You are looking at a 1926 Packard parked beside a Traction Avant. Both cars belong to the Bjorn Teerlinck in Belgium. Bjorn bought the Packard three months ago at an auction. It had been recently imported from the US and, except for new tires, was in totally original and pristine condition. It’s an impressive vehicle. Doors close with bank vault precision, the engine is silky smooth with tons of torque, a perfectly preserved period interior takes you back to the glory of the 1920’s.
Here it was, a Yank in a foreign land, and no one was bidding on it. So Bjorn made a bid, wanting an automobile that he could enjoy in contrast to his Traction. It does so in a number of ways…
Though both sedans, the Traction appears to be distinctively the sportier of the two. The Packard’s behemoth size and tall stance give it a dominating stately presence. The Traction, on the other hand, appears sleek, hunkered down and road ready, – like it is already in motion.
On the road the Packard’s cable actuated brakes versus the Traction’s modern hydraulics require that a berth be granted to anything in its path. The Packard is a car indicative of its era’s counterparts whereas the Traction, beyond its innovative aerodynamic style, was revolutionary in its introduction of advanced automotive technology; It was the world’s first mass production car employing front-wheel drive, hence the name “Traction Avant”. It had a monocoque construction which was not only stronger but lower than conventional body-on-frame structure (like the Packard). The Traction engine featured overhead valves instead of side valves. Steering was rack and pinion and suspension was by independent torsion bars. It came equipped with the first Michelin X radial ply tires. All of which gives the Traction considerable performance advantages over the “old school” Packard. But this really isn’t about Traction engineering prowess. We are talking about the pictures here and the emotions they evoke;
These cars visually, together, complement each other. A stark contrast to be sure, but a wonderful reflection of a vintage automotive era of truly great cars!