1934 Packard Eight Formal Sedan
Vehicle No. 712-45
Chassis No. 377405
Motor No. 377759
Series 1101. 120 bhp, 320 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 136¼ in.
This formal sedan, a rare survivor on the 136¼-in.-wheelbase 1101 ‘Standard’ Eight chassis, was originally delivered by Packard Minneapolis on October 23, 1934. It has remained in the Twin Cities area for virtually its entire life, with Armande Auger acquiring it in September 1957 and selling it in May 1958 to a Mr. Schafer. Mr. Schafer, in turn, sold the car to Henry Brom in November 1959. Mr. Brom was an early CCCA member and skilled machinist, who produced parts for not only his own car, but acorn nuts and solid steel washers for many another friend’s Packard – “for fifty years, the longest running project in Upper Midwest Region history,” as Don Peterson once noted.
In an article in the February 1963 issue of the CCCA Upper Midwest Region Windshield Post, Mr. Brom noted that the previous owner had completed some restoration work and that the car ran when acquired, enabling him to drive it home. The Brom family then continued the restoration, fitting a new top covering and refinishing the body, with much of the bodywork prep completed by the two Brom sons.
With the restoration partially completed, the Broms drove the car on the Upper Midwest Region Fall Foliage Tour in 1961. By spring of 1962, newly fitted with four new Denman tires as a Christmas gift from Mrs. Brom, the car tied for 2nd in its class at a CCCA meet in Owatonna, and was again an award-winner in Cherokee, Iowa, soon thereafter. It was also an award-winner at the Minneapolis Grand Classic in 1966.
Other adventures included use in multiple local parades and to chauffeur dignitaries at a special Minneapolis “roadshow” showing of My Fair Lady at the Academy Theatre in 1964. Mr. Brom’s daughter recounts that during a family road trip they were once blocked from changing lanes by Hubert Humphrey, who was motoring in the neighboring lane and quite enjoying his parallel view of the grand Packard. Later, maintained by Mr. Brom’s son-in-law, it was used in the weddings of two generations of Broms, its owner’s daughter and granddaughters, making trips all over the country to serve that noble purpose.
Henry Brom closed the Windshield Post article on his car by noting, “For further information on Packards ‘Ask the man who owns one.’” He was undoubtedly a good man to ask, as he maintained this formal sedan for the rest of his long life, living until 2000 at the age of 95. The Packard remained a loved possession and was only recently sold by his family, who maintain wonderful memories of the car.
The car’s restoration is obviously older now, but has mellowed and patinaed nicely, and today the Packard has the aura of a well-preserved original car – used but not abused, as they say, and showing evidence of the love that was given it by the Broms. In fact the paint and chrome both still have plenty of good shine left! It retains its original folding jump seat for a maid or footman in the rear compartment, as well as the original buzzer to notify the chauffeur on the other side of the division window. Additional charming features include the “feathered bail” radiator cap, the standard flat cap frequently replaced by a more deluxe Cormorant – not so on this wonderfully subtle formal sedan.
We would love to see this Packard pass into the hands of someone who will enjoy sharing it with their children, grandchildren, and friends, continuing a wonderful tradition of a car that has been a vehicle in which memories are made.
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