1941 Packard One Twenty

While some makes offered one or two convertibles, Packard had eight in 1941, with arguably the most famous being the 1941 Packard One Twenty. They ranged from the modest six-cylinder One Ten to the rakish, rare Darrin Victoria. If less opulent than some of their ancestors, Packards still exhibited grace and dignity.

Status was Packard's hallmark from its inception in 1899. But after 1935 it became easier to "ask the man who owns one," as Packard ads instructed, with the popular, more affordable One-Twenty series now in the line. By 1941, they also offered a six-cylinder One Ten series, giving less-affluent families an opportunity to drive a Packard. Still, the hierarchy was obvious: One Ten, One Twenty, One Sixty -- and ultimate One Eighty.

Convertibles were highly-regarded members of the Packard family. Soft-top coupes in 1941 ranged from the $1195 One Ten, to the $1407 One Twenty, twin One Sixty models, and a Custom Super Eight One Eighty.

The convertible shown here was an aberration: essentially a One Twenty, but with One Eighty trim. Twenty-five were produced, to be offered as prizes in a contest for Packard salesmen. This example was purchased by actress/ballet dancer Vera Zorina.

Packard rebodied its full line for 1941, but the modifications were subtle. Headlamps now sat in front fenders. Floors were lowered, and motor mounts enlarged. An oil-bath air cleaner was installed. In the One Twenty series, Packard's straight-eight engine displaced 282 cubic inches and developed 120 horse-power. Three-speed column shift was standard, but buyers could pay $37.50 for the "Electromatic" clutch, which disengaged via manifold vacuum when releasing the gas pedal.

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