The Best Packard had to offer, on the international stage! Here we have a Packard 343, with the new for ’27 385 cubic inch straight eight cylinder engine. This car has quite a story – delivered new in London, England, and then shipped to Argentina! It is equipped with right hand drive!
Packard’s 143 inch wheelbase gave plenty of room for everything – radiator mounted directly above the front axle, big long hood, and a 7 passenger capacity! And the 106 Horsepower 8 Cylinder engine would pull any hill ! This particular car runs beautifully.
As documented in the PI magazine of Summer, 1993, the original owner, a Mr. Reed, was an Englishman who went to Argentina to run a razor blade factory. He owned the car for 50 years, keeping it at his home in the mountains of Cordoba,bringing us to the year 1977. When this car was new, Argentina was booming, they called Buenos Aires “The Paris of South America” and the phrase ‘Rich as an Argentine” signified how prosperous the country was. This top of the line big 8 cylinder Packard fit right in!
Mr. Reed’s nephew contacted the next owner, Mr. Barrera, who was originally from Argentina. A deal was made, and the car was pulled out of very long term storage, and eventually made it’s way to the United States. The top and the leather upholstery were redone, the car was made roadworthy, and The Barrera’s enjoyed the car for many years. I remember seeing it at local car events here in Southern California, and marveling at the car. The Barrera’s had a very nice collection of cars – they had good taste, and their collection reflected that. Packards, Rolls-Royces, Grand Prix machines and a beautiful ’32 Ford were all part of the Barrera collection.
Let’s talk about the right hand drive experience. It is remarkably easy to adjust. The transmission shift pattern is normal, and easy to do. The gas pedal is in between the clutch and brake, which was common on European cars. Again, it was easy for me to drive. If you’re an American or Continental European customer, don’t let it put you off! If you’re from the UK or a Commonwealth country, it’ll be like old home week!
The first of the legendary 385 Cubic inch engines! It runs beautifully, too. Nice and smooth, great oil pressure – when warmed up, 30 PSI driving, and 20 psi at idle. It runs cool, and in general is delighful to operate! The reservoir on the firewall is the Bijur Chassis lubricator unit.
Here’s the engine number – right in the middle of the range for the 3′d series 8 cylinder. The frame number is within 20 of the engine, and the data plate number is within 130 of the engine – exactly as you would expect to see on an original car. The 3′d series started production in August of 1926, and this car is titled as a 1926. It is also definitely a 3′d series car, both from the numbers and from a review of the various components of the car, such as the fenders, which were “crowned” in the Second series. I bring this up because the PI magazine in 1993 identified the car as a second series car. It’s not, it’s a Third series car.
I would love to be able to tell you this is the original paint, and the folklore surrounding this car held that it was. Upon careful inspection, both the owner and I agree that the grey paint was added to the car at some point, covering what we think is the original black paint below. You can see the black paint underneath on the wear through spots. I am unaware of Packard using black primer, I usually expect to see red primer showing through.
This car has such a good provenance, it is so unusual, and it is so delightful to drive that I think the new owner will be delighted too!