1937 Packard 115-C Cabriolet
Coachwork by Graber
Packard Motor Car Company produced some of the most attractive factory coachwork of any company. As a result of this few Packards received custom bodywork. There are some notable custom bodies out there but even the famed Deitrich and LeBarons of 34 were still basically factory-styled cars. Packard liked to control the looks of their cars and when they did offer coachwork by other builders it was often to there own design or selection.
Things were a bit different in Europe. Tax laws and duties made imported cars prohibitively expensive. In certain countries if the car was imported as a chassis and equipped with European coachwork and accessories a significant portion of the duty could be avoided. Never a truly popular concept, a handful of American made it to Europe and received custom coachwork upon arrival.
This is the case with this handsome Packard. The junior series Packards had particular appeal abroad as there size was more appropriate for the road conditions. Also the smaller motor was not taxed as heavily as the senior cars. The attractive 120/115 cars were excellent starting points for the coachbuilder. Among European coachbuilders none was more successful at bodying the Junior Packards then Graber. Their 1938 1601 Custom Cabriolet is perhaps the finest looking European bodied Packard.
Graber was initially trained in traditional coachbuilding by his father and produced his first automobile body in 1927 on a Fiat chassis. Within two years he was an established and award winning builder. Graber had a particular knack for American cars as several Duesenbergs and at least one Hudson survive today.
Graber was able to successfully combine his European flare with the handsome Packard radiator. The car has a handsome elegant appearance that is quite different from its factory-bodied counterpart. The body is well proportioned and the delicate windshield compliments the shapely top. The chrome sweep trim carries the line of the hood back to the rear of the car. The interior with its folding bucket seats and distinctive door panels is quite sporting. The nicely finished wood grained dash stands in strong contrast to the light colored leather. The exterior has many fine details like the custom cloisonné Packard badge on the radiator and Graber body tags on the cowl.
These small Packards offer excellent performance, especially when compared to equivalent European machines. With a 3.9 liter six-cylinder engine the car has plenty of hill climbing power and brisk acceleration. The engine produces 100 hp at 3600 rpms and is set in Packards exceptional x braced frame. The frames independent front suspension with coil springs and hydraulic dampers is known for its fine road manners. The powerful hydraulic brakes give you confidence in modern traffic.
- Please note that the chassis number in this vehicle is 115C1088, and the engine number is T40249. This title is in transit.