1914 Packard Model 2-38 Runabout

The sporty Packard 2-38 Pheaton Runabout of 1914 (photo from the author's collection)

The 1914 model year was a transitional one for Packard. Having introduced their first six-cylinder car only two years prior, Packard had now standardized on the six-cylinder. However, they offered a dizzying array of chassis and body options. This car, seen in a period postcard, is a 1914 Model 2-38 with a two-tone "phaeton runabout" body - a very sporty offering. With an L-head, 38 horsepower engine, this car is smaller in displacement than their model 48 of the same year. 1914 also brought a number of new features to Packard, including left-hand drive and a Delco electric starting system.

In May of 1915, Packard would introduce their landmark Twin-Six and change everything - the first mass-produced V-12 engine. Additionally, Carl Fisher would pace the 1915 Indianapolis 500 in a Packard factory special built from a 1914 Model 2-38 runabout.

Today, there are roughly 6 to 8 1914 Model 2-38 Packard's known to survive. Only one of these is a runabout - the 1915 Indy pace car. If you own a 1914 Packard, you have between the 141st and 161st oldest Packard to survive. 

Factory image of a 1914 Packard Model 2-38 Pheaton Runabout (photo credit: Detroit Public Library, IMLS)


  1. "WOW" would love to have one now, Thanks Steve, just finished reading your fathers book. You gave me a copy at Pebble Beach. Thank you for that I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to your next post.
    Your Friends, Pat & Nick

  2. Pat & Nick - great to hear from you. Very glad to hear that you enjoyed Dad's book - there are some fun pictures in there.

    All the best, Steve

  3. By a rare stroke of extraordinary luck, I just bought an unrestored (13-14) 1-38 Runabout very similar to this. On my car the spares are on the deck. There are no handles on the golf bag doors. I don't believe my car came with this style of horn. Mine had a bulb horn on the left and an electric horn on the right. As you say, things were changing fast on these cars. Mine has the three pairs of blocks rather than the two blocks of three that this car has. The blocks were actually made by Sunbeam of England. So far, no one has been able to figure out how to fold down the windshield as seen in the photo. (Some pretty sharp guys have looked at it.) Any clues? Also, as much as I like this car, I wonder why someone bought this instead of a Pierce 38 of the same year. True it was about 200-400 bucks cheaper. Most today people think it was styling that sold it. It's a quality car, but the body is wood and sheet metal with some wood moldings. The car has a 3-speed trans-axle with progressive shift. Hopelessly out dated by this time in my mind. One has to imagine that buyers were not that interested in the mechanical aspects and bought cars on reputation. This car's predecessor, the model 30 was clearly a brilliant car. Oh well, poor boys like me can't be choosey!

  4. Congratulations on your purchase. I'll start by saying that I'm not a Packard expert. However, there is a great archive of early Packard factory images held in the National Automotive History Collection of the Detroit Public Library. The other archive is held by the Larz Anderson Museum. In looking at these pictures it appears that the twin spares moved to the deck in 1915. The engine is really a mystery as Packard was casting their own blocks - the sunbeam engine in your car is something that would have to be researched. It sounds like a fascinating car - best of luck with it.