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1929 Packard Phaeton Model 645: How to Identify a 633 from a 645

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The Packard Motor Car Company released many impressive vehicles throughout the 1920s. The company dominated the luxury car industry and exported more cars in the luxury price range than any other American car company during the decade.

Some of Packard’s most notable models came from the De Luxe Eight and Standard Eight series of vehicles that the company introduced in 1928, including the 1929 Packard Phaeton 645 and the 633. At first glance, it may be difficult to tell the differences between the models, but the Packard Motor Company equipped these breathtaking vehicles with distinct style variations. 

Here’s a brief history of the Packard Motor Company’s De Luxe Eight vehicles and how to tell the difference between the Phaeton classic car 645 and the 633. 

The Packard Motor Company in the Late 1920s

phaeton 645Although 1929 was the first year of the Great Depression, the market didn’t experience its historic crash until October. Earlier in the year, auto manufacturers enjoyed highly profitable quarters. 

In the first quarter of 1929, the automotive industry was up around 50% compared to 1928, and profits were up 35% compared to 1927. There were warning signs that the industry wouldn’t continue experiencing such immense success, but car manufacturers didn’t anticipate such a sudden crash. Packard and other companies expected a slowdown because the industry was able to produce 7 million vehicles yearly while the demand was only 4.5 million cars. 

Like other companies, the Packard Motor Company had great success in the first half of 1929. By the end of June, the company had already netted more profits than in the previous year. Part of the reason for their successful year was that the company had introduced four different series based on their Packard Eights: the Standard Eight, Super Eight, Custom Eight, and De Luxe Eight. 

The Standard Eight included the 626 and 633 models while the De Luxe included the 645. Although there were style differences between these different series, the models featured many similarities including a low-compression aluminum head. The Packard Motor Car Company equipped these stunning cars with 319.2 cu in L-head inline eight engines that could produce 90 bhp. The powertrain also included a 3-speed manual transmission. 

The Standard Eight series replaced the previous year’s six-cylinder models, and Packard offered lower prices for the Standard Eight than the previous standard models. 

The Packard Motor Car Company sold 55,062 units in 1929, but, unfortunately, the company wasn’t immune to the economic fallout of the Great Depression. The following year, sales dropped to 36,401, and the company continued suffering until 1935. Shockingly, the company only sold 4,000 units in 1933. 

1929 Packard Phaeton 645

Although the Standard Eights were stylish and eye-catching, their design paled in comparison to the stunning De Luxe Eight cars. The Packard Motor Car Company had recently introduced the “Custom by Packard” custom body shop, and designer Ray Dietrich created breathtaking new designs for the De Luxe Eight cars. 

Packard also offered custom designs from other builders, but the company used Dietrich’s design for the Packard 645 within their custom shop. The Dietrich custom cars featured his moniker as well as the “Custom by Packard” tag. 

The De Luxe Eight 645 models were twice the price of Packard’s Standard Eight vehicles. The 626 sedans sold for around $2,300 while the 1929 Packard Phaeton 645s sold for around $5,100. Dietrich also designed a 645 limousine, which cost $6,000. 

Although the De Luxe Eights were far more expensive than the Standard Eight cars, they were actually far more affordable than other luxury vehicles at the time. Other notable luxury cars such as Duesenbergs, Isotta Fraschinis, Hispano-Suizas, and Bugattis sold for nearly four times as much as the De Luxe Eights.  

Design Differences in the Packard Phaeton 645 and 633

design items phaeton 645

The Standard Eight 633s and the Dietrich-designed De Luxe 645s sport significant style differences, enabling car enthusiasts and laypeople to discern between the two Packard cars. The 645 features a solid, wide belt molding along its body while the 633 and other non-De Luxe Eight cars use a double molding. 

Additionally, the 633 and 645 have different hoods. The 645 features a hood with four vent doors, and the 633 features either three doors or louvers. Of course, another distinguisher is the cars’ different wheelbases. The 645 features a 145 ½ inch wheelbase while the 626 sports a 126 ½ inch wheelbase.  

Although the 645 enjoys distinct style features, it does share certain qualities with the 633 and other cars in Packard’s 1929 6th series models. You can tell that a Packard is from 1929 based on its lights. Before 1929, Packard Eight cars featured drum-style parking lights, but in 1929, the parking lights were gumdrop shaped. Starting in 1930, Packard began equipping the parking lights on top of the front fenders.  

Get Protective Car Insurance for Your Phaeton Classic Car

If you have the privilege of owning one of Packard’s luxury cars or another impressive classic vehicle, you need to protect it with classic car auto insurance. Fortunately, Classic Auto Insurance has your back and offers policies that’ll keep your stunning car on the road for years to come. 

We offer customizable policies that include agreed-upon value rather than the stated value. This means that we’ll work with you to determine your car’s real value, and in the event that you total your car, you’ll receive the full agreed-upon amount minus your deductible.

Our policies also offer other valuable benefits, such as inflation guard, rollover miles, nationwide roadside assistance with flatbed towing, and more! Give us a call today at 888-901-1338, or get an instant quote for your Phaeton classic car here

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