1937-1947 Packard Six

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.

1938 Packard Six
The 1938 Packard Six was larger and rounder than the
previous model.

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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