tom b

packard engine retrofit

Recommended Posts

I think with regular maintenance, plugs, cap, rotor, points and wires you will be fine. The only modifications I might consider is an electric fuel pump in case of vapor lock. Just a word of caution however. A friend was using his antique car for weddings as you propose. He mentioned this to his insurance agent one day and two months later his policy was cancelled. When he protested, he was informed that they would issue a new policy that would cover his car and occupants, but it was several times what he was paying. Think about it, have an accident with a new bride and groom and others, be prepared for a huge lawsuit. Insurance companies know this and need to cover themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This 10 year old thread is still relevant today and we've talked about this subject a lot.  I always find it interesting these folks want a modern V8 in an nice old car that's been around for 50, 60, 70 or more years and the reason is usually something like, "I want this car to be more reliable."  My question is, how much more reliable can you get than a machine that's been running for all those years?  And, of course, as we all know, sure it's got a new engine but how does that insure reliability?  There's a lot more to a car than the engine.  In my years in the GM Service dept. we would see all types of failures that would sideline a car and the percentage of engine failures was always tiny compared to all of the other categories of failure.  And it seems a portion of those failures were a result of negligence on the part of the owner.  "Why do I need to check the oil, it's a new car, well it was 3 years ago." or,  "That squealing noise has been going on for weeks now. I'm no mechanic, how am I supposed to know what's bad?"

 

As far as the wedding car thing.  It seems like this is the one of two or three basic questions that come up.

Every time I buy another old car that has a back seat I get a lot of people asking me if I'm going to rent it out for weddings.  I always shake my head no.  "Why not?"  I tell them more than likely the wedding will be on a Saturday in the summer and I'll have to miss a car show to stand around in a tux listening to a bridezilla complain about my car.

The doors are too small.

Where's the AC? 

Where's everyone going to sit?  There's only room for 3 of us in here. 

Why can't I have champagne with my bridesmaids in the backseat while you drive us to the reception? 

Don't put the top down until we're parked, I don't want my hair messed up. 

Hurry up and put the top down so we can get some pictures.  

 

The other common questions include: Is this a gangster car? No, regular folks drive cars, too.

and, What does it get for gas mileage?  If I was worried about gas mileage I'd be driving a moped.

 

Enough for now.  Wes in VT.
 

8b8ab7e5f3d11c3fad0fb8127f66f512.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 8:32 PM, DWDuck said:

After reading all of the comments - I with drawn my question concerning replacing my Packard 288 with an updated crate 350 for the long runs or interstate driving.

 

Putting a SBC is not necessary for a properly maintained car.  A friend of mine has a 24 Packard and drives it all over the country.  He has put over (I think) probably 100,000 miles in the last 15 years.  He has driven it so much that the wheels have started to crack and he is rebuilding the wheels so he can keep driving it everywhere.

 

The engine runs so good and smooth that it is true from the old ads that you can put a nickel on edge on the engine and it will stay there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Larry Schramm said:

The engine runs so good and smooth that it is true from the old ads that you can put a nickel on edge on the engine and it will stay there.

I can do that with my Dodge 8. Great party trick!

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think anyone who thinks 1980s Chevrolet parts are going to be more reliable than a well-sorted Packard is gonna have a bad time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe what the modifiers really mean is that they understand and know the more recent stuff so they want some of that in it. Also, they know what maintenance is required (or at least think they do) and perceive it to be easier than an old car. e.g., no grease nipples, no oiling water pump, alternator or starter bearings, they don't leak as much oil on the drive, no ignition points even. Heavens, some old cars even have TWO sets of ignition points, what a nightmare! And they are not worn out when they start playing with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah if he had put a second hand 80s Chev engine in the car 10 years ago it would be ready for the scrap pile about now. If he rebuilt the original engine it would still be going strong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is not whether this engine is more reliable than that engine or visa versa. It is a question of whether all the custom made modifications and "made to fit" junk is going to hold up or not. The more one goes running off in untried and untrue territory, the more likely something that someone said "That oughta work!?" won't.

If one wants an "antique" car for such endeavors? A well sorted real Packard (or many other such cars) could do the job as well as anything that could be custom created for about $200,000. As for spilled wine and other abuses, the car was restored once? It can be restored again.

As for so many "improvements" to make an antique "more reliable"? Years ago, when I was touring a lot? I knew of several cars that had been "improved" every way some machinist could think of. All modern bearings, safety hubs, modified modern brakes, modified modern clutch, modern electrics, etc etc etc. Guess which cars ended up on the vulture trailer the most often? Seriously, one of those cars, done by a life-long master machinist? Started, or tried to start, nearly a dozen tours with the local club. Most of those tours were short, 30 to 40 miles. I never once saw it complete a tour (rumor had it that it did complete a couple times I wasn't there, but newsletter reports almost always said he came in on the trailer). Modern clutch failed. Modern brakes locked up. Safety hub locked up. Couldn't start it to begin the tour, and on and on and on.

Yes, Our antiques do pose certain risks. And they can and do fail, sometimes horribly. But for most of the miles we drive them? They are statistically fairly safe.  A lot safer than riding a bicycle in traffic. Even safer than riding a motorcycle in a collision (with or without seat-belts). I like driving antiques.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And with all of the changes in an "upgrade" of a vehicle, who can remember what part like the clutch came off to replace or the brake parts, etc...  Only the person that put them on would remember.  Easier to leave it stock and say I need a part for a 'xx Packard.   Just IMO.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When a "Purist" gets into my face about ruining an old car my first reply is to call an ambulance because if they're not gone in ten seconds one of us is going to need it. They get on their high horse and start running their mouth in overdrive before they have any idea of the cars history. One of my wedding car/prom builds is a 1930 Plymouth U; please tell me how I "ruined" it.

  Original had truck leaf springs for bumpers, boat gas tank, Model A radiator and shell, motorcycle turn signals, AMC 6 cylinder engine that got so hot it exploded the top radiator tank, 34 Chevy hood with a rubber strip for hinge, Pinto IFS with a Saginaw steering box in place of the rack and pinion, galvanized tin (with screws) replacing soft top, and a slightly untidy interior---just to name a few.

  Wedding car has boxed tubing frame, Heidt's IFS and IRS, original or hand formed parts to make it all 30 Plymouth again, a mirror image right tail light which didn't exist in 1930,  GMC van metal top chosen because square ribs match square body, Courier seats that approximate the simple rectangular seat design, hand formed dash with Vintage instruments, and of course a zero miles 350/350 combo, a/c, at, p/s, p/b, cruise---all the bells and whistles. As far as the people are concerned their wedding/prom car was a REAL 1930 Plymouth Taxi and looks so in their pictures PLUS it doesn't break down.

 

 

 

34 chrome parts 012.jpg

34 chrome parts 014.jpg

34 chrome parts 017.jpg

34 chrome parts 018.jpg

truck 032.jpg

truck 031.jpg

truck 034.jpg

truck 030.jpg

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You didn't ruin anything because you didn't really have anything to start with. To each his own but please don't think it is a 1930 Plymouth Taxi. It isn't and never was. What it is is an interesting street rod. Enjoy it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/10/2018 at 7:41 AM, Larry Schramm said:

And with all of the changes in an "upgrade" of a vehicle, who can remember what part like the clutch came off to replace or the brake parts, etc...  Only the person that put them on would remember.  Easier to leave it stock and say I need a part for a 'xx Packard.   Just IMO.

 

This is something a lot of guys dont think about and its important. You need to service the cars and if its modified you better have a list of the parts that went in or the next guy is going to have real head aches. Can you imagine looking at a disk brake on a hot rod and trying to figure out what kind of pads it needs? Or wheel bearings? No thank you.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I get it as to maintaining the original car.  I have done that on a number of cars.  I am getting "talked" to because I want to put seat belts in the car, I even talked about going to a 12v so I could place a AC as we live in FL.  This is not a garage queen but a riding and running car.  Disk brakes almost put one individual into the hospital.  All items for consideration - not action as of yet.  One individual indicated that because I have the junior 52 Package 288 @135 house power I could drop in a 56 Packard V-8 and it's transmission and still maintain the Packard name in lieu of being called "john Snow."  Now that killed three purist.  Granted, the 288 will run all day, I just want to drive it on the interstate and enjoy the AC if possible and the stopping power in traffic.  Manual brakes are not the best in FL traffic.  As for seat belts, what harm is that doing?  Going to a 12v system so I can have AC that again should not caused me to be send to the wall to fight off the white walkers.  As for disk brakes - well having the stopping power to slow down and stop the tons of steel that a 52 Packard maintains in weight is not a bad idea.  Which ever way I go I thank each one of you for your comments and recommendation. 

Edited by DWDuck
Updated information (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now