1939 Packard convertible sedan owned by Jim Barnes
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
If you wanted to celebrate your good fortune in the new year of 1939, you might head down to your Packard dealer, plunk down $2,435 and reward yourself with one of these limited edition Super Eight convertible sedans. These behemoths could seat five passengers (eight with jump seats) in ultimate comfort and in rain or shine. They could also speed down the highway with regal aplomb, boasting 130 horsepower at a time when a Ford V-8 was good for only 60 to 85. As for this Packard, Barnes says it “has a little bit of history. It was first owned by (movie mogul and MGM founder) Louis B. Mayer. He drove it for about a month, but he didn’t buy it for himself. He bought it for (legendary screen star) Hedy Lamarr. That was the enticing part: to get her to sign with his studio, he gave her the car. Of course, like most movie stars of the time, she decided the car was much too big for her, so he had to give her a chauffeur.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
He bought it from a Midwest owner.
“It was in disrepair,” Barnes says. “The engine had been re-done twice and the mechanicals were great. The rest was cosmetic. I’ve restored it now and have shown it.” He had it repainted and the convertible top and leather interior were professionally restored at the shop he owns, McCoys Upholstery in Woodside, New York.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“There’s an audience for these cars,” Barnes advises. “There is definitely a market and you can see that by the auction results. But it is shrinking as people get older and collectors want the cars they grew up with -- the Camaros, Pontiacs, GTOs -- because that’s what their parents owned. My grandparents owned Packards.” He says the single best source for parts is Kanter Auto Products in Boonton, New Jersey.
He values the Packard at around $95,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Barnes says these four-door convertibles are perfect for large families. “I have tons of grandchildren,” he says, “and I pile them all in for games – football, soccer, lacrosse. It’s just a nice, big touring car. I drove it to Cape May (New Jersey) and back. It was perfect, a beautiful ride down the Garden State Parkway.”