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b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
Used to post in a previous Packard thread, but it is long gone.

Became a Packard Club member at the end of June and on July 3rd drove up to Tyson's Corner, Virginia for the 37th Annual Packard Meet.
There was no time to officially register for any of the Events, but I did go to the indoor swap meet, which was really interesting.
And on July 4th went to the car Show at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg , Va.
Seeing all those cars on the basically empty Dulles Parkway was a sight to behold.
It was brutally hot that day, but there were over 150 cars there.
Got to see some incredible Carribbeans and a 1913 Touring car. And everything in between.
Several members have told me it is possible to find good running 120s for $4500.
Where can I find one of these?
Anybody got any ideas?
Everything that I have looked at is around 14K.
Mr. Shiftright?


  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,580

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    I would think a decent running 120 in fair to average condition could be had for around $8,000 or so---but $4,500 sounds like a car with a lot of cosmetic problems or damage. You can certainly find a good running late 40s "bathtub" Packard for $4,500 or a 50s sedan for even less than that, but a 30s era 120 would probably cost more IMO. However, if the members of the Packard club are telling you that, and since club members tend to OVER value their cars, well, I'd have to reassess my own idea of what a decent 120 is worth in that case. Maybe then meant a "running" car that is cosmetically very poor.

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  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I think I need to find an "in" with somebody or find a barn or estate car.

    My preference is a '34-38 120. Maybe a '39. The later cars hve too much chrome on the front and those chrome strakes down the side.

    Found this on ebay last night.

    I imagine the bidding will go much higher though.

    I also found a '41 110 that at first blush looks good. Upon closer inspection the paint is bad and there are several dents in the body.
    Current bidding is at $5900. I would think by the time I got it painted and the chrome done I would be in the hole in a major way.
    Plus it will always be a 6 cylinder car not an 8.
    And I don't like the front end. Doesn't have what I consider to be the classic packard grille.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    I think you need to stick to 8 cylinder Packards if you want to come out alive after you fix it up.

    I'm sure if you "worked" the clubs and just hung around something would come up. Packards tend to be kept by older owners and they like to pass on their cars to people who will care for them. They aren't speculative type collectors as a rule. The real greedheads tend to be in the more modern cars which are bought and sold (sometimes) as commodities rather than objects of affection.

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  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I think you are correct about that. Unfortunately I am in SC and the closests Packard shows are in Florida and VA. So it will take some effort for me to get there.
    I have made tentative plans to go to the 2003 Meet in Santa Rosa, CA.
    I think I need to see a lot more cars before I get a handle on what I am buying.
    My observation of the Packard Meet in VA was that I was probably the youngest guy there(39). Most were in their seventies.
    I need to spend some more time with these guys and found out what I should look for. I am sure they have a line on a lot of cars that never get advertised.
    I saw 4-5 120s and Super 8s there that I could live with. I would guess that they would sell in the 24K-37K range.
    Most of these cars were probably in better condition than the average Packard.
    I was surprised how many cars at the Meet were not judged. I guess they get them in good shape, have them judged for a couple of years then drive and enjoy them and not worry about a ding or stone chip.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    Yes, many good deals in the collector car world never get advertised. Cars are what they call "hand sold", person to person, not by mass advertising.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Shifty, what's your take on the long-term value of '30s Packards? If most of them are owned by guys in their 70s that doesn't seem to bode well for the future.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    There were a lot of people in their 50's and 60's attending the Meet.
    They were probably in the majority.
    Quite a few in their 40's.
    Might have a lot to do with disposable income, Not just the fact that guys in their 50's are buying musclecars now.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    I think that aside from the truly exceptional 30s cars, most mass-produced 30s automobiles face a fairly grim future. They will continue to decline in popularityand value as a new generation of collectors switch to more practical and valuable cars.

    . So if it's a Packard sedan or a cheaper model, I suspect not many people in the future will continue to restore or maintain them, and they will be scrapped/sold off by families/ hot-rodded or modified / driven around and enjoyed until they drop / or just sit there and disintegrate. How many people still drive stagecoaches or ancient bicycles or old fire engines?

    However, the big dual-cowls, V12s, special-bodied cars, etc., will always hold their value and always be preserved. The winnowing process in collectible cars always favors the exceptional and discards the ordinary. As restoration costs increase and values decrease, it seems logical that cars that aren't worth much will disappear or be forgotten

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  • I just realized while reading these Packard posts, that it's been 50 years since I last drove my dad's black 1939 Super 8 touring sedan(model 1703). He traded it in on a new 1952 Plymouth. I still like to look at old photos of that car--lot of good memories. I keep thinking I'd like to try to find something comparable--but I like my current toy of the last 9 years, a 1985 Porsche 911 and can't justify two "fun" cars. I know--I know, it's an apples and oranges situation. Oh well, maybe some day----
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    It's easy to rationalize.
    I believe in the 3 car ownership plan: One to show, one to go, and one for the shop. LOL.
  • I rarely see any Packards locally. And when you do, you are right, the owners are usually as old as the car.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Ran across this on hemmings last night.
    There is an all Packard Show in Palm Beach this weekend. November 22-24th.
    I am going to try to run down there. Spend the night and come back late the next day.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,555
    How the overdrives worked on the Packards?

    I was once tempted by a 1950 Packard that was for sale. I remember the owner telling me it had an "electric overdrive". Sound familiar?

    I also remember him telling me that the automatics..Ultramatics (?)were a total piece of garbage.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    No, there was no "electric overdrive". What he meant was a lock up torque converter, as you see on modern cars. DOH!

    Packards got worse and worse as their little empire crumbled, but they always had great engineering. Their last cars weren't executed very well, but the ideas were really quite advanced, with torsion bar suspension, self-leveling, lock up torque converter and electrically operated automatic tranmission, all in 1955. The car was of course a pig to drive as most '55s were in those days but Packard's "swan song" was remarkable in that they attempted to innovate right until their grim and horrible end.

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Packard's last cars: that includes the rare Hawk, right?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, Shifty, would you include that one in your pantheon of Packard all-timers?
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    The Hawk, isn't that the one the Packard purists call a "Studepackard"?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    It's not a Packard, it's completely, totally a Studebaker, and it's a fraud. AND it is very homely, too--neener, neener....LOL!

    Last true Packard was 1956. Keep the truth alive. Tell your friends.

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  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Never ridden in one but people have told me that the Packards with the torsion bar suspension ride incredibly well.
    The V8 engines that were in them are another matter.
  • The 828 page book, "Packard, A History of the Motorcar and the Company" by B.R. Kimes, published in 1978 by Automobile Quarterly Magazine, is a fantastic source for Packard info. Lots of high quality photos (mostly black & white)and much text detail. I don't know whether new copies are still available, however used copies probably are available. Also, The Packard Club at has a lot of packard info.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    Another great book is "The Packard Story" by Robert Turnquist. Definitely out of print butsometimes it shows up on Ebay or Alibris.

    The tornsion bar Packards do ride well in that floaty-boaty kind of way--just don't take a fast corner.

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  • wevkwevk Posts: 179
    Back in the mid /late 50s a neighbor had a series of used packard limos which had a window between the front seat and rear seating area. His 5 kids would ride in the back while he and his wife road in front with the window - up!

    Many a time I wished our minivan had one of those.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    The final Packard's suspension was especially interesting because two torsion bars linked the front and rear suspension! I don't think any other manufacturer has tried that trick.

    The sad part about Packard's story is that what ultimately killed the firm was the merger with Studebaker. Packard was still viable when it merged with Studebaker in 1954, but the South Bend firm hid its true breakeven point during the merger talks. Studebaker was pretty much on the ropes by 1954, with uncompetitive labor costs, an outdated plant and no money for new cars (which it needed, as the 1953 line was a sales flop). Packard made some headway in early 1955, but it couldn't overcome severe quality control problems and Studebaker's uncompetitive cost structure. In the end, the bankers decided that Studebaker was (temporarily) worth saving and Packard wasn't.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I think it was called the Studebaker-Packard Corporation into the sixties even though no Packards had been produced for years.

    From what I have read in the 'Rise and Fall of the Pacard Motorcar Corp." there was a downward trend inprofits in the '30s when they brought out the lower line of Pacakrds. They sold more cars than ever (over 200,000 per year) but the profits per car were way way down vs. the big cars.

    This caused them to expand production facilities, labor, etc. All to make less per car.
    So I think the thirties is when it started to go downhill.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    This month's issue has Jamie Lee Curtis on the cover and a story on a guy with a 10 car garage.
    There is a incredible picture of 5 of his cars parked out front.
    2 of them are flawless examples of Packard's best.
    A 1932 and a 1934 act as bookends in the picture.
    His collection is above reproach.
    Jamie Lee looks pretty good too.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,555
    That '50 Packard I was talking about wasn't an automatic. It was a three speed manual. It had a button on the dash as I recall(it's been a long time) that was marked "Overdrive".

    The owner/seller told me that was the "electric overdrive".

    The Packard wouldn't start..."needs something minor" I never found out.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    Ah, okay. It's just an ancient overdrive system using both cable and a solenoid and relay.

    After about 30 mph, you push in a knob attached to a cable (like a hood release), then let off the gas and you are in overdrive and "freewheeling". To get out of overdrive, you floor it and a solenoid allows you to get out of freewheel by pulling out the cable.

    This is about 1935 tech but it worked pretty well. You only got o/d in second or third gear. The o/d gearset was attached to the regular transmission in the rear. Borg Warner made it. It's a nice option for older cars. Usually, an o/d equipped car had a lower rear end ratio so they were a bit faster off the line.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,555
    Well, I do remember (barely) the OD handles under the dash. Last one I ever saw was on a '66 Impala. I wouldn't have believed they made this into the sixties but I saw it.

    And I remember how these worked. Pretty slick, and a pretty desirable option.

    But, the Packard was different. I don't think it had a handle, just a button. Probably worked the same way only maybe with a switch instead of a cable.

    Maybe that's why he called it "electric".?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    Hmmm....I always thought it had a cable system...maybe it was just the same button they usually put under the gas pedal for the solenoid, so you could then pull out the cable. Flooring the gas pedal to disengage the cable wasn't very pleasant.

    Even the "electric overdrives" they made in the 80s weren't really electric...I think they just activated little hydraulic pumps that did what the cable used to do.

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