Matt Harwood

1942 Packard 160 LWB Sedan

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There's a little confusion about what, exactly, this handsome all-original Packard sedan actually is. It does not appear to be a standard-issue sedan for a variety of reasons. One, it's on the 138-inch wheelbase, which is 11 inches longer than the standard 160. Two it has a divider window, but matching cloth seats front and rear. And three, there's a single sideways-facing jump seat in the back, which a Packard friend of mine referred to as the "assistant's seat." So whatever the case may be, this Packard was probably special-ordered and Packard being Packard was only too happy to oblige. I think that's pretty cool.

 

I have known this car my entire life and more than seven decades of its history is known. It was purchased from a funeral home* in Cleveland in 1952 by a member of the Ohio Region CCCA, and it stayed in his care until his death in 1994. It was in storage for several years, but eventually his widow sold it to a well-known member of the CCCA in New Jersey, and it remained with him until earlier this year. In 2015, it was shipped to Europe for the Packard Meet in Switzerland, and toured extensively there. It came up for sale earlier this year, and since we were getting low on inventory, I grabbed it and brought it home to Cleveland. As I said, I've known the car all my life and can remember it being at all the big events when I was a kid. 

 

Today it shows just over 38,000 original miles and is beautifully preserved inside and out. It is very much a survivor, wearing original paint and upholstery, and the 356 cubic inch straight-8 has never been opened or removed. It proudly wears an AACA HPOF badge and looks great in person. It's original, so it's far from perfect but like all good original cars, it's more than presentable and happily carries its battle scars as signs of a life well lived. Yes, it's a bit nicer in photos than in person, but I don't think anyone will complain. There's some checking in the black lacquer, a few areas where it has flaked off, mostly on the sidemount covers, but there's no sign of rust, rot, or substandard repairs--one of the advantages of an original car. The chrome is remarkably nice throughout, with minimal pitting on the cast parts and lovely straight bumpers and that towering Packard grille, which still features operational thermostatic louvers. 

 

The interior is beautifully preserved, wearing tan broadcloth throughout. There are a few threadbare areas in the high-traffic spots like the edge of the driver's seat, but again, nothing that needs attention. Door panels are beautiful, the original woodgraining looks remarkable for its age with no fading or flaking, and even the original carpets are pretty good. The only notable demerits are some crumbling on the steering wheel near the chrome rings on the cross-bar and a missing knob for the crank-up divider window. All the gauges are fully operational, including BOTH clocks, which tick away reliably (front is electric, rear is hand-wound), and this car was ordered without a radio so there's a factory block-off plate in the center. The rear seat is spacious, with a fold-out jump seat that looks barely used on the left, behind the driver, with a small storage compartment on the right. And I'm pretty sure that's a heater in the center in the back seat, although I have not tested it. Even the headliner is in great shape with just one fingertip-sized hole up near the dome light. The package tray has water stains and the trunk is kind of basic, but it does include a matching full-sized spare so you don't have to wrestle with the sidemounts if you're in need. 

 

There are some who will argue that the final 356 cubic inch straight-8 is the best of Packard's best, and I can't disagree. In 1942 it was rated at 160 horsepower, close enough to rival my big Buick. But it isn't horsepower that makes this engine sing, since it doesn't really like to rev, but rather the effortless creamy-smooth torque that moves this car like it's powered by an electric motor. The engine has never been apart and runs beautifully, starting with the original accelerator pedal switch and cruising pretty easily at 60 MPH (there is no overdrive). Routine maintenance items have been recently serviced, including a full tune up, and there's evidence that the radiator has been re-cored and the water pump replaced, making it mechanically healthy and ready to tour. I'm flat-out astounded by how beautifully this car rides, ignoring bumps and gliding over broken pavement without a wiggle or a rattle, superior to my Buick, and the rear suspension enjoys tube shocks (a real innovation for 1942) with aftermarket helper springs. The only thing that bothers me is an exhaust leak, but I have new manifold gaskets on order and I expect that'll be remedied in a week or so. Braking is confident, steering is effortless, and the recent exhaust system has a nice 8-cylinder grumble that's a bit more trucky than the Buick, but by no means objectionable. Lester wide whites look appropriate, and those simple logo-free hubcaps are correct for 1942.

 

Extras include the original owner's manual, shop manual, lots of extra parts, a car cover, and other goodies to safely tour on the road. 

 

I like big luxury cars like this--obviously. I'm delighted to compare and contrast this Packard with my Buick and the Cadillac 60S I sold a while ago, and the Packard rides the best. The engine is strong, and this is very much the effortless cruiser you'd expect. And quite honestly, the view down the hood of a Packard is still the best in the business. This Packard is available for $37,900, and gets you a car that's welcome almost anywhere, remains delightful to drive, and should be bulletproof reliable for another few decades to come with nothing more than gas and oil. Enjoy!

 

*Thanks to K8096 (Jason) for filling in the blanks for me here. He also knows the car from our collective past and notes that the "One-Sixty" badges on the car were supplied by his father, as the car was originally ordered without any emblems at all.

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Matt,

 

That's a lot of Full Classic Packard for the money, and I love its original condition, history and unique options. 

 

Offered in one lone model on the 138-inch wheelbase, the 5 passenger Super Eight 160 Sedan, Series 2004,

Model 1562 was a catalog item, but what sets yours apart is the auxiliary seat and division window. 

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Its fixed front seat with division window is configured as that of a Super Eight Custom 180 Formal Sedan, making it a six passenger Super Eight 160 Sedan.

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Here's the 1942 Packard Senior Cars brochure...

http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/packard/42pack/42pack.html

 

What an interesting, exceptional motorcar!

 

TG

 

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matt, 

i enjoy your ads and your knowledge of the past. but how do you live with a client that so-calls restores from the chassis up and in the picture ad there are new style hose clamps and other variations of not age correct parts and they want era correct prices?

please help me understand this insanity.

thanks

john g

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, gsjohnny said:

matt, 

i enjoy your ads and your knowledge of the past. but how do you live with a client that so-calls restores from the chassis up and in the picture ad there are new style hose clamps and other variations of not age correct parts and they want era correct prices?

please help me understand this insanity.

thanks

john g

 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. The car isn't restored and as I mentioned, it probably looks better in photos than it is. The paint is unquestionably original, as is the interior. It has been maintained but never disassembled or restored. I, too, object to modern hose clamps, but that's a pretty minor thing to change if that's what you need. However, this car's point judging days are over (if it ever had any). These two photos show a little bit more of the paint on the sidemount covers, which is where it has aged most, and you can see some minor checking on the tops of the fenders in the photos of the engine compartment, above.

 

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It has been my experience that unrestored cars typically run and drive better than restored cars, with the trade-off being cosmetic imperfections that wouldn't be tolerated on a restored car. I find values to be comparable between the two; a quality survivor can command restored car prices, likely for that reason. The buyers are different. Most guys want shiny and cosmetic perfection and don't really care how the car drives (or simply don't know any better). Guys like me, who love original cars, prefer to put the cars on the road and the feeling of a car that has never been disassembled is hard to quantify, but very few restoration shops can put a car back into condition to match the factory's work. Most can do shiny, but in terms of how the machine operates, that's a bit more esoteric and few restorers achieve it (often because the owner isn't willing to pay for it).

 

Anyway, I hope that answers your question. If not, and you're simply wondering why the car is priced the way it is, well, I guess it's not the right car for you. Someone else will see the value and continue to enjoy it as the previous two owners have over the past 68 years. Sometimes quality is measured in ways other than simply perfection.

 

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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How’d you get such a great shine from the original paint? Looks fantastic.

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My guess is the paint is lacquer. It can be polished to a shine until it is gone.

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3 hours ago, gsjohnny said:

matt, i enjoy your ads and your knowledge of the past. but .......................there are new style hose clamps .................

 

Well, new style hose clamps do a better job clamping hose than the old style does. That is why distance driven ancient cars often use the newer ones. My '20s Cadillacs are driven, but if they were trophy hunters, I would go old style.    -   Carl 

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I think the car is fabulous.  If I were in the market for a closed CCCA car this would be near the top of my short list. 

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Anyone know the production off hand.  Can’t be many made in a shortened 1942. 

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52 minutes ago, B Jake Moran said:

Anyone know the production off hand.  Can’t be many made in a shortened 1942. 


BJM, I believe total series 160 production was 2580, I found no breakout for any particular body style.

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Matt, you are killing me with all these fabulous original cars! It's a good thing it would never fit in my garage...

 

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9 minutes ago, TexRiv_63 said:

Matt, you are killing me with all these fabulous original cars! It's a good thing it would never fit in my garage...

 

Related to your statement, as a young lad I noticed my neighbor’s garage had a 4’ bump out in the front.  I asked my neighbor why it was built that way.  The answer was that his son was a commercial pilot with a decent income so he bought a new 1959  Cadillac and it was too long to park in the garage.  He and his dad modified the garage to allow the Cadillac to fit in it.  I think the same modification would be needed to hold this great looking Packard.  Never let garage space stop you👍

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If all someone can offer as a keyboard expert "new style hose clamps' as a reason to nitpick on a car such as this, I think the term they used "insanity" regarding the price is better suited when such individuals look in the mirror.

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1 hour ago, TerryB said:

Related to your statement, as a young lad I noticed my neighbor’s garage had a 4’ bump out in the front.  I asked my neighbor why it was built that way.  The answer was that his son was a commercial pilot with a decent income so he bought a new 1959  Cadillac and it was too long to park in the garage.  He and his dad modified the garage to allow the Cadillac to fit in it.  I think the same modification would be needed to hold this great looking Packard.  Never let garage space stop you👍


 

Common to add three foot extension to garages built pre 1935. My current home and the next door neighbor have this added to the garage in a historic Florida neighborhood. Doors are still tight for 50’s and 60’s cars, and assorted land yachts. Now you can even buy electric door openers for them.....not cheap, but they work well. Installed a pair last week.

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I can't help but think- "...leave the gun, take the cannoli" but this long body style is by far more attractive than that car. This is a fantastic Packard, thank you for sharing it with us.

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lets try this way. a lot of cars that are so called ''restored from the ground up'' and are priced high, but visually use modern day parts. say they use hose clamps or a edelbrock air cleaner. you wouldn't expect it on a 1930 Duesenberg, but say they use them. they want the big money, but the product is not what it's supposed to be.

 

i'm getting out of 'door cars' and am doing a front engine dragster and an altered. they need not be a Duesenberg.

maybe being a retired machinist, i should learn to relax a bit on the perfection side. i know it drives my eye doctor crazy when doing the eye exam. lol

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