Packard 180

About the Packard 180

This car is part of the 18th series that was introduced in the 1940 model year. It was a replacement for the Packard Twelve which was discontinued. By replacing the top luxury model, it invariably became the top model too, and the official name was Custom Super Eight One-Eighty. It was derived from the Super Eight One-Sixty, and they both share the same running gear which included the inline eight-cylinder and 356-cubic-inch engine with 160 horsepower. In 1940, Packard advertised this engine as the most powerful eight-cylinder engine in the market. In 1941, the model was complemented by the Packard Clipper which soon replaced it, and by the end of the second world war, the Custom Eight replaced it. In 1940, all Packard series had similar body styling with front fenders and hoods with different lengths depending on the chassis.

This meant that the 180 and 160 Packard cars have similar body styles. However, the Packard 180s have a better interior with the best leather, carpeting, and fabrics. The automaker employed a special woollen ceiling that was sewn longitudinally. In the limousine models of this car, the partition of the car is such that there will be no hint that glass is lowered and this allows the car owner to use the car as a sedan. The automaker also makes air conditioning to be optional in the 1940 model, making it the first car with such a feature and it was also the first car to have power windows.

The 1942 and 1941 models of the car had minor styling changes, and the most noticeable was changing the position of the headlamps by placing it in the fenders. It was also the first time that running boards were removed from the car and instead, a rocker panel was used to cover the chassis. The car was also available in the two-tone paint schemes. The Electromatic Drive, which is a clutch system operated by vacuum and compatible with the traditional 3-speed manual transmission, was also added to the 1941 model.  It was later in 1949 that the Ultramatic, the automatic transmission of Packard was introduced.

The last 180s to be produced was in February 1942 as civilian car production soon stopped after that, and the Packard focused its energy on producing engines for war aircraft and boats till the end of the war. There are rumours that the facilities used for producing the car were transported to the Soviet Union where the car continued to be produced as ZIS-110 till 1959. There is no evidence of such in Packard records, and even though the two cars share exterior décor similarities, the sheet metal for ZIS-110 is not similar to that of any Packard vehicle.

In 1937, Howard Darrin built some special bodies on Packard basis and was able to convince Packard to sell it. This led to the Darrin body styles with two-door Convertible Victoria, the four-door Convertible Sedan, and the closed four-door Sport Sedan, available in 1940 to 1942.