Amelia Island

12 March 2011

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Lot 135

1930 Packard Model 734 Boattail Speedster

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.

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

+1 617 513 0388
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

+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 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

+1 310 559 4575
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

+1 717 623 1638
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

+1 805 231 6410
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

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
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

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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