Corey Silvia ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

This Packard pickup is based on the 138-inch wheelbase 138D One-Twenty chassis. The original, factory touring limousine bodywork was truncated aft of the front doors and the back of a compatible pickup cab was grafted on. An original box from another period truck of comparable size was added, and it features a ribbed steel floor.

The body was finished in black with a red pinstripe, and it is adorned with metal-covered dual side-mounted spares, wide whitewall tires, and even an original Packard trunk, which has been integrated into the cargo bed to carry tools and supplies. An original illuminated Packard Service Car sign, mounted on the roof, is the finishing touch.

The interior is classic, elegant Packard, with black leather upholstery, a wood-grained instrument panel, and a radio, clock, and cigarette lighter.

For the Packard collector whose allegiance to the marque must extend even to his shop truck, or simply for the enthusiast who appreciates a well-detailed conversation piece, this will be the perfect one-of-a-kind acquisition. “Ask the Man Who Hauls With One.”

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1937 Packard One-Twenty Pickup
Years Produced:1935–37, 1939–41
Number Produced:N/A (No trucks were built by Packard, but several were likely converted like this later)
Original List Price:$1,900 (1937 touring sedan)
SCM Valuation:$60,000–$85,000
Tune Up Cost:$250
Distributor Caps:$50
Chassis Number Location:Metal firewall plate
Engine Number Location:Upper left corner of block
Club Info:Packard International Motor Car Club
Alternatives:Any pre-war luxury car converted to do work, including ambulances and trucks
Investment Grade:C

This truck, Lot 114, sold for $93,500, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s sale on Amelia Island, FL, on March 8, 2014.

The Packard One-Twenty was produced from 1935 until 1937 and then again from 1939 through 1941. They have a mixed place in Packard history, held either in high regard as being the savior of the marque or in disdain for being the beginning of the end for Packard as a premier luxury-car manufacturer.

Fact lies somewhere in between, as Packard staked its future on the less-expensive One-Twenty to generate necessary revenue to keep its doors open during the Great Depression. Packard, unlike Cadillac and Lincoln, did not have a multi-marque company behind them to absorb the luxury-car deficits every manufacturer was suffering through at the time.

The One-Twenty was extremely popular, as owning one meant you had the prestige of a Packard at the price of a Buick or Pontiac. In addition to that, it offered “Safe-T-Flex” independent front suspension — a feature that would not be offered on the senior Packards until 1937. In 1936 alone, the One-Twenty accounted for two-thirds of all Packard sales, making it a runaway success. It was offered in eight body styles, but a pickup truck was not one of them.

Packard goes to work

Packard did, however, make trucks. In 1903, James Ward Packard executed a delivery car on a 1903 F chassis with “Packard Motor Car Co” painted on the rear quarter. After Packard moved to Detroit, larger vehicles were produced for use around the factory, and a few years later they entered the commercial market, although growth was painfully slow. Truck sales peaked in 1917 at 7,116 units, due to World War I, but by 1923, only 466 were produced. Packard decided to “devote the truck production space to passenger cars.”

The commercial car market was another story, and the company provided a low-cost special chassis that did not have to be stretched to be adapted to hearse or ambulance use. With the introduction of the Packard 120A in 1935, coachbuilder Henney offered a product with both names and used the Packard grille, nameplate and hubcaps. In addition to the traditional commercial offerings, Henney produced sightseeing coaches and airport limousines on the Packard chassis. They also offered a flower car that was for all practical purposes a convertible pickup.

Fantasy hauler

RM presented this Packard pickup on the lawn of the Ritz-Carlton, and even with the inclement weather on Thursday, the car attracted a great deal of attention. I overheard a man telling his very attractive companion that Packard only made the pickup for two years, and when she asked how many they made, he quickly answered 568. I have to wonder what other stories he tells her!

This 1937 Packard One-Twenty pickup sold by RM was, of course, a fantasy piece. But was it a product that could have been? Absolutely, as any self-respecting Packard agency or repair facility would have ditched their Ford or Chevy pickup parts chaser if a Packard-built unit had been available.

Build your own

For dealers or Packard fanatics who absolutely had to have something like this in-period, a pickup could have been easily converted from a touring sedan or limousine that had been rear-ended. Remove the rear body section and fit a pickup bed, add the proper lettering and you’d be in business. This wasn’t a vintage build, but based on the auction description, that certainly sounds like what happened here.

The quality of the workmanship was very acceptable and the black leather interior was in good order. A Packard trunk had been integrated into the bed of the pickup and it was fitted with metal-covered dual sidemount spares. The illuminated Packard sign on the roof was a bit much, but that could be easily removed.

To a Packard collector, this is just the ticket. Use it as a functional service vehicle as a dealer would have done in the period, and when not in service, it can attract all kinds of interesting comments as knowledgeable “car guys” impress their girlfriends. The price paid was rather aggressive, but I doubt if you could build one to this standard for the money spent here. So, if the new owner can actually use it, I’d consider this a solid transaction all around. Well bought and sold.

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Auctions.

Comments are closed.