Proving Grounds 740 Packard

Proving Grounds 740 Packard

1930 Packard Model 740 Fire Truck

Mechanical engineer James Ward Packard and his brother, William Dowd Packard, built their first automobile in 1899, founding the legend of the Packard Motor Car Company. Packard established itself as the country’s leading luxury car manufacturer with their elegant solidity and attention to detail.

The 1930 Packard 740 was no exception from this luxury branding, with ads bragging that driving one felt like floating on air. In 1930, the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan produced the 740, powered by an 8-cylinder, 385 cubic inch engine with 105 horsepower and a 4-speed transition. Compared to other cars of the time, the 740 was a feat of engineering. The original cost for the 1930 Packard740 was a base price of $3,375, though wooden wheels could be added for an additional $110.

This specific 1930 Packard 740 began its life as a normal 7-passenger vehicle, but was shortly converted to a firetruck in 1933 by Penn Yan Bus Bodies, Inc. of Penn Yan, New York. During the conversion, a new body was added along with a Spartan siren, pair of spotlights, and fender lamp covers.

New life was given to this Packard after the transformation, as this vehicle began providing fire protection service sat The Packard Proving Grounds of Utica, Michigan. The Packard Proving Grounds were used by the Packard Motor Car Company to test prototype automobiles before marketing them to the public. This new fire truck was in service at the Proving Grounds until 1956, when Packard produced its last car and closed their doors forever.

After the closing of the Proving Grounds, the vehicle changed hands many times, from the Volunteer Fire Department in Romulus, Michigan to the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Proving Grounds Packard joined Koorsen Fire Museum’s private collection in September 2021.