HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1931 Packard 833 phaeton ready to drive

Pick of the Day: 1931 Packard 833 phaeton ready to drive

This pre-war driver is ready for touring, pulled by a smooth straight-8 engine


“Ask the man who owns one,” rang the famous advertising slogan for Packard, in testament to their value and reliability.  Cherished by many collectors today, Packard reminds us of simpler times and automotive amenities for those who truly appreciated them.

The Pick of the Day is a 1931 Packard 833 phaeton advertised by a dealer in Macedonia, Ohio, on The car appears to be a lovely tourer, and as the seller declares, “this is a car to drive, not to show.” I have always believed cars were meant to be driven, and this ancient example from Detroit’s golden age would be quite fun.

In the 2000s, when I still lived in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I was privileged to meet and get to know a local guy who had amassed quite a car collection. Packard people know him well. His name is Paul TerHorst. He inspired my appreciation for Packard and other prewar cars. He too liked to drive and he gave me the opportunity to drive some of his fabulous cars, including a completely original (patina and all) 1957 Corvette, an unrestored 1932 Auburn phaeton and numerous Packards.

What struck me first in viewing this car was the color combination of Packard Blue and Cream. While not original, it just visually pops. The car was restored in the 1970s and while the paint on the car is recent, the interior is a remnant of the first undertaking.

The Packard is powered by a 320cid straight-8 linked with a three-speed manual transmission.

“That 9-main-bearing straight-8 pulls like an electric motor with about the same amount of noise and vibration,” the seller says in the ad. “It’s silent and smooth. It was rebuilt some years ago and carefully maintained ever since and has proven itself as a reliable tour car.”

Unless you plan a 100-point restoration of this nearly 90-year-old car, chances are you won’t be showing it at the Quail or Pebble. But long top-down drives in the country, admiring the fall colors, would be just right in the sweet spot.

You could bring along friends, too. The brown-leatherette interior boasts a back seat that looks more like a living room love seat, with the proper robe rail and footrest.

The odometer shows 68,137 miles and the asking price is $89,900. Certainly, a reasonable price of admission for the romance that this car invokes.

To view this listing on, see Pick of the Day

Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.


  1. Really nice car, although I’m not crazy about the paint scheme. It just doesn’t look right for a car from that period, in my estimation. Still, I’d love to own it.

  2. I’d have to agree with Jim on the paint, although I think a darker blue would have worked better. This era Packards are stunning and just shout elegance. I’d love to have one as well.

  3. Electric blue on a Packard? What were they thinking? Yes, dark blue or a deep green would do so much better. This car must be a landful to drive but I would like to have it.

  4. The blue is actually called French Blue, and a sample was taken from another original, unrestored 1930 Packard convertible and digitally matched to create the paint for this car, so it’s correct. Monitors vary and the 4500K LED lights in our studio make it look a little brighter and bluer than it might be in real life–it’s quite attractive in person. It’s tough to make the call from just a picture on a computer screen simply because settings can vary so much. We worked pretty hard to get the photos to match the car, but it’s an imperfect science and it’s never an exact match, unfortunately.

    And no matter which way you slice it, the blue is MUCH better than the previous bright orange color!

    I hope this helps. Thanks for your interest.

  5. I painted the blue 4 years ago as per owners request. Color did bring it to life from the drab medium brown that it was. Super solid sheet metal with no rust hiding anywhere at all it’s 90 years on the planet….. And I drove it giving it a run for the money. Dream ride that took all I gave…. ready for the west coast trip from Ohio…. with the crew and some cold rolling Rock. Cheers, Robert

  6. Why didn’t they remove the rust and pain the front seat support? This makes me wonder if it was just a quick cosmetic restoration rather than a true frame-up nut and bolt restoration an automobile of this caliber should have.


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