Unlike most independent makes Packard surrived The Great Depression. Part of the reason was that by the mid 1930′s Packard offered lower priced cars. Some models even came with a entry level six cylinder. Offering Packard quality at a Nash prices. With this lower price model Packard was able to keep the cash flow going. Not wanting to sell entry level products would prove to be the demise of luxury makes like Pierce Arrow and Peerless. Packard still catered to their target customers the Richie Riches of the day. in the 1930′s Packard prodcued some of the grandest classic cars of all time. By 1939 things were looking better thanks in part to FDR and his New Deal programs. Partly because people were just feeling better about things. One of Packards biggest markets was to export to heads of states in other countries. Wanting to keep these mucky mucks cool was something Packard wanted to do.
Using the same basic idea as a home air conditioning unit Packard mounted a crank driven compressor to the engine. Mounted in the trunk was 150lbs of condensor, evaporator, and hoses that fed thru the bottom of the car to a rear seat mounted unit. Guess the slobs in the front seat could melt. The option was not offered in the lower series cars. In fact no mention of the mammoth system even entered any Packard brochures till 1941. As you guessed only 84 cars got the $274.00 option in 1939. Packard placed ads in Life Magazine bragging “Forget the heat this summer in the only air condtioned car in the world” Did You Know?