Amelia Island

12 March 2011

Previous Next

Lot 135

1930 Packard Model 734 Boattail Speedster

  • Chassis no. 184029

Sold for $181,500

385 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 134.5"

- Highly accurate replica speedster coachwork
- An AACA National award-winning restoration completed in the 1980s
- Offered from a large private collection

By 1930, Packard was firmly entrenched as the leader in America’s rarefied fine car market. In fact, more Packards graced the driveways of America’s growing upper class than did all other makes combined. While Packard certainly had a well-deserved reputation for quality and luxury, the venerable marque’s products were not known for speed.

Colonel Jesse Vincent was determined to change all that. In 1929, he had a special speedster built to demonstrate what could be done by increasing the performance and reducing the weight of a production Packard. According to famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, who drove Vincent’s prototype at Packard’s proving grounds, the car easily exceeded 109 mph – a truly remarkable speed for the time.

Packard chief Alvan Macauley was so impressed that the 734 Speedster series was born for 1930, as a direct image-leading competitor to Cadillac’s V-12 and V-16 models. A specially lightened boattail body reduced weight by a whopping 455 lbs, while performance enhancements, including a twin-throat carburetor, a finned exhaust manifold, and other updates, raised the eight-cylinder engine’s basic output to 125 bhp. With the optional high-compression (8.0:1) cylinder head, 145 bhp was available. The 734 Speedster series debuted in January 1930, fully five months after the public introduction of Packard’s Seventh Series models on August 20, 1929.

For reasons unknown, but most likely due to the devastating effects of the 1929 stock-market crash and the rapidly deteriorating economic climate, the 734 Speedster was one of Packard’s best-kept secrets. No advertising was placed, and little promotion was ever done, with the sole exception of a single eight-page, black-and-white brochure. As a result, it is believed that just 113 examples were ever built. However, their high performance, stunning good looks and extreme rarity resulted in high demand among knowledgeable collectors and marque enthusiasts shortly after the end of World War II, long before the collector-car hobby emerged.

Although not believed to have been built new this way, the 1930 Model 734 Packard offered here is fitted with a very authentic, accurately constructed Speedster Runabout body, faithful to the original coachwork. Finished in a lovely combination of blue with a dashing light blue beltline rib, a beige top and dark blue upholstery and carpeting, this beautiful car clearly continues to benefit from a high-quality restoration during the 1980s, which resulted in AACA National First Prize Award honors in 1988.

Although the restoration was completed some years ago, the car remains highly presentable. Underhood detailing is superb, and the vehicle shows very little evidence of use since the restoration was completed, having been maintained in climate-controlled storage in its current collection. Desirable period accessories include a radiator stone guard, dual driving lamps, dual side-mounted spares with canvas covers and side-view mirrors, chrome wire wheels and whitewall tires. This is a lovely example of one of Packard’s most sporting and highly coveted Classic Era models.

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

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

+1 310 559 4575
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

Annette Abaci

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... 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. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
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

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 917 213 5672
Ontario, Canada

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

Jonathan Sierakowski

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 260 927 9797
Indiana, United States

Kurt Forry joins Auctions America with more than a decade of experience on the North American auction scene and a well-rounded knowled... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

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

Peter Wallman

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... 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

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more