Packard 120

About the Packard 120

This car production started in 1935 and continued through 1937, it was reintroduced in 1939 and continued till 1941. It was the first medium-priced Packard car, marking the luxury carmaker foray into the highly competitive mid-priced eight-cylinder car market.  Packard enthusiasts consider it as the first step towards the car losing its control of the American luxury automobile brand. The 120 was introduced during the Great Depression in a bid for the carmaker to remain competitive at a time when no one or only a few people were buying luxury high priced cars.

By branding the very affordable car a Packard, many people who have long dreamt of owning a car produced by one of the most prestigious car makers in the United States finally had their chance. It is also believed that the fact that the company had one single production line might have been the reason it did not opt for a companion brand name to sell these less expensive models.

Safe-T-Flex suspension

The 120 model was the first Packard car with the independent front suspension which was named the Safe-T-Flex suspension. This was an unequal lower, and upper A-arm type in which the largest A-arm was made up of two arms joined together with a bolt at a ninety-degree angle. This suspension system allows each wheel on the same axle of the vehicle to function independently of others. The support arm for this suspension was forged with heavy steel that is as near the car centreline as possible.

First Generation

The car was introduced in 1935 and was available in a range of body styles which included the four and two-door sedans, Club Coupe, and convertible. It weighed 1,673kg and was powered by the new Packard aluminium-head L-head inline eight. This engine produced 110 bhp at 3850 rpm and sold for below $1000 on average. The range of prices depended on the car’s body style; the Touring Sedan cost $1,095 while the three-passenger business coupe was $980. It was introduced in the January of that ear and was an immediate success. Packard produced 24,995 units of the car that year as compared to 7000 units produced for other Packard cars. The following year, the company improved the L-head eight so that the output increased to 120 bhp and a convertible four-door sedan model was added, which cost $1,395 and was the most expensive. 55,042 units were produced marking its highest production.

Second Generation

It was reintroduced in 1939 to 1941 and was available in the usual body styles with a price range between $1,856 and $1,099. The new models had the Handishift and 17.647 units were produced. The production level continued to increase with new innovations such as Econo-Drive added, and Unimesh added to it. The name was dropped in 1942 with the model added to the Packard Eight lines.