1929 Packard 633 7-Passenger Sedan - SOLD
     
  • Overview & History
  • Specifications
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It looks great, drives superbly, is mechanically sorted out, and remains eminently affordable for a car that will get you into all the top events.

You never forget your first love, right? This 1929 Packard 633 sedan was the very first car I ever listed when I became a collector car dealer. It came from a spectacular collection owned by a gentleman I now call a friend, and even though he’d only just met me, he put me behind the wheel and let me enjoy the car. The asking price was as reasonable then as it is now, and I very seriously considered buying this car for myself. It looks great, drives superbly, is mechanically sorted out, and remains eminently affordable for a car that will get you into all the top events. In short, if I was going to become a ball player, I needed a glove, and this Packard was it. Sadly, before I could get everything in order, someone else came along and bought it, which is often how these things go. Today, four years later, that buyer is moving into something a little older (think: brass) and needs some space in his garage, so he called me up to reintroduce me to this Packard. I’m thrilled to see it again.

Restored in the 1980s, this elegant sedan today presents as a well-sorted driver that is ideal for touring and casual shows. Refinished in the original paint scheme of Black over Highland Green with Peewee Green pin striping, it’s an elegant, formal-looking car that is ideally complimented by recently installed black wall tires. The paint is single-stage lacquer and the finish is still excellent on the body, though the front fenders are just now starting to show their age. The doors open and close precisely and latch securely with no rattles and the top insert is brand new, so it seals up as well as any car of the era. Chrome and other bright work on the car is a combination of original items and pieces that were undoubtedly restored with the rest of the car. Obviously the door handles are original pieces that have aged to a nice patina, but the radiator shell, bumpers, and cowl trim were all re-plated at the time of restoration and remain in good condition today, with only very minor pitting visible where the radiator shell meets the painted center insert. The famous “lady with donut” hood ornament is in good condition, and I’m not sure restoring it again would improve its appearance. The headlights and cowl lights carry a soft gloss that is exactly appropriate to the car, while the Packard crest on the radiator shell appears to be in original condition. Aftermarket taillights and side-view mirrors have been added in the name of touring safely, and a turn signal system has been incorporated into the cowl lights. I think if this were my car, I’d find a way to better disguise those rear taillights, but they work properly and greatly improve visibility from behind. Of note, the most recent owner added Trippe lights up front and a trunk out back, both of which give the car a more substantial and upscale look and are excellent additions to a big Classic like this.

The tan wool broadcloth interior is correctly finished and still holding up well after nearly three decades. The upholstery fabric is excellent, and even the driver’s seat shows very little wear. In back, space is expansive, and there’s plenty of room for five with the jump seats in place. Cushions are firm and the patterns are correct throughout. The brightwork is in good shape, and the gauges appear to all be functional except the fuel gauge and clock, although a fuel gauge repair kit is included with the sale of the car and should be an easy Saturday afternoon project. Sadly, there’s no way to verify whether the mileage shown is authentic, but it’s best to assume that it is not. The wood on the dash is in excellent shape, although the window garnish moldings are getting a little dry—easily remedied with some linseed oil. The aluminum floor boards up front are in excellent condition, and the hard rubber steering wheel feels great in your hands. It has spent the last four years in the desert of Scottsdale, Arizona, and if it doesn’t overheat there, it probably never will. There’s plenty of oil pressure, and, well, the car just went goes its business like it should.

Powering all 633 models in 1929 was Packard’s 320 cubic inch straight-8 producing 90 horsepower. Nine main bearings provide remarkable smoothness and durability, and Packard’s famous machining tolerances make these some of the most rugged and reliable engines of the era. For 1929, an oil filter was added, and there’s a level gauge for crankcase oil. This big sedan’s engine was likely rebuilt when the car was restored, and today runs beautifully using the original 6-volt electrics and vacuum tank fuel system. Cosmetically, the engine is functional and clean, not detailed for show, but it would not take much work to elevate it to the next level if that’s your desire. It still uses the correct Packard carburetor and vacuum tank, and I should point out that the crude homemade heat shield around the vacuum tank has been removed since these photos were taken and the engine bay has been cleaned up quite a bit. The engine shows signs of recent servicing including new spark plugs, wires, and recent valve work as evidenced by the new acorn nuts on top of the head. The engine fires up quickly, idles beautifully, and drives wonderfully, with big Packard torque available at very low speeds.

The transmission is, of course, a 3-speed manual, although Packard had not yet incorporated synchromesh into their transmissions in 1929, necessitating double-clutching. However, I found this one extremely easy to drive and it doesn’t mind quick shifting—in fact, it seems to prefer it. Downshifts are easy with just a quick blip of the throttle. Enhancing the driving experience is a Borg-Warner overdrive unit installed several years ago by overdrive expert Lloyd Young of Columbus, Ohio. The system is almost transparent in usage, and slips into overdrive at about 30 MPH when you lift off the throttle in high gear. You can feel a slight kick as the overdrive is activated, and then the car pulls easily up to about 55 MPH, where it will happily cruise all day. The system is easy to use and one of the best additions you can make to an old car with 4.69 gears in back. And while many cars of this vintage receive wide whitewalls when they are restored, the Packard catalog for 1929 shows this model with blackwall tires. With that in mind, this car now wears a set of new 6.50-20 Denman blackwalls on the original disc wheels. The effect is imposing and dramatic.

The rest of the chassis is clean and well-maintained, showing signs of many years of happy motoring. Components are serviceable and clean, but not detailed for show. The exhaust was probably replaced in the ‘80s and is still leak-free and sounds like a Packard should. Braking is firm and steady and the car tracks extremely well. The view over the Packard hood is my absolute favorite in all of motoring, thanks to many happy hours spent in a similar 1929 Packard phaeton when I was a kid, and it remains a fantastic way to tour the countryside.

This Packard was invited to the 2008 Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles, and presents today as a terrific tour candidate that can be shown proudly. A truly wonderful car that is best appreciated from behind the wheel. And in the interest of full disclosure, shortly after this car slipped away from me, I bought a 1929 Cadillac sedan (in green, with disc wheels) and had a Lloyd Young overdrive installed. There’s no higher praise I can give this car than the fact that I always wished it was mine.

Note that this car is currently located in Scottsdale, AZ.

Vehicle: 1929 Packard 633 7-Passenger Sedan
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 111073
Mileage: 37,549
VIN: 256568A
Engine: 320 cubic inch L-head straight-8
Transmission: 3-speed manual with overdrive
Gear Ratio: 4.6900000000000004
Wheelbase: 133.5 inches
Wheels: 20-inch steel wheels
Tires: 6.50-20 Denman
Exterior Color: Highland Green and Black
Interior Color: Tan Broadcloth
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