Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, Part 5

One of the jewels of the collection is this 1930 Packard Model 740 Fire Truck. 1930 was the first full production year after the beginning of the Great Depression. Packard only produced 28,386 vehicles compared to the previous model year's total of 47,855.

This vehicle began its life as a 7-Passenger Touring Phaeton but was converted to a Fire Truck by Penn Yan Body Co. of Penn Yan, NY. It saw service at Packard's proving grounds at Utica, MI. for many years until Packard suspended production due to World War II.

After the war, it was back in service at the Romulus, MI Volunteer Fire Department. The ownership passed through several colectors' hands during which time the vehicle was largely kept in storage before being acquired and restored by the Museum.

As part of the restoration, many unique fire fighting apparatuses were acquired and added to the display.

The Fire Truck is powered by a 8-cylinder, 385 cu. in. engine with 4-speed transmission. The original cost was $3,375.00. Note that the optional wooden wheels cost an extra $110 for the set.


Next on display is a stunning 1931 Packard Model 845 7-Passenger Convertible Sedan. It is equipped with an 8-cylinder, 384.8 cu. in. engine with 4-speed transmission.

This model was one of nine individual "Custom Cars" that were offered that year and built by Packard's "In-House" Custom Car Division. The coachwork was designed by Dietrich — a practice that would soon change as Packard began building all their own custom bodies.

The Landau Convertible top was an option and, in my opinion, adds a true touch of elegance to this vehicle.

There were other changes as well — vacuum lubrication, larger hubcaps, three-spoke steering wheel (instead of four spokes) and four-wheel finned drum brakes.

That's one fine set of wheels!

This is a 1932 Packard Model 900 Shovelnose Sedan. It was equipped with an 8-cylinder, 319.2 cu. in. engine and 3-speed transmission. Original cost: $1,750.00.

It was introduced at the 1932 National Auto Show in New York City. The show was exciting but the glitz and glamour could not hide the malaise hanging over the auto industry due to the economy.

The vehicle was a comparative bargain with a new lighter engine but the same Packard standard of quality. It could be characterized as the "right car at the wrong time". Only 6,750 units were sold.

This model year was the first with a push button starter on the dash. This vehicle also featured ride control operated by the driver, dual windshield wipers, chrome wire wheels, "Trippe" driving lights and burled wood dashboard.

Last on the tour for this week is a 1934 Packard Model 1100 5-Passenger Sedan. It is powered by an 8-cylinder, 319.2 cu. in. engine with 3-speed transmission. This year marked the peak of the four-square classic era design. The company's international business continued to flourish prompting a boast in the company catalog, "Rest your finger anywhere on a slowly revolving globe and there you will find a Packard".

Packard was the first automotive manufacturer to fully recognize the consumer's desire for a "radio receiving set" installed in an automobile. Today with even the cheapest car featuring an audio system, it is hard to imagine that early autos lacked even the most basic radio. With the 1934 model year, Packard installed Philco radios in 30% of the vehicles they produced — at a cost of $79.50 each.

They also added a redesigned hood ornament.

To be continued...


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com