High-quality older restoration. New leather interior two years ago. Runs and drives superbly. Desirable rumble seat convertible coupe. Five new Diamondback radials, still 6V but starts instantly on 12V—nice!
It would be a mistake to dismiss this gorgeous convertible because it's a "junior" Packard. The same quality, the same engineering, and the same look as the senior Packards make this 120 an extremely appealing car. Packard Cream was a popular color on these cars and it's exactly right—not yellow, not off-white, but a bold cream that stands out without being too dramatic about it. Red accents match the interior and trademark Packard hexagon emblems on the bumpers and hubcaps, and the familiar spear sweeping across the hood is finished in a darker tan just to add some interest. The restoration is probably 20 years old, but it is holding up remarkably well thanks to long-term care with a conscientious owner and his family, who continued to love and enjoy the car even after his passing. Most of the chrome was restored with the rest of the car and shows extremely well, including the bumpers and tall vertical grille slats.
Two years ago, the interior was restored using beautiful bright red leather and it shows extremely well. From the properly stitched and stuffed seats to the simple door panels and appropriately plush carpets, this car feels luxurious from within. The big banjo-style wheel makes this car surprisingly easy to handle and you'll quickly feel at home once you hit the road. The cream-colored gauges are all operational even with the car's unorthodox electrical system (more on this in a moment) and the optional AM radio does power up but does not make sound. There's also a fully operational heater under the dash as well as a hand choke for starting. Other controls designed to make this car an ideal traveling partner are the column-mounted turn signals (which are somehow self-cancelling—how'd they do that?) along with switches for an electric fuel pump and pusher fan on the front of the radiator. We believe the 10,236 miles showing on the odometer are since the 1990s restoration was completed. The tan convertible top folds easily once you know the tricks and in the down position, it sits so neatly that a boot probably isn't necessary. There's also a fully finished trunk.
The 1936 120 straight-8 received a small bump in displacement to 282 cubic inches, which translated to a rather healthy 120 horsepower and a big swell of that famous Packard straight-8 torque. Rebuilt at the time of restoration, this one starts easily and runs beautifully, pulling the convertible coupe around with ease and making it almost entirely unnecessary to shift out of high gear at anything but a dead stop. You will note a modern alternator installed on the driver's side of the engine, along with a 12-volt battery mounted on the firewall, both of which were added to the car's electrical system a few years ago to improve starting and to power the aforementioned electric fan. However, the car is NOT as 12-volt conversion, as the original 6-volt generator, wiring, and battery (under the driver's seat) are still in place. It will start using the original START button on the dash (6V) OR using a separate button under the dash (12V), and we have to admit that using 12 volts, it fires almost instantly. Once it's running, the 6V ignition takes over and thanks to having both a generator and an alternator, both batteries are charged as it runs. Nice!
Detailing is quite correct, with Packard Green on the block, an oil bath air cleaner, and single downdraft carburetor, and you can see that the workmanship was quite good when the restoration was finished. There's some heat shielding, which works with an electric fuel pump on the frame to alleviate the effects of today's fuels in old cars so it's a reliable runner. There's a minor exhaust leak somewhere under the heat shield by the carburetor, but it's only noticeable under heavy acceleration. It just purrs at idle and on the open road, it exhibits no bad habits, which is just what you'd expect from a Packard.
The Saf-T-Flex independent front suspension delivers the softy Packard ride that you would expect and the 3-speed manual transmission shifts easily with synchromesh on 2nd and 3rd. The chassis was nicely detailed at the time of restoration but shows the effects of 10,000 tour miles—some grunge but no rust, damage, or issues that need to be addressed. There are 4.09 gears out back, which give this Packard comfortable cruising speeds with today's traffic. The brakes are firm and plenty adequate for the car's performance and it sits on brand new 700R16 Diamondback wide whitewall radials that completely transform the ride and handling. This is a car that begs you to get out and drive!
The car includes an owner's manual, matching spare tire and wheel, plus two extra 16-inch wheels.
This lovely Packard combines the most desirable body style (the rumble seat would disappear after 1937) with what are arguably the best road manners of any '30s car you can own. With spectacular colors, excellent care and maintenance, a few clever upgrades, and no issues, it is ready to tour. Take this 120 home and we're quite certain you will love the way it drives. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com
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