1936 Packard Rumble Seat Roadster Convertible, 1401, show car, award winner

Price: - Item location: Falmouth, Massachusetts, United States
  • Make: Packard
  • Model: Model 1401
  • Type: Convertible Coupe Rumble Seat Roadster
  • Year: 1936
  • Mileage: 85,000
  • Color: black
  • Engine size: Inline Eight
  • Number of cylinders: eight
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: 3 speed manual
  • Drive type: RWD
  • Interior color: black
  • Drive side: Left-hand drive
  • Options: Leather Seats
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1936 Packard Model 1401

A living piece of history. This senior Packard from the pinnacle of Packard's golden years is in magnificent condition and cruises effortlessly at 70 mph thanks to its discreetly hidden GearVendor overdrive. Further refinements are a supplemental electric fuel pump for instant starts, warm or cold, seat belts, period-correct exterior rear view mirrors and turn signals discreetly and expertly incorporated into its head- and tail-lights. Other than these safety related items, this beast is original as far as we are able to tell, but has been curated and preserved as it should. We learned after buying it four years ago, that it still has its original 1936 upholstery with strong, supple leather without any hint of stress cracks or other defects. All gauges work as they should, the needles on the various dials holding steady with no shaking or wavering. Turn the key, press the accelerator once to engage its automatic choke, flip a hidden switch under the dash to activate the electric fuel pump, leave on it for 15 or 20 seconds, press the starter button and the massive Eight under the hood jumps to life and settles into a whispered idle with the precise tick-tick-tick of a Swiss watch. Ease the long shift lever into 1st gear and the enormous Packard starts ever so smoothly and begins to glide down the road.
This Art Deco luxo-cruiser will take you where you want to go in regal style, in unhurried elegance and effortless comfort. Approach a hill and the torque monster under the hood simply yawns and carries you up the slope with no reduction in speed. When you want to speed up to blend into traffic press down on the gas pedal and you will be surprised by this old aristocrat's sudden burst of speed, and then it starts to become clear why these cars were the choice of the privileged and wealthy in the '30's. The price of one of these cars would buy you three houses in Depression-era America, but hey, it was only dollars, right? If you had it you'd flaunt it.
This car has two tiny little doors in front of the rear fenders, one on each side. Why? Well, for the golf clubs of course! You would silently float to your favorite country club in your stylish Packard and join your power broker friends for a refined round of golf, and your clubs could be easily extracted through one of the doors on the left or right side of the car.
Now, bear in mind, our 1401 series Convertible is no ordinary Packard. This is one of the hand built senior models, not one of the mass-produced juniors of which over 55,000 were made in 1936. Only 3973 series 1401 cars, including sedans, coupes cabriolets, phaetons and roadsters left the factory in 1936. How many of these were rumble seat roadsters? There don't seem to be any numbers available breaking down the total. However, these roadsters were arguably the least practical cars in the series, weighty status symbols whose best uses were.... well, trips to the golf course, and not many are known to still exist today. There was no real luggage space, so these behemoths came with a fold-down shelf to which you could attach an elegant optional Packard luggage trunk. The fact that a fully loaded trunk could exceed 100 pounds in weight was not a problem. After all if you could afford one of these cars you'd have servants at home, and hotels had bellhops so you really weren't worried about herniating your own back.
All of the ambience, the cultural overtones of the Art Deco age, the echoes of glamorous living in the midst of widespread economic distress, all these are present and tangible when you drive this Packard. You can go down the road and literally feel completely detached from today's hectic road life, watching in benevolent bemusement as people in modern lesser cars push and crowd their way through traffic. Be prepared to be spoken to everywhere you go. You will have people tell you that their great-uncle had the exact same car, and that they think it was a 1948 Dodge. Be patient. Smile. Only a select few had cars like this in the 1930's. Packards are admired everywhere but not understood by many.
Reliability? We've had no issues with the car. We did have the cooling system completely flushed and the cooling jackets professionally removed, cleaned and reinstalled, something that should be done to every 80 year old car! Our Packard has been a joy to operate, and just two weeks ago we took it on a 120 mile highway trip which it absolved at 70 mph with a bored yawn as if it wanted to say "Is this all you want me to do today? How about a REAL challenge?"
So we bought this car with the intention of keeping it forever. This year we bought a Bed and Breakfast that has kept us busy, and the '36 has been parked more than it's been driven, and it doesn't look as if that's about to change. This car was meant to be driven, so we've decided to let it go and release it to someone who will use it more than we have. $5,000 deposit by cash or wire transfer required within two business days. Balance due within seven calendar days. True mileage unknown. Please feel free to get in touch with specific questions and happy bidding.