Delivered new to New Zealand, ex-Nathan Clark
1929 Packard Model 640 Rumble Seat Coupe
Chassis no. 175909
The first Packard automobile was completed in November 1899 and used a single-cylinder engine credited with 9 horsepower. The single-cylinder engine had yielded to the twin, then the four and the six, also to be joined by the straight-eight and the 12-cylinder Twin-Six. Packard inevitably rose to the top of any market segment in which it competed.
By the end of the 1920s, Packard was very well-established as a manufacturer of carefully engineered and properly built cars for the discerningand prosperousowner. Throughout most of the classic era, the Packard outsold all its competitors including Lincoln, Cadillac, and Pierce-Arrow combined.
In 1929, Packards new Custom Eight 640 was introduced with a chassis specifically designed for extravagant custom and semi-custom bodies. With their long hoods and their strong and silent 106hp, nine-main-bearing straight-eight engines, these Packards, are incredibly smooth cars built to an exceedingly high standard.
The Model 640 Packard from the Nathan Clark Collection is a right-hand drive example with New Zealand history. Displaying an Auckland identification under the driver's door, the car belonged to a farmer who had converted it to a pickup for hauling wood. Nathan had always wanted a Packard, his unique choice of a Kiwi-sourced vehicle stemmed from the high import tariffs on new cars into the country which created a fertile market for well kept older vehicles. Purchased as a project over 45 years ago, evidence of dual rear mounted spares and ornate wood inlays on the doors speak to the high quality and good condition of the car when it was brought to the US. The rear bodywork of the car from the top of the rear wheels back was cut away, but the frame and rear scuttle remain unmolested. Some of the parts removed in the surgery have been retained, including the rear decklid and rear spare mount. The original paint, upholstery, and interior wood are all present, much of it showing nice patina and in serviceable condition. It is understood the that this will be the first time in about half a century that the Packard will be making an appearance outside of the garage in which it has been stored.
The survival rates for closed cars from this era are low, despite the fact they far outnumbered their open counterparts in sales when new. Largely complete, it is an excellent project from which a fantastic result can no doubt be distilled.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.