Hello, new with question on best years to collect

General topics, not covered elsewhere, of all things Packard.
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ketronj281989
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2022 2:13 am

Hello, new with question on best years to collect

Post by ketronj281989 » Wed Jan 26, 2022 2:28 am

Hello, wanted to introduce myself. I am 32 and into pre-war auto's mainly 1935 thru 1939. I currently have a 1936 Ford V8, do most of my own mechanical and servicing work minus rebuilding engine and body work. I have enjoyed the lower end mass produced cars and ready to take a larger step towards senior cars. I was looking into pre-war Cadillac and Packard. My budget is around $80,000 or less and would rather have a sorted and period correct restored car although would flock to a good complete well maintained original car. My questions for you all if you are able to help:

How hard are parts to obtain for the 8's, super 8's, and V12 cars?

Which years are those to flock to and to stay away from?

I understand Coupe's/convertibles are quite rare and command more of a premium just as the lower end market.

Are the V12 cars difficult to maintain?

How expensive are good quality specialist engine rebuilds for the 8, super 8 and V12?

What could my price point of $80,000 or less get me? Do Packard's command a premium over other senior cars such as Cadillac?

I hear the Packard club is well organized and quite active. I am excited to have joined this forum and learn more about Packard cars.


Thank you for your time and responses,

Jon Ketron

Nachtjager
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2021 1:03 pm

Re: Hello, new with question on best years to collect

Post by Nachtjager » Fri Jan 28, 2022 12:23 pm

That's a lot of questions! I've just gotten back into the prewar cars after a fairly long hiatus and bought a '29 633 Club Sedan last August. I'll try to address some of your questions.

If you're accustomed to working on prewar Fords, be warned, NOTHING is easily found or is as readily available for ANY Packard as it is for ANY prewar Ford. The older the Packard, the harder it is to find parts and the more expensive the parts are - so, try to get something already restored, running, and driving if at all possible.

The easiest to keep and maintain (to me) are the '35 to '41 models, as they produced a good many of them and they have more reproduction and used parts available for them - both the eights and the sixes. They are fairly easy cars to work on, fairly easy to understand, and when they break down, you can generally find the parts for them without a whole lot of trouble, but even then, depending on the part, you will have to do a lot of hunting. You're not going to be able to pick up a catalog and just order whatever you need for any of these cars, regardless of what year it is, because there just aren't many of them out there, so, parts are a challenge and knowledge has become even more of a challenge as the generation who initially loved these cars has largely died off.

V12 cars are extremely expensive, they are extremely hard to maintain, and if something mechanical fails in the engine, you're probably going to have to have it machined from scratch unless it's one of the parts they shared with the Super 8's - which isn't really that many. Unless you have VERY deep pockets, stay away from the twelve cylinder cars - they are very sexy and fantastic, but that comes at a very high cost.

It comes down to personal preference and what you like to do. $80K will buy you just about any closed prewar Packard you could imagine these days. I paid less than $40K for my 1929 Club Sedan and it's a twenty-year-old ground-up restoration of a 30,000 original mile car. The paint on it is incorrect and I will be repainting it, but other than that the car is still in show quality condition. It sat for a long time in a museum environment, however, and that sitting took its toll on the car, it was only driven 300 miles in twenty years - I've put over 400 on it since last August. With that comes a lot of crazy unexpected issues just from sitting - the fuel pump died, the carb needed work, and I'm still chasing an electrical gremlin that has sidelined the car since New Year's day, even though it was professionally rewired with a correct wiring harness when it was restored (a wire somewhere is grounding and so far haven't been able to find it).

Driving a pre-1932 model is akin to driving a dump truck compared to driving a Model A, '32 Ford, '34 Ford, or any prewar Ford. These cars are heavy, they have purely mechanical brakes, there's no assisted anything on these cars. For that, again, you have to go with the later thirties models, and at least then you get better brakes, better ventilation, and much easier steering because the cars are generally much lighter.

All that said, there is a price in blood, sweat, and tears to be payed for having the priviledge of owning an older one. When you pull up at a local parking lot show, everyone will flock to the car. If you're going down the road, it will get stared at and you will get a lot of thumbs up and people taking cell phone photos. I personally prefer the '28 to '31 models because of their elegance and good looks, but, again, they are NOT the easiest or cheapest cars to maintain if you're going to drive them.

As to comparison with a Cadillac or LaSalle or other contemporary, there is just an air of prestige saying you own a Packard as compared to something people are more familiar with. Not to sound snobbish, but when you tell people it's a Packard (and people almost always ask what it is), their reaction is completely different. They are familiar with Cadillacs, Buicks, Lincolns, and things like that, but just saying it's a Packard automatically sets the car apart from the rest. Are they more expensive? Not really. All the prewar larger cars cost about the same regardless of what they are unless you get into really exotic bodies. For things like a club sedan, coupe, roadster, or conventional sedan, all of the larger cars cost about the same.

If you're shopping with $80K in your pocket, you can buy just about whatever you want in the prewar Packard field short of a big open car. Just be aware, they are VERY different from Fords, and when they break down, be prepared to wait a month (or more) sometimes to find the parts you need.

Good luck!

ketronj281989
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2022 2:13 am

Re: Hello, new with question on best years to collect

Post by ketronj281989 » Sun Jan 30, 2022 2:52 am

Hi,

Thank you so much for all the thought and detail in your response! It has helped me immensely to make a better decision moving forward. I almost pulled the trigger on a 1934 Packard 1101 the other day, I wanted to wait to garner more information. I understand the part's issue and figured it will be one negative to owning a pre war senior car, they just didn't make that many compared to the more mass produced market of the time. I will be sure to look for a sorted car, an older restoration, that is running and driving well. There are cars like that out there even as of right now, like the '34 Packard. Being the lower end for that series I may wait for a higher end car circa 1935-39.

Thanks once again! Greatly appreciate your response!!

Jon Ketron

Nachtjager
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2021 1:03 pm

Re: Hello, new with question on best years to collect

Post by Nachtjager » Tue Feb 01, 2022 12:25 pm

Not a problem. The '34's aren't bad cars at all - did a LOT of touring with a '34 1100 series sedan back in the 1980's. They are a lot more comfortable than the earlier models. '33 and '34 were very transitional cars for Packard - last of the old breed before the new "streamlined" models came out in 1935. Good luck and definitely pays to find one running and driving before pulling that trigger!

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