If you're a Packard man, you've already examined this 1930 740 Custom 8 5-passenger phaeton pretty carefully. Few cars of the period are more desirable, and with a nice older restoration, this is an A-list tour candidate that reminds us all why Packards in particular are such treasured heirlooms. As one of the senior series cars that year, the 740 models (versus the "standard" 726 and 733 which used smaller engines) remain quite rare with only 6200 built, of which only a handful were phaetons.
With all the high-fashion restorations that created gaudy color combinations on these cars in the '90s and 00s, it's really nice to see one wearing period-correct Dove Gray with dark blue details. Add in some (very) minor patina and you have a striking, imposing, and quite correct-looking Packard. The 5-passenger touring bodywork is one of the more highly-prized choices available that year, and the rakish phaeton looks even better in person than in photos - it's just imposing, particularly on the massive 140-inch wheelbase. The restoration was well done, and you can see how well the doors fit (often a challenge on wood-framed open bodies) and that long, long hood fits tight without fighting. Notable details include dual sidemounts and a rear trunk rack, adding to the sporting appearance. The chrome trim is beautifully done, from the Adonis hood ornament (AKA "the sliding boy") and traditional Packard grille shell, to the wonderfully curved bumpers that protect the rear fenders.
The blue leather interior was restored to replicate the factory look, too, and has that inviting look that's impossible to restore into a car â€ it has to be earned. The doors open wide enough that it's easy to get in and the simple door panels each offer a useful storage pocket for maps and small tools. The controls shouldn't be confusing; after all it was Packard who first used the now-familiar H-pattern for shifting the 4-speed manual transmission and the pedals are arranged in the usual fashion. The woodgrained dash is very well restored and features a complete array of instrumentation in a symmetrical layout. The levers on the steering wheel are for the hand throttle and headlights and there's a glove box for both driver and passenger. In back, legroom is astounding thanks to the Custom 8's longer wheelbase, and they've thoughtfully provided a foot rest, robe rail, and a small storage compartment behind the front seat. The tan canvas top remains in very good order, folding easily into a neat stack behind the seats.
Top-of-the-line 740 and 745 models received a massive 385 cubic inch straight-8 that purred to the tune of about 130 horsepower, which was a very big number for 1930 when Fords were making 40. But the real story is torque, and this big straight-8 loafs along on a creamy-smooth wave of power that moves it effortlessly from 5 MPH in top gear all the way to a 55 MPH cruising speed. The engines are legendary for their durability and smoothness, and while it shows some signs of use, it remains a great runner that's ready to go. The restoration work was done correctly and the many components show correct finishes. The transmission is a non-synchronized 4-speed manual, so brush-up on your double-clutching, but thanks to towering 4.69 gears out back, you really shouldn't need to do much of it. Brakes are mechanical drums all around, and compared to many of its contemporaries, the Packard is impressive in the braking department. Disc wheels were an option, and it's nice to see them painted to match the body instead of chromed, which was popular for many years, and they're especially well-dressed in a set of 7.00-19 blackwall tires.
For Packard fans, this 740 Custom phaeton is a very rare treat, and if you're looking to acquire a top-tier Full Classic for touring, this is an outstanding candidate at a VERY attractive price. Call today!
This vehicle is located in our Charlotte, NC showroom. For more information, please call (704) 598-2130 or toll free (866) 542-8392.