Original Interior and Paint: 1929 Packard 645 Dietrich

Consummately elegant and purposeful, this Deitrich-bodied 1929 Packard 645 Deluxe Eight Roadster rides on the same 145 inch wheelbase as a 2016 Ford F-150 SuperCab XL, the longest wheelbase of any American car in 1929. This seven passenger touring car awaits a new owner in Saint Joseph, Minnesota, with a listing here on Hemmings.com and an asking price of $245,000.

This side-view accentuates the generous wheelbase, which not only accommodates a long body with more passenger space but also smooths out pitching motion on rough roads. Perhaps we should admire the seller’s audacity in composing a listing with an asking price nearing one-quarter of a million dollars that includes only three pictures that could have been taken during a chance encounter in a parking lot. Some sellers believe the listing is merely a conversation-starter triggering serious buyers to call and ask the appropriate questions. Personally I favor the approach of the auction houses:  create a portfolio for each vehicle corresponding in richness of the asking price.

This rear-quarter view answers the question of why Americans refer to the luggage compartment as a trunk. This car is said to be wearing its original 88 year-old paint and leather interior. The two-tone color scheme with black fenders and black tires lends this Packard a more sporty look. This similar car, also listed on Hemmings, imparts a more formal presence with its bold single color and wide white-walls. Deitrich and other coach builders represented the epitome of luxury automobiles, building bodies for the wealthy elite much as some exotic car builders do today.

Packard rode atop the luxury car world in 1929, with all ’29s powered by finely engineered and crafted straight-eight engines. An idling Packard eight runs so smoothly that you can stand a nickel on edge on the cylinder head and it will not tip. This car’s 385 cid eight produced 105 HP and a buttery 350 lb-ft of torque (some details courtesy of this excellent page on ChicagoVintage.com). Close your eyes and imagine yourself gripping the giant steering wheel and releasing the clutch on this vehicular jewel… top down, blue sky, the sound of tires on gravel then tarmac, nearly silent in motion save for some wind and gear noise… Pure bliss. What is your daydream for this long-bodied beauty?

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Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    Now…….that’s a car…….hardly a barn find…..

    1
    • Gbauer

      My exact reaction when I saw it was “wow. That’s a car.”

      I think that’s precisely what any car guy would say.

      My next thought was “would it actually fit in my garage….”

      Sadly the answer is no. But if I had a quarter million to spend on a 245″ wheel base Packard I’d have a spare 100k to spend on a proper garage for it.

      1
      • Andy

        It’s only 145″, not 245. Not a deal breaker after all! Quite the check!

    • Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

      Hi Dave W. – No mention of a barn, true. I would have passed were it not for the stated original paint and leather interior. Sadly no pictures of the latter. Plus I don’t need much of an excuse to feature a Packard from their hey-day.

  2. glen

    She’s a beauty. Were definitely moving out of barn find territory, however.I guess you would need a barn to park this beast!

  3. John H from CT

    If I close my eyes and imagine I am driving this car, I also see myself in a chaffeur’s uniform. That’s the problem with these. Few, if any owners ever drove them. As owner, you were meant to be driven.

    Much different are the sport coupes. These were meant to be driven by the owner.

    So, as elegant as phaetons are, especially dual cowl versions, I’ll never own one.

    • Andy

      That’s why their slogan was “Ask The Man Who Owns One,” not “Ask the Man Who Drives One.” Not always the same guy.

  4. Sam

    Here’s a Packard from today’s hill climb in Ephraim, WI

  5. joeinthousandoaks

    Great car, possibly the finest ever featured here.

  6. Trickie Dickie Member

    According to the latest “Chasing Classic Cars” on Velocity, this is the exact model Packard that President FDR had while in the White House.

    • Andy

      Really? I can imagine that White House motor pool turnover was slow back then, but this car was built at the start of the Hoover administration. With FDR in office so long, I imagine he went through several Packards along with his famous hand-control Ford.

      • jackthemailman

        I saw that episode. FDR bought the car when he was Governor of New York. The present Gov (A Cuomo) wanted Wayne (and Roger, who probably worked on it when FDR was Governor) to get it in tip top running shape for the rededication of some (don’t remember) bridge between two Boroughs of NYC. Right spiffy, that Packard.

  7. Al

    Its not too much in BitCoin, mere pocket change.

    However, I just can’t seem to get it in the pocket.

    So who lost the dual-cowl phaeton windshield on this one?

    • Andy

      I suspect it never had the second cowl if it’s a 7 seater. That would make the jump seats rather uncomfortable.

  8. Rustytech

    These early Packards were near the top of the heap among luxury cars. I would love to drive one just once so I could say I’ve done it! Alas I will never own one, and not many people who would slap down a quarter million dollars for a car are going to let a stranger ( even a fellow car enthusiast) take off with it anywhere.

  9. ron bajorek

    exactly what i’m looking for

  10. Jamie H

    Interesting car. Dietrich body or not it will be for a while at that price. I have wanted to buy a Packard of this vintage for awhile and it’s a $100k over market.

    • Howard A

      Hi Jamie, I agree, someone has high hopes, or hasn’t been keeping up with the market. These “full classics” have taken a huge hit these days, not because of what a fantastic car this is, it’s just younger folks don’t have a connection to these cars, much less actually being able to drive it, ( not that I’d want to drive it in this crazy world today, somebody texting and stuff that beautiful trunk into the back seat) and old folks are dying off, as probably what happened here. I’d say, in the coming years, we’ll see more and more of these types of cars for sale, and I doubt they will sell for a quarter mil.

  11. John

    That is in Jay Leno territory, I could only wish.

  12. ccrvtt

    My college roommate’s grandfather penned the slogan, “Ask the man who owns one.” Enough reason for a life-long friendship.

  13. Bill

    Todd, beautifully written article for an elegant piece of automotive history.

    • Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

      Thank you Sir!

  14. Dick A Member

    When I just now got to BF online and opened , I had a huge smile on my face. What a pleasure to see such a magnificent Packard! When I am concours judging, I always assign myself to “American Classics, Prewar”. This is one reason why. It gives me a good chance to really get up close with these wonderful machines. Only then can one really see why these automobiles are so special. The craftsmanship, the materials, the design and the overall presence of such a wonderful car as these Packards.

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