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1936 Packard 120-B Convertible Sedan

Part 1: Introduction

By Jeremy Wilson

Monte and Elaine Glud’s Packard 120-B Convertible Sedan’s grand appearance belies the fact that it’s a “Junior” Packard. Introduced in 1935, the mid-priced Packard 120 Eights caught on quickly, outselling all Packard “Senior” lines combined, by nearly four to one. In 1936, with Senior numbers decreasing, sales of the 120s more than doubled to 55,042. The “Juniors” carried Packard through the 1930s recession as all other luxury independents, including Stutz, Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, and Pierce-Arrow, went out of business.

For Monte, this 120-B was a perfect find.

“I’ve always wanted a car with this front end,” said Monte. “I love the ‘30’s car because I was a little boy during WWII and remember all these cars with pontoon fenders and big headlights. I lived near a Dutch Reform Church and people attended every Sunday driving black Packard Sedans. They had beautiful grills and I’d go look at those cars over and over. Most of them were “Senior” cars, too, as the owners had a little money. I always thought I’d get one; it only took me until age 50 to acquire it, and another seven years to restore it.”

Although Packard produced tens of thousands of 120-Bs, Monte figures about 150 were Sedan Convertibles. His car is relatively rare--which came as an unexpected, but pleasant surprise .

“When I first went to see the car in 1994, I said to the owner, ‘I can’t afford this car, but I’d love to look at it and take a couple pictures.’

“She replied, ‘Well, young man, if you want to see my car, you’ll have to take the blankets off of it and put them back on.’ I said, ‘That’s fair enough.’ So I started at the back, figuring it’s a Coupe Convertible, and all of a sudden I found a door handle and thought, ‘What’s this, this far back?’ And then I realized what it was: a Convertible Sedan. They are rare and I loved its lines and then I saw the Dietrich tag and thought, ‘This seems too neat! I’ve got to show this to my wife.’”

The Dietrich tag indicated the body was designed by Dietrich (Raymond Dietrich was a famed custom body designer of the 1920s-50s) and built by Murray Body (owner of Dietrich, Inc.)

“Dietrich designed the body and probably just assigned his draftsman to go ahead and do it--he was quite the playboy,” said Monte. “He had left Murray Body by the time this car was made.”

The beautiful styling was not lost on Monte’s wife, who supported the decision to purchase the Packard.

“I took Elaine to see it and although she has never been a car freak, she took one look at the car and said, ‘Monte, if you don’t buy this car, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.’ So that’s what we did. I’ve never looked back and regretted it. Elaine likes the car and likes to ride in it with me.”

Adding to the interest of this Packard is its colorful provenance.

“The car was sold originally to a Navy admiral while he was in San Diego,” said Monte. “He bought it at Earl C. Anthony’s Oakland Dealership and drove it back to San Diego. He later traded it in on a 1937 or ’38 Buick Convertible Sedan.

“A man from Klamath Falls bought it--I know him and have talked to him on the phone about it. He was working on the construction of the Hoover Dam, I believe, and instead of going drinking with the guys, he saved up his money and bought the Packard from the Buick dealership. At some point, he painted the car red; it must have looked like a Christmas tree, as the original color scheme was a black exterior with the ugliest green leather interior you’ve ever seen in your life.

“In 1964 he traded it in on a GTO and the Packard sat at the Pontiac dealership for a while. It’s a junior car, and everybody in those days was buying senior cars and restoring them. And that’s where the next owner bought it. He sent his wife down to look at the car and she liked it, but the next morning she had to call him back and tell him that during the night, some drunken person had slashed all of the upholstery. They bought it for $350, painted it yellow, and installed a black top and Naugahyde interior.”

The Gluds towed the Packard home, rebuilt the engine in 1995, and then stored the car.

On August 1st, 2000 Monte towed the car to (restoration specialist) Dave McCready’s shop where the car underwent a full restoration--an intensive, full-time process completed on April 2, 2001 (an estimated 1500+ man hours).

The result is magnificent! In July 2001, Monte and Elaine were awarded “Best of Class” in the Special Interest Cars category at the Forest Grove, Oregon Concours d’Elegance. In February 2002, they took first place in the Pre-War Open Juniors category at the Annual Packards International Membership Meet in Orange, CA.

Since then the Gluds have driven their Packard frequently, to shows, on club tours, and often just for enjoyment.

“I’ve driven it to the California border and back on a weekend and had great fun,” said Monte. “And I drive my granddaughters to and from the ice cream parlor for ice cream cones. They think that’s pretty slick. And then I drive them to school on their first day, and on the last day of school, I pick them up.”

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Beverly Kimes
Packard: A History of the Motor Car and the Company
Automobile Quarterly, Hardcover, 2005-01-01

”The magnificence and coverage of the work is just unimaginable. This book is of major importance.”

-- Keith Marvin, The Society of Automotive Historians Inc.

Dennis Adler
Motorbooks International, Hardcover, 1998-10
This is the complete story of Packard, from its earliest days in 1899 through its final demise in 1958. Archival b/w photos, as well as beautiful new colour photos, accompany a thoroughly researched text.

The Hemmings Motor News Book of Packards
Hemmings Motor News, Paperback, 2001-03
From pre-war models like the 526s, 734 Speedsters, and Sport Phaetons, to the Custom Super Eights, 300s and Caribbeans of the baby-boom era, this book of Packard’s finest thoroughly examines nearly a dozen of the independent manufacturer’s significant models from 1928-1958.

Evan P. Ide
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Arcadia Publishing, Paperback, 2003-06-03
The images featured in this book represent the early years at the Warren, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan factories. Packard Motor Car Company contains rare images from the Larz Anderson Auto Museum that were saved from the Packard factory and the personal collection of James Ward Packard when the company closed.

National Automotive History Collection (U. S.)
Packard Motor Cars 1935 Through 1942: Photo Archive : Photographs from the Detroit Public Library's National Automotive History Collection (Photo Archive Series)
Iconografix, Paperback, 1996-02
1935 marked Packard’s move from a purely luxury car builder to a builder of luxury & medium price cars, in a effort to broaden its market. Shown are the twelfth to nineteenth series Packards, including the 115, Packard’s first 6-cylinder car in nearly a decade, the 120, 160, 180 and the last of the fabled 12-cylinder Packards.

James A. Ward
The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company
Stanford University Press, Paperback, 1997-09
Ward summarizes the company’s early days--from the turn of the century to the 1935 release of the 120, Packard’s first middle-market vehicle--in a single chapter; four more follow the firm through the Depression and World War II. But Ward’s focus is Packard’s final days, from Hotpoint executive James Nance’s installation as president in 1952 to the 1956 shutdown of Packard’s Detroit operations and to 1958, when the last automobiles to bear the long-respected Packard name rolled off its merger-partner Studebaker’s Indiana assembly line.

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Provides the definitive reference for the Packard enthusiast. Filled with 1,200 historic photographs from Packard archives. In the popular Crestline series.

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