1930 Packard Eight 734 Speedster

  • Our Price: $65.95
  • Out of Stock
Signature 1930 Packard Packard Eight 734 Boattail Speedster diecast car
Customer Rating: 8 stars
  • Year: 1930
  • Brand: Signature
  • Make: Packard
  • Code: SG18138BK
  • Model: Packard Eight 734 Boattail Speedster
  • Scale: 1:18
  • Color: Black & Burgundy

The hooting was driving me crazy. Every night, just as my eyes closed… low, simian sounds outside my window that snapped off – pop! – as soon as I pulled up the shade. That lumbering orange bastard was taunting me. Okay, Magneto. You win.

Packard’s Model 724 Speedster was as close to a deliberately built modern muscle car as the maker would manufacture in 1930. It had classic, big-motor-in-a-small-frame architecture, using the largest engine in the Packard stable – a straight eight of 384.8 cubes – hammered into a modified version of the smallest of Packard’s frames. Like any factory muscle car, it also allowed the buyer the option of customizing its motor with factory-installed power accessories, like a higher-compression 8.0:1 head. Thusly equipped, the DeLuxe Eight engine (which came standard in the Speedster with dual Detroit Lubricator carbs) made 145 horses at 3400 RPM. By comparison, that same engine, when installed in senior series Packards, made only 106 horsepower – and it had to move a whole lot more metal. When those additional percherons were joined by its optional 3.3 differential, Speedster owners got a full-goose-bozo rig that could top 100 miles per hour – not bad performance for a car with the aerodynamics of a tenement. Though the sleek boattail was the most famous of the body styles affixed to these Packards, the “Speedster” name was actually attached to the chassis. Don’t feel badly if you didn’t know that; even Packard didn’t say much about the car. Hardly any advertising was put forth, and only 113 of the rapid runts, in body styles ranging from boattails to Victorias to sedans to phaetons, were ever built.

When considering the 1/18 model of the car, you’ll have to hand it to Signature for sticking to its guns. When it first appeared on the scene a few years ago, the company reps swore that it would render only classic cars. And, with the exception of one or two particularly horrid releases that saddled classic automobiles with flamed paint jobs, Signature has held to that oath. The result? A lineup of affordable, well-intended images of iconic automobiles at very reasonable prices. The Signature price point – usually around thirty bucks – is arrived at formulaically, and the alchemy is readily apparent on this latest model. Pull the Packard from its box and you’re swept up in swoopy fenders and two-toned paint. The chrome is good, the assembly tidy, and the overall presentation (especially the highlighted beading on the body) is nice for the dough.

It’s only when you get closer that the cost-cutting becomes evident. Dog leg hinges are used on the opening doors and trunk, and the hood, though butterfly-hinged, reveals only a cursorily detailed engine that’s missing one of its carbs – the result of parts-bin raiding at Signature, who uses not only this engine mold, but the model’s entire chassis assembly, under its models of other, larger, 1930 Packards. That’s a big problem, should absolute scale accuracy be a criterion in your collecting choices. The Speedster rode on a 135” wheelbase, and this model, with its big brother’s bones beneath, scales out at a much longer 146. Yikes.

Hats off to the outer beauty of the model – the additional scale length hardly impacts the overall prowess of the car on display, and other elements add the taste of value to the mix. In addition to poseable wing windows, there’s a carpeted floor and a neat wood-toned dash in the cozy, stagger-seated cabin. A browse under the glued-on up-top reveals nicely done instruments and separately-installed handles and pedals. Take a trip aft, and you can peruse the unusual triangular boot under its lift-up lid. Go beneath, however, and the detail train screeches to a halt; the frame, floorboard, and exhaust are cast of a piece, with only the low-parts-count, coil-loaded rear suspension and static, (though steerable) front end attached.

Come to the party with your expectations in check (and with a small screwdriver to pry the top off), and you’ll have a good time. Those of us who would have liked to see this car done to highfaluting standards will have to wait until a highfaluting maker does one. In the meantime, for around thirty bucks, and with a certain forgiveness in mind for cheap thrills, Signature’s not-so-little Speedster makes for a nice Wintertime diversion. I’d give it three out of five stars.

-Joe Kelly

  • Our Price: $65.95
  • Out of Stock
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