Minch

    It is a very desirable body and it is not in that bad of condition, but with an 8 cylinder and needing the entire interior I think it is worth 40k tops.

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  9. James Wallhauser

    I agree with Bob Shuman. This car is indeed well-engineered and built, but in this condition and it’s frankly stodgy coachwork I think $67K is serious dreaming. There are so many really stylish luxury cars to choose from in the same price range (67K + restoration)…On the other hand, maybe someone’s Grandad had one growing up and money’s no object. It’ll always be a nice old Packard.

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  10. Richard

    So, you’re saying Duesenberg, which was in business until 1937, did not measure up to Packard? I politely disagree.

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  11. Per Ahlstrom

    The syncro must have been broken on the ’34 de Dietrich Convertible Saloon I once had the pleasure to drive.
    This is a nice body, but the price is just ridiculous. Restoring a Packard takes a crane to lift all the heavy pieces and a ton of money. I hope the seller gets real so the car can be saved.

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  12. someone else

    Looks like the intake and exhaust manifolds have been off, suggesting a significant and forceful effort to get the engine to unstuck, apparently without success. Price Is OK by me and it’s a definite consideration but right now the stars aren’t aligned right.

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  13. A.J.

    Along with the others mentioned don’t forget Stutz which was in business until 1935. You also had the Reo Royale & Marmon until 33. I like Packard but that was a crazy comment.

    As for value, the guy selling this car knows what he’s doing. It may be a strong price but you can’t compare a 32 to a 30 and this is a desirable and rare body style.

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  14. Barn Finds

    Good points guys. There were some very reputable luxury manufacturers still around in 1932, but take a look at their production numbers. Packard was the obvious leader in their segment. While most of the other brands mentioned above only produced in the hundreds to thousands range, Packard cranked out tens of thousands. So, yes, we were wrong in saying there was only one option. There were others, but for most consumers, Packard was the obvious choice.

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  15. Abel

    … always sparks my interest whenever I find out about example: $80K invested asking $40K. Sometimes cheaper is more expensive in my book. Start cheap and sink $$$. If a car is mostly complete it’s priceless to me. The bottom line is that it is a fine Packard and a ’32 plus a convertible – not a big fan of this body style. I’ve learned it’s the journey- not the finished product ( if you have the time to toil and build). But after pondering – and the thought of stepping up to the plate, this would be a good trade car due to the non-V12 pedigree for me. Hope the owner at least breaks even. It will sell, but times are not the same. Good luck. No offense to anyone. On the flip side: good father son or grandson started project.

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  16. Andacar

    I’d grab it in a second if I could, but not at that price. The closeup of the grille tells of thousands in replating bills alone. I’d wondered about the engine too, “someone else,” and your comment doesn’t bode well. I see a lot of unpleasant surprises, late nights, months searching for parts, busted knuckles, and a liberal amount of colorful swearing in this car’s future. Still, I’d love to make it a long term project for me and my son.

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  17. Dick

    I am now 70 and it is so sad for me to see such prices for any car. What was once just a FUN hobby has turned into just big money and ALL the fun is gone. It is a rich mans game now and deals like this are way overpriced as far as I am concerned. Just my opinion but it makes me sad and angry.

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    • Andacar

      I know exactly how you feel Dick. I often feel I was born too late to get involved with cars like this. My dream is a 36 or 37 Packard sedan. It doesn’t have to be Concourse quality and it doesn’t need to be a V12 (although that would be great of course!) But even a halfway decent one is in the neighborhood of $50,000, and I don’t see how I’d ever be able to do it with the present employment situation. Every issue of Hemmings is crammed with the latest stupefying prices for some rare car that the buyer usually gets as an “investment.” They seldom if ever drive it, and it sits in their million dollar garage for a year or two then gets sold again for an even higher price. If I got a car like this I’d keep it and drive it forever. Makes me sad and angry too.

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      • Dick

        Thanks for your comments. I am old school and will be till the day I die. I often wish I had kept even just a few of my cars, I have owned 200 cars in my life mostly 30’s through early 70’s and had some great cars. I have owned five 55 Ford Crown Victorias, several Hudsons, Edsels, American Bantam’s and Citroën’s just to name a few. My first car in hi school was a 31 Model A ford coupe in great original condition.
        Memories is all I have left but now I collect diecast models so I still enjoy old cars just a little smaller.

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  18. Packard Lover

    you can find a nice packard sedan ready to enjoy for $20-30k if you’re satisfied with a 115 or a 120, and even if you want a 36 eight or 37 super eight (basically the same car except front suicide doops for 36 and independent front w suspension for 37) you can find nice drivers for $25-$40.

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