This 1932 Packard Light Eight Series 900 Roadster was made with the Depression-era market in mind. In September 1931, Packard authorized a new, mid-market vehicle line: the Light Eight or 900 series. It used the same engine as Packard’s Standard Eight but weighed less. Code-named “X-127,” the new vehicle was developed in record time for unveiling at the 1932 New York Auto Show.
A rarity, the Light Eight was discontinued after just one season. The company’s high standards meant the model couldn’t be produced cheaply enough to lure new customers. And instead of hurting rival automakers, the Light Eight cut into sales of the Standard Eight, Packard’s own volume line. The company’s mid-market plan backfired.
Brothers in Business
Brothers James and William Packard, along with their partner George Weiss, founded Packard in 1899, and the company produced its first automobiles that same year. Packard went on to purchase Studebaker in 1953 and form the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana.
Known for the ‘Nose’
Of the 6,750 Light Eights manufactured between January and December 1932, only an estimated 1,000 – including this one – were fitted with Coupe Roadster coachwork. All Light Eights were styled in-house by Werner Gubitz. He was responsible for most of the Packard body designs until his retirement in 1947.
The most distinguishing design feature of the Light Eight was the “shovel nose” or “snowplow front” design of the radiator shell. Additionally, the 900 was the first Packard to have a synchromesh gearbox, which offered top-notch smoothness and quiet operation. The gearbox earned the 900 the nickname “The Hot Rod Packard.”
1932 Packard Light Eight Series 900 Specs:
- 320 cubic inch, straight-eight engine
- 110 hp
- Vacuum-operated, four-wheel drum brakes
- Rear-wheel drive
- 127-inch wheelbase
- 17 by 6.5-inch tires
- Originally priced at $1,795
- Only produced for one year