Packard Don

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About Packard Don

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 09/15/1951

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  • Gender:
  • Location:
    San Jose, CA
  • Interests:
    Packards, Imperials and Cadillacs; Vintage Polaroid cameras and vintage video including Cartrivision and reel-to-reel. I love folk and most any kind of world music and have produced professionally released several CDs and LPs for Peruvian singer Yma Sumac. Formerly a journeyman toolmaker, I am a Web and database programmer now and also licensed by the California DMV for Vehicle VIN Verification. I've owned theremins (the oldest electric musical instrument, invented in 1919) since I was ten years old and built my first one and currently have a replica of the type built by RCA in the '30s.


  • Biography
    I have owned Packards since the mid '60s when, at 16 years old, I bought a 1939 Six in Northern Washington State and it came with a 1940 110 parts car. A year later I bought 1941 Henney-Packard end loader with extension table and owned it until about ten years ago. Also in the '60s I bought another 1940 Packard 110 sedan in Seattle that must have been there its entire life and was low mileage but with the wrong engine. I replaced the engine with the proper one and owned it until just recently when it was sold and went back east. Starting in the '70s I bought newer Packard, the first being a '51 Henney-Packard combination and later a '54 Patrician. I still have the latter. I also bought a nice museum-quality '52 Henney-Packard Nu-3-Way that I sold and which ended up in Australia! After being up to 22 cars at one point, including several 1965 Cadillacs and several '64-'65 Imperials including a Ghia! Currently I have a '51 Henney-Packard military ambulance, two 1954 Patricians, a '56 Clipper Custom sedan, a 1965 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special and a 1965 Imperial LeBaron. I have two newers cars that are also of limited production: 1992 Nissan 240SX convertible which is one of Bly 327 built and a 1985 Plymouth Voyager with the rare Magic Camper option (I've never seen another).

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  1. Packard Don

    Best products for white walls?

    I used to use Bleche-Wite on my tires until I read that the strong chemicals can change the surface of the rubber making it get dirty and yellow more quickly and even to deteriorate. Not sure how true it is but, as I recall, that was on the Diamond Back tire site.
  2. I had a 1964 Ghia-Imperial from the early ‘70 until about 15 years ago and it was a real head-turner wherever it went. Not the landau model as yours and unrestored but still looked good. Yours is gorgeous but the wheel covers from a later model don’t suit it particularly well. Is there a story behind them? Also interesting is the lack of LeBaron name plates that mine had on the front fenders and right side of the trunk lid. If it’s not already there, please be sure to add it to the Ghia-Imperial roster on my Packard / IMPERIAL page and if it is there, please send a private message to me with any updates.
  3. Packard Don

    Drilling and tapping in chrome advice

    After all this time you've probably gotten it worked out but here is my two-cents worth anyway. As a journeyman prototype machinist (long out of the trade), drilling chrome is a very tough job at best. As the plating is only on the surface, it will likely chip or flake at the edges of the holes leaving unprotected areas that will eventually cause corrosion to the base metal. Best to strip it, drill and tap the holes, then replate.
  4. Packard Don

    1953 Packard front turn signal glass

    1953 Packard turn signals were plastic, not glass. Are you sure it’s a 1953?
  5. Packard Don

    What model is this ashtray from?

    The emblem is Chrysler Imperial (when they actually were CHRYSLER Imperial) and I have a wheelcover with the identical emblem.
  6. Packard Don

    1951 Packard Radio Delete

    Because I always add radios to my Henney-Packards, I have one of each for sale on my site but I don’t recall ever having added a radio to a non-Henney yet one is without the emblem.
  7. Packard Don

    1951 Packard Radio Delete

    According to the parts book, part number 416351 with the crest was for the 1951 to 1954 Henney-Packards while part number 439028 without the crest was for the passenger cars. That seems odd to me too but, unless I misread it, that’s the answer! I would expect the one with the crest to be senior and the other for junior but apparently that’s not the case.
  8. Packard Don

    1948-1954 Parts Book

    Still progressing and my proofed data has been merged with the un-proofed data, bring theirs up to date through group 29. As I finish each group, it is passed along in their format from my database but I’ve slowed down on the huge group 30 so it’s up to date and proofed only on my site but not yet on I hope to work on it more in the next couple weeks while at my Oregon location where I have evenings available on the PC with little distraction as it gets too cold up there in the high desert to work at night in the shop, which is without heat and only a long extension cord for power.
  9. Packard Don

    Sears Allstate tires

    I have two sets, one on my 1954 Packard Patrician and the other on my 1956 Clipper and both sets were purchased in the ‘80s. They were sold through Sears but only by special order. Both are very low mileage sets and the only visible age damage was on one that sat flat in the dirt for several years which ruined the sidewall. These cars haven’t been driven in years but the tires still look good other than the bad one! Whether they are or not is another matter.
  10. Packard Don

    No back penalties for old cars in California

    If the vehicle is in the CA DMV database, then no verification needed but if not, then it will be required using form reg31 without question. It’s typical of the DMV to not tell you everything needed, though, so it would not hurt to have it verified by a mobile verifier who will come to you to do it and they will supply the form with their license information prefilled. Obviously I’m too far away to do it (and I’m in Zürich, Switzerland at the moment) so cannot assist but you should be able to find a licensed mobile VIN verifier in your area. Since it doesn’t run, I presume you’re trying for a non-op but once the time comes to register it, it will also need an emissions test which they probably also didn’t tell you.
  11. Packard Don

    No back penalties for old cars in California

    Sometimes giving the DMV too much information simply confuses them, which is why I generally just fill the appropriate applications, write the check and mail it all in. Sometimes in special cases like this, I also fill the Statement of Facts’ last section where you can write free-style to explain, in the most basic of terms, why there is no title. Again, not too much detail. Since the vehicle wasn’t towed, parked or driven on any public road since you purchased it, you absolutely are not responsible for any back-fees although you will need to get the VIN verified if you haven't already done so.
  12. Packard Don

    No back penalties for old cars in California

    I’ve been collecting cars for over 50 years and have never had to pay back-fees even when the vehicles were not historic. In one case when I bought a collectable car on the East Coast through a dealer that supplied only a bill of sale, it took two years to finally get the plates and then only after I resorted to mail rather than going into a local office.
  13. Packard Don

    No back penalties for old cars in California

    I would fill the application for title and the application for non-op, along with a check for $40 ($20 each, I believe but you should double-check) then mail it to Sacramento along with all the highlighted printouts you mentioned and a filled statement of facts (last section only). In about 60 days, you should get your title. Going to the DMV in person for this sort of thing is a waste of time!
  14. Packard Don

    No back penalties for old cars in California

    That’s the first I’ve ever heard that and not sure if the information is valid. As long as the car hasn’t been driven or parked on any public streets, or towed on one, it should have no back-fees.
  15. Packard Don

    No back penalties for old cars in California

    It needs to have historic plates if you are registering it as a historic vehicle because the plates are part of the historic designation. You didn’t need to get historic plates to insure a vintage vehicle as such, though, and you don’t need to get them if you want only to register it. In other words, you can get a regular registration or you can get a historic registration but the latter requires historic plates. They are required only if registering it as historic. Any particular reason to register it historic?