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Packard 336 Roadster on a Chassis Dynamometer in Detroit

This dark-colored Packard roadster with steel disc wheels was photographed on a chassis dynamometer in an Engineering Test Lab at a special garage building near the Packard factory complex in Detroit, Michigan in 1927. The lead photo and the enlargeable image below show a posed image with a well-dressed gentleman at the controls of the dyno sitting in the test car.

This impressive Packard 336 Third Series straight-eight was produced between August of 1926 and July of 1927. The 384.8 c.i. L-head eight-cylinder engine produced 106 horsepower, which passed through a two-plate dry clutch and a three-speed transmission to a rear axle equipped with a standard 4.33 to 1 gear ratio.

The roadster being tested is restrained by large-diameter steel rods attached to a triple I-beam structure with the two vertical legs cast into the concrete floor. The car is fitted with a thermostat-controlled winter front with the louvers in the wide open position – this run on the dyno might have been used to test how the device affected the cooling system and performance under a load.

Let us know if you can find any information about this dynamometer and its manufacturer. The image was found via Rodger Luksik of The Packard Motor Car Foundation and is courtesy of the Wayne State University Libraries. The Packard 336 engine photo is courtesy of the Revs Institute Library.

1927 Packard on a Chassis Dynamometer

1927 Automobile Chassis Dynamometer

  • Image of a 1927 336 Packard straight-eight engine  below taken in the 1930s courtesy of the Revs Institute Library.

1927 Packard 336 Straight Eight


27 responses to “Packard 336 Roadster on a Chassis Dynamometer in Detroit

  1. Never seen radiator shutters on a passenger car before. Had air-operated ones on diesel trucks, before after-coolers came in. Were two-plate clutches common on these classic cars? They’re still used on trucks.

      • I bought my first car in 1958 which was an early production 1931 Buick (built before January 1, 1931) and bought another 1931 Buick in 1960 which was a later production (built after January 1, 1931) and both of them had radiator shutters. Both were the smaller series (8-57) with a single plate clutch.

  2. The glass bowl sediment filter attached to the firewall is very familiar. What is the metal canister above it?

  3. Gee,I wonder if that exact same room is still located somewhere at those Packard ruins in Detroit
    that were featured here awhile back.
    Something about some guy who had plans to partially restore some of that plant.

    • I believe the photos were taken at the then new Packard Proving Grounds in Shelby Township, about 30 miles north of the East Grand Boulevard factory site. The main area and buildings of the Proving Grounds are being restored through the efforts of the Packard Motor Car Foundation.

  4. From: Roger Luksik

    The location of this dynamometer room is neither at the Packard Plant on East Grand Boulevard nor the Packard Proving Grounds in (Utica) Shelby Township, MI. Rather is was located at a special garage building not far from the Packard Factory Branch at 574 E. Jefferson Ave.

  5. The equipment looks like an early version of the brake testing gear all cars in UK are required to submit to on an annual basis (if built after 1960). Otherwise why monitor the front wheels?
    I found on the internet a newspaper clip from 1924 reporting a 1919 Packard Twin-six fitted with experimental front wheel brakes; but they were never fitted to the production Twin-six, so can’t have satisfied the Experimental Department; and Packard brought in Henri Perrot to help with their first fwb design on the T6’s successor the single eight. Perrot gave a lecture to the SAE castigating previous American brake designs, extolling his own work in bringing front wheel brakes to the Scottish Argyll and shedding interesting light on how Peugeot might have won the 1914 French Grand Prix if they had fitted his design of front wheel brakes. A great tirade if you can get hold of a copy (Journal of the Society of Automotive Engineers Vol XIV (number 2) pages 101-6, 1924).
    The Pines Winterfront on Packards has “Packard Motor Car Company Detroit” on the badge, mimicking the appearance on the hub nuts. Works well on my T6; they were already listed by the Packard Motor Car Company of New York in their accessory catalogue for Twin and early single sixes (by about 1922?).

  6. Notice the rust on exhaust manifold? Couldn’t have been a brand new car. I have seen a number of 336 touring cars but have never seen a roadster.

  7. My 1934 Standard 8 had shutters as did all 33 and 34 Packards. They were vertical and thermostatically controlled! The air through the radiator was controlled instead of controlling the water as has been done since the later 30s on all cars!

  8. The Detroit Public Library collection online has a copy of the same dynamometer photo, but it’s fairly low resolution.

  9. Im sure the PACKARD is only a few months old and take a look at that Porcelain popping on the Manifold. Makes u wonder why we try to get to that 100pts

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