1932 Packard Model 900 'Light Eight' Coupe Roadster with Rumble Seat Coachwork by Packard Registration no. Packard Chassis no. 55986 Engine no. 361793
Always built to the highest standards, the Packard was unquestionably one of the finest American cars of the pre-war era. Packard introduced its first 'Eight' in 1924 and by the decade's end was building eight-cylinder cars only.
The Depression years that followed the Wall Street Crash of October 1929 hit the American automobile industry hard. With sales falling, Packard's response was the introduction of a more modestly priced model - the Model 900 Light Eight in 1932. 'We are offering a car that can be purchased out of income and not capital' claimed Packard, tapping into the mood of the times. Unfortunately, Packard's high standards of build quality meant the Light Eight could not be produced cheaply enough to entice new customers, and those established clients that did buy it often did so instead of purchasing one of Packard's larger models. Given these circumstances it is not surprising that the Light Eight lasted for only a single season, making it one of the rarer models surviving from this prestigious company.
Powered by Packard's 5.2-litre straight-eight cylinder engine, the Light Eight was of advanced design and was very well received at the time, being reckoned lovely to drive. The work of Packard's chief designer Werner Gubitz, the Light Eight's handsome coachwork boasted sweeping modern lines flowing back from a distinctive 'shovel nose' radiator. With 110bhp on tap, the Light Eight was good for 72mph. Only four body styles were offered - two sedans and two coupes.
Of the 6,750 Light Eights made between January and December 1932, only 1,000-or-so were fitted with what is arguably the best proportioned, lightest and most attractive coachwork available, the Coupe Roadster. Original factory options fitted to this example of the latter include five-spoke wheels shod with whitewall tyres; chromium plated radiator shell and Packard exhaust embellisher; a correct pair of 'Trippe' lights mounted to the front bumper, an Eight Day Waltham right-side glovebox clock; and Packard encrypted rear-view mirror clock. The red/cream livery is completed by a rare Red-Ashay glass lady's head mascot, which can be illuminated by flicking the dashboard-mounted switch.
The car was imported to Europe in 1995 and remained in a private collection until 2001, at which time it was acquired by the present owner. A good example of an older, high-quality restoration (undertaken in the USA), the car has mellowed somewhat since, though the paintwork remains in generally good condition. While in Europe, the Packard was maintained by Dutch specialist Bart Holland Restorations. Servicing has continued while the Packard has formed part of this special collection in Dubai, including new tyres in the summer of 2010, and the car comes with MoT to 2011.