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Lot 122

1930 Packard 734 Speedster Runabout

  • Chassis no. 184089
  • Engine no. 184058

Sold for $187,000

125 bhp, 384.8 cu. in. L-head eight-cylinder engine, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 134.5"

- Offered from an important private collection

- Coveted boattail Speedster style

- Quality older restoration

The Packard Speedster was the brainchild of chief engineer Jesse Vincent. The first car, a boattailed roadster, was built by shortening and narrowing a runabout body and fitting it to a 126.5-inch wheelbase, 626 Standard Eight chassis. The engine was a 384.8-cubic inch Custom Eight unit, fitted with a high-compression head and high-lift camshaft to produce 130 bhp. Fenders, windshield, bumpers and lamps were removed or modified, lightening the car by 500 pounds. A production version was introduced in February 1929, first as a rumble-seat Roadster, later including a four-passenger Phaeton and a Sedan. Speedsters sold for around $5,000, about twice as much as a Standard Eight, and only 70 are reported to have been built.

For 1930, the Speedster line expanded to include a two-passenger boattailed Runabout and a Victoria, in addition to the Phaeton, Roadster and Sedan. A rumble seat Runabout was made available later in the year. Two engines were offered, a detuned 125-bhp unit or a more powerful 145-bhp version with high compression head, finned manifold, larger valves and a Detroit Lubricator updraft two-barrel carburetor. Top speed was in excess of 100 miles per hour. All cars featured a tachometer, finned brake drums and 19-inch wire wheels, though discs were optional. In concert with other Packards, for 1930 the Speedster received a new four-speed transmission, a redesigned water pump and a new grille with thermostatically-controlled shutters. Speedster production for 1930 was not much greater than in 1929 – just 113 units, after which the model was discontinued. High performance, stunning good looks and extreme rarity have made the 734 Speedster Runabout one of the most highly prized of all Packards today.

Although understood not to be an original 734 Speedster, the example offered here is believed to comprise a number of original Speedster parts. The other parts are either original Packard parts or accurate reproductions. The body is well constructed, and its details accurately match those of original Speedster bodies. The car has been fitted with a standard three-speed transmission and a high-speed rear axle.

Acquired by the current owner, a prominent collector, in 2005, it is finished in a lovely combination of two-tone red with a tan top and tan leather interior. It has benefited from a high-point, full professional body-off restoration, right down to the outstanding engine compartment. Although the restoration was completed some years ago, the quality remains excellent. Underhood detailing is superb and shows little or no evidence of road use since restoration, which corroborates the 30 miles showing on the odometer. This is undoubtedly one of the most attractive speedster-bodied Packards we have ever had the pleasure of offering.

As part of a large private collection, this car has been treated to climate-controlled storage but has seen little exercise in recent years and will require thorough professional inspection before being driven.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more