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This 1932 Packard Light Eight Series 900 Roadster was made to match its Depression-era market. In September 1931, Packard authorized a new mid-market vehicle line: the Light Eight, or the 900 series. It used the same engine as Packard’s Standard Eight, but weighed less. Codenamed “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. For one thing, the company’s high standards meant the Light Eight 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 volume line. Packard’s mid-market plan ultimately 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. The company went on to purchase Studebaker in 1953 and form the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Ind.
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 the Light Eights were styled in-house by Werner Gubitz. He was responsible for most of the Packard body designs through 1947 when he retired.
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
- 127-Inch Wheelbase
- Vacuum-Operated, Four-Wheel Drum Brakes
- $1,795 Original Purchase Price
- 17-by-6.5-Inch Tires
- Rear-Wheel Drive
- Only Produced for 1 Year