The Packard story began in 1898 when the Packard brothers, James Ward Packard and William Doud Packard joined forces with George Weiss from Winton and decided to build their own cars. On November 6th 1899 the first Packard was completed and driven on the streets of Warren, Ohio. A handful of cars were built that year and it was in 1900 that production seriously started and the cars were sold under the name of the Ohio Automobile Company. The business prospered and in late 1902 the company was rebranded as the Packard Motor Car Company and production moved from Ohio to a purpose built facility in Detroit.
The Packard brand is synonymous with luxury, quality and innovation and in its heyday it was commonly referred to as being one of the “Three P’s” of American motoring royalty, along with Pierce-Arrow and Peerless.
Packard is well known for its iconic advertising slogan “Ask the Man Who Owns One”, however, it should also be better recognised for its engineering achievements and innovation.
Some of the major innovations bought to the motor car by Packard included: the ‘H’ pattern gear shift, the modern steering wheel (which replaced the tiller), the first production 12 cylinder engine, four wheel brakes and air-conditioning on a mass produced motor car.
In 1954 Packard merged with Studebaker which turned out to be the beginning of the end for Packard. The Packard name was phased out by 1962 and the last Studebaker rolled off the production line on March 16th 1966.
As a luxury motor vehicle manufacturer Packard was best known for its eight and twelve cylinder models, however, the company had great success with its six cylinder range of cars also. The Packard Sixes had many of the benefits of their ‘big brothers’ but were more competitively priced, hence, appealed to a broader market.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer this stunning 1926 Packard Six 326 Phaeton. This is a six cylinder 3rd series example built on the 126 inch wheelbase, hence, a model “326”.
This particular car is understood to have been delivered new to Australia as right hand drive, however, its early history is not known. It is believed to have spent many years in Queensland and at that time was painted yellow and used a promotional vehicle for a Gold Coast Restaurant. The car was acquired by its previous to current owners in 1972, and formed part of a significant car collection in Melbourne, Victoria. The car was used for rallies and Club outings and was then restored in the early to mid-1990’s. The car was repainted in its current colour scheme of caramel over ivory in 1993/94 and had its engine and suspension rebuilt in 1997. Further mechanical works were undertaken in 2002.
The current Brisbane based owners acquired the car in 2008 and had it stored in Melbourne using it occasionally for rallies and Club outings before bringing home in early 2012.
Although an older restoration the car presents and drives fabulously today. The paint work is excellent save for a few minor stone chips that have been touched up. Similarly all of the chrome, trim, glass and lenses are also excellent. The body and timber frame are also in very very good condition. The soft top (which looks like new) is in excellent condition and inside the cabin the interior trim and carpet, even though this was clearly retrimmed many years ago, are in good condition with no rips or tears evident. The engine bay and underside of the car are immaculate.
The car is not concours but it is a very very nice example.
Mechanically the car is strong. It starts ‘on the button’ and drives well. The steering is direct, the gear change is smooth and the brakes pull the car up as they should. The current owners would not hesitate to jump behind the wheel and drive it over a distance at the drop of a hat.
When restored back in the early 1990’s the cars owners opted to have the soft top roof fixed, and as such it cannot be opened. If its new owners wanted a tourer then the top could easily be modified as such. This year / model of Packard had a fueliser and oil rectifier fitted, and whilst both these items remain on the car for authenticity they are disconnected.
The car has just been serviced, had its carburettor rebuilt and a new set of tyres fitted.
A substantial assortment of spare parts, including an ‘essentially complete’ engine, spare crank shaft, starter motor, gear box, touch up paint and other items will accompany the car. Also included are two service manuals and a service parts list as well as a history file with service receipts and older photographs of the car. Interestingly the car was used in a photo shoot for Dolly magazine back in 1974 and the photographs from this article are in the file.