- The Washington Times - Friday, June 28, 2002

Despite the popularity of the six-cylinder junior model, Packard decided to discontinue it after the 1928 model year.
Even though the 533 series was soon to expire, Packard introduced some new models to the series, one of which was a Sport Phaeton. It was produced from the first of July 1927 until Aug. 1, 1928. The price at introduction was $2,385 and about three weeks from the end in 1928 was reduced by $300 to $2,085.
The 288.6-cubic-inch, six-cylinder engine is rated at 81 horsepower and draws fuel from the 22-gallon gasoline tank, compliments of a vacuum tank because there is no fuel pump. An updraft Detroit lubricator carburetor feeds the fuel to the engine.
One particular Packard was built with nickel brightwork but was later retrofitted with chrome. This is the only year for Packard that either chrome or nickel is correct. In 1928 both were available from the factory or the dealer. In 1929 all trim was chrome.
The aforementioned 1928 model 533 Sport Phaeton was purchased with a rear-mounted spare tire as standard equipment and the original owner opted for an uncommon optional extra a large, stanchion-mounted spotlight.
Eventually, the car was passed to the second owner who improved and repainted it until it was sold to its third and current owner, Bill Johnson, in February 1997.
"I first saw the Packard at a car show in 1969," Mr. Johnson recalls. "It was painted dark blue at the time and I fell in love with it then."
Only 28 years passed before he became the proud owner of the six-cylinder Packard. Although the color had changed the interior remained original.
Much of the car's history is uncertain; however, Mr. Johnson believes it left the factory wearing a coat of olive green.
The black fenders now highlight a red body. Inside each of the four doors is a leather pocket for storage.
Beneath the oak bows supporting the top the driver sits behind the four-spoke, hard-rubber steering wheel.
Two levers sprout from the floor, one at each of the driver's knees. On the left is the hand brake and to the right is the gearshift.
Since buying the car Mr. Johnson has continued to improve the 3,745-pound car. The wood graining on the compartment on the back of the front seat was matched to the original.
Upon entering the car through any of the four doors, you'll find on the running board a metal step plate with a built-in foot scraper. It's an unusual accommodation today, although a welcome one in 1928 when unpaved roads were shared with horses.
A radiator stone guard was an optional extra as were the cowl lights. Mr. Johnson reports an unexpected problem with the cowl lights. "When turned on," he said, "they reflects light off the back of the chrome headlights."
Under the feet of the front-seat passengers the toe board is cast aluminum while the floor is covered with battleship linoleum. The rear-passenger compartment, however, is carpeted. No luggage accommodations are provided.
Mechanically speaking, the Packard is equipped with a Bijur Lubricating System. With a single pull on the dash-mounted handle, 30 separate points on the chassis are lubricated including the clutch throwout bearing.
The speedometer on the powerful Packard tops out at 100 mph, even though factory literature indicates that 70 mph is all the driver can expect.
What do you expect from a 19-foot-long, 6-foot-tall car about as aerodynamic as a brick? Mr. Johnson reports a highway mileage figure of about 12 mpg.
"New for 1928," Mr. Johnson said, "is a standard oil filter and the cylinders were oiled when the choke was pulled out. "This prevented a rich gasoline mixture from washing oil off the cylinder walls."
The 6.75x32-inch tires on eight-lug disc steel wheels support a 133-inch wheelbase upon which the Packard rides.
"The car cruises at 45 mph to 55 mph easily," Mr. Johnson said.
"It is limited by its antiquated brakes. One must be watchful and not tailgate."
Wise watchwords whether motoring in an antique automobile or in a modern car.


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