1938-1939 Packard Six
The 1938 Packard Six was altered and moved upmarket, when business was expected to pick up. But business stalled, and Packard reported its first loss since pre-One Twenty days as volume plunged to 56,000 cars, the Six accounting for 30,000.
The 1938 Packard Six was larger and rounder than the
The 1938 Packard Six, bowing alongside a One Twenty rechristened Packard Eight, was considerably more car: rounder and heavier on a 122-inch wheelbase. Prices started commensurately higher: $1,075 for the business coupe, the least-costly model.
New were pressure-lubricated mushroom tappets, an external oil filter, a hardened camshaft, and a larger bore taking displacement to 245 cubic inches for better low-end torque. An optional high-compression (7.05:1) aluminum head was offered, cooling was improved, and suspension changes combined with the longer wheelbase to give a more stable ride.
This basic formula continued for 1939 with the notable addition of optional overdrive, called "Econo-Drive," and column-mounted "Handi-Shift." The latter invention proved quite problematic. While it did free up some front-floor space, idler-arm grommets wore quickly, disrupting the lever's handiness at moving the internal sliding gears. Packard issued a replacement kit containing new steel shift-idler-lever bushings.
Also new for 1939 was a revised rear suspension with a "fifth" shock absorber to dampen side movement, making ride even better. Packard itself did rather better on the whole, producing more than 76,000 cars during the calendar year to earn a small, half-million-dollar profit.
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