Founded in Ohio in 1900, the Ohio Automobile Company produced Packard cars – named after two of the company’s founders, James Ward Packard and William Doud Packard. In the early 1900s, a wealthy Detroiter named Henry Bourne Joy bought a Packard and was so impressed with the car that he put together a team of investors to move the company to Detroit, renaming it the Packard Motor Car Company. Packard became extremely successful in the luxury car market, in both the U.S. and abroad – though that success wouldn’t last forever. In the years after World War II, the brand struggled with quality and perception issues and finally ceased production in the late 1950s.
Introduced in 1929, the year of the great stock market crash, the 640 Custom Eight came in five different models and featured a cutting-edge shock-absorbed suspension system, a long wheelbase, and a powerful 8-cylinder engine. The Runabout was Packard’s most affordable Custom Eight roadster, though at around $3,000, it was definitely a luxury car and out of reach of most Americans, especially during the Depression years. These cars were known for their good looks – long hoods and sweeping fenders – and for being fun to drive, with plenty of power and a smooth, enjoyable ride. The car is crowned with the elegant “Goddess of Speed” hood ornament, also known by her unfortunate nickname “The Donut Chaser.”
Image by TonyTheTiger