1929 Packard Roadster 640

At Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, for special All-Packard show to benefit the Museum.
1929 Packard Roadster 640
In Avon, CT, where the family lived for six generations.

This 1929 Packard Roadster 640 custom has been in the family about 65 years.   It probably has less than 50,000 miles, and has won a number of trophies in Connecticut, including the Klingberg Family Centers Lou Biondi Concours, at the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) via the Litchfield Hills Historical Auto Club, and the Dream Ride at the Farmington Polo Grounds. It has been featured at  a Great Gatsby party in New Canaan, and a Roaring ’20s benefit for CJR at the Torrington Country Club.  It is the same model as chosen car by Time-Life books (’69) in This Fabulous Century, to represent the Roaring ’20s. It had been turned into a tow truck in the ’40s and restored back into a Roadster around 1955 by “Charlie Walker” a sales engineer for Tel-Rad Inc. Hartford, CT.   His son Rick, now a retired college professor, inherited it 25 years ago. One of the last of the true open cars.  Production 9,801. Side valve straight 8, 384.8 ci, 105 bhp. Wheelbase 140”. Three gears + reverse (straight gears). Crankshaft in 9 main bearings. Bore & stroke 3 ½ x 5. Max speed 85 mph. Weight 4,285 lbs. Sold new for more than $3,175.

At a benefit for Sam Collins Day, historic downtown Collinsville, CT, where my grandfather Fred Hutchins used to work for the railroad. He was a farmer on Huckleberry Hill Rd, and featured in Fran Mackie’s history of Avon for his generosity to others in the town. I’m a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Winning the Lou Biondi trophy at Klingberg Family Centers vintage car show, some time after Lou’s passing. Lou was the founder of the first car club in Connecticut, and a friend of Charlie Walker.  Lou’s son Rob is a friend of Rick’s and an iconic restoration expert, specializing in early brass cars.
The Goddess of Speed, cast in stainless as a better than new repro by Don Sommer when he first
started his castings using the lost wax process, in the ’60s (he is now deceased but his company American Arrow lives on.
In resto above, for five months, winter 2019, including some new paint while retaining 50-year-old body-side harbor blue lacquer. New wiring, front brake control arm parts, Kevlar brake linings, Rodtiques LED headlights, Brakelighter LED brakelight. Won first prize in class at Dream Ride, Farmington CT 2019. Top 10 out of 420 cars at the benefit show for the CT Junior Republic, Litchfield, CT, 2019.
Cigar lighter and all gauges functional except gas gauge. Clock rebuilt in 2019 by Standish Clock, West Hartford, CT.
Top bows were perfectly restored by Charlie Walker in the ’60s. Side curtains are like new, hardly used (not shown here).
Just repainted March 2021. Had been painted by RW 25 years ago. Horn recently made operational by mechanic Joe Latina. Features modern spin-on oil filter inside Burr Ripley designed canister. Uses modern detergent 20-50 oil. Starter rebuilt by Hartford Battery and Electric when it was in business. Top right oil tank for Bijur oil system, a network of copper tubing throughout the car so it can be entirely lubricated with the pull of a lever under the dash while driving down the road.
Repainted March 2021. Manifold was redone by Prairie Auto Porcelain 25 years ago, and solved vapor lock problem. Carburetor is a rare Packard updraft version, and not a Detroit Lubricator. Generator rebuilt by Al’s Auto Electric, Canton. Spare points are in the golf club compartment! Owner must take up golf!
See the bright LED Brakelighter under the step plate. This and the Rodtiques stainless LED headlights (fog lights) use so little amperage that at night the battery is not drawn down. Runs with these and cowl lights, and main lights aren’t needed (though they are perfect, all original silvering.) Car is original six volts, positive ground. Never in an accident. Low mileage.
This rendering from the ’29 sales portfolio shows the car with rear-mounted spare, fairly unusual. Adds to clean look and streamlining, and makes this much easier to work on the engine!
It appears that Charlie Walker might have been influenced by this image in the original Packard sales portfolio, when choosing a color.

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