Most enthusiasts will agree that Packard’s glory days began in earnest in the late 1920s and ran through the mid-1930s. During this time, the famed Detroit automaker was building some of the finest automobiles on the market, expanding its reputation around the world and supplying machines to moguls and Hollywood stars. The over-engineered nature of their chassis and engines earned them a reputation of exceptional reliability. Packard also offered a staggering array of body, chassis and engine combinations that could be tailored to suit virtually any client, providing they had the necessary funds. For the more discerning clientele with deeper pockets, a chassis could be fitted with a bespoke body by any one of twenty custom body builders at their disposal. Packards of this era were grand, yet elegantly restrained. They are considered by many to be the very finest automobiles of their time.
The model 443 of 1928 was part of the Fourth Series and was one of the most impressive automobiles of its day. It rode on an immense 143” wheelbase regardless of body style, giving it a sense of presence that few could match. Motivation was courtesy of a nearly silent straight-eight that displaced 383 cubic inches, and produced an understressed 109 horsepower and a steady wave of torque. As with other Packards of this period, the 443 was not an intimidating car to drive thanks to the slick gearbox, powerful brakes and excellent road manners, and it was preferred by famous people the world over, including famous French aviator Dieudonne Costes and H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, among others.
Our featured example is a 443 Eight dual-windshield Phaeton from 1928. This is an extremely well-preserved older restoration that performs well and presents in very attractive condition. The body is finished in a handsome combination of medium brown with dark brown beltline, black fenders and dark orange disc wheels and body accents. It’s a surprisingly attractive combination that sets this car apart from others. The signature Packard disc wheels are fitted with whitewall tires all around, including the dual sidemount spares. The styling is very sporting for a large car, particularly with the canvas top erected, which imparts a rakish and aggressive look, particularly in profile. Paint quality and body work are excellent on this quality restoration. The chrome and brightwork are in similarly excellent condition, showing deep shine and minimal flaws. The imposing Packard radiator shell is protected by a stainless steel stone guard, while windwings, cowl lamps, outside mirrors and a trunk rack round out the accessories.
The gorgeous interior is trimmed in dark tan leather which finely complements the exterior paint colors. Being a dual-windshield Phaeton, rear passengers have their own adjustable windscreen with windwings to keep them comfortable and unruffled during a top-down blast. A past owner installed a set of handsome wooden cabinets behind the driver’s seat which appears to be the only deviation from originality in the cabin, and would make a rather nice drinks-cabinet to keep rear passengers even happier than they would already be. The wood dash and door caps are restored with deep gloss and the instruments presented beautifully in the center of the fascia.
Certainly stylish and dapper, this Packard is also mechanically excellent, thanks to regular use and care since the restoration was completed. The 383 cubic inch inline eight cylinder starts readily and performance is excellent for a car of this size and stature. The grand 443 has a tendency to shrink around the driver once out on the road making them among the most enjoyable large classics to drive and extremely popular among touring enthusiasts. Thanks to the obvious care this example has received, it remains attractive enough for show. As a CCCA approved Full Classic, it would be extremely well-suited for CARavan Touring and a welcome addition to any collection of fine automobiles.