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(un)Solved Mysteries

The Runabout Mystery ( UPDATE III: 1909 or 1910 european (?) bodied Packard )


A coloured b&w photo will make a nice postcard. But whatever was written on the back, nothing is giving away what fine car is being shown. The snappy runabout makes one think of a 1911 Packard, but we don’t think it is one. See the subtle treatment of the sidelights in the flow of the cowl. This must have been a very expensive custom built roadster. But by whom? And based on what? As always, a close-up of the radiator might help. Tell us us what you think. (postcard, virtual collection Tim Martin)
UPDATE III by Hugh Nutting:"It looks like a 1909 or 1910 Packard 30 gentlemen's roadster that was likely re-bodied in the mid to late teens. The radiator has been painted to look more like a twin six. Lamps and windshield were after-market parts through the teens. The front fenders are close to 1910 Packard but may be from some other make and used as part of the up-grade customizing. The number plate looks American though the body is of Euro styling."
UPDATE II by Peter Ransom:"The tubular cross-member supporting the crankhandle was a feature of the big 4-cylinder Packards. The radiator is obscured by the lights and guards but you can see the distinctive shape that carries through to the bulkhead/firewall and is then carried into the cowl where the sidelights are fitted. This is obviously a custom body and electric lighting fitted long after the car was new."
Updates came in from Robb Stewart, Peter Ransom, both claiming this to be a Packard. Stewart came with the more precises ID. Both gentlemen refer to the most distinctive hubcaps. Yet, we still have our doubts. Primarily because of the radiator.

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