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Cadillac V8 conversion in a Packard touring car


1937hd45
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24 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

Just read about a wealthy family here in town that once had a Cadillac V8 engine installed in their Packard touring car. No year is mentioned, but would this be an upgrade? 

NO, and the word blasphemy comes to mind.

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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OHV Cadillac was a popular swap circa 1950. Briggs Cunningham ran Cadillacs at Le Mans in 1950 (finished 10th) after the governing body wouldn't allow his first choice: Fordillac ( 50 Ford with Cadillac engine). I agree it would be blasphemy in a pre-war Packard. Some cars are OK to modify, some are NOT! 

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41 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Why is it always some "rich family" in some small town doing weird and/or stupid things to their cars?

More money than brains is not a new thing. 😉

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Packard and Cadillac were similar in size and power and so were the engines. There would be no point to such a swap. I like the Cadillac but frankly one of the advantages Packard had, was their excellent straight eight engine which was simpler smoother and in some respects better than the Cadilac.

No the story does not make any sense. I suppose anything is possible but I wouldn't put any stock in this story unless I saw the car with my own eyes.

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

Why is it always some "rich family" in some small town doing weird and/or stupid things to their cars?

I just wondered if the Cadillac V8 was more advanced than the straight eight Packard. There had to be a reason for the swap. The person involved was Gerardus P. Herrick the vertical take off plane he built in his back yard is in the Smithsonian, one propeller is in our Town Hall. Bob 

296194737_10228273834496806_6801138905791891361_n.jpg

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Why is it always some "rich family" in some small town doing weird and/or stupid things to their cars?

Matt, I will assume you do not qualify on any of your criteria mentioned above: 

you do not consider yourself rich. 
you are not stupid. 
and you’ve never lived in a small hick town. 
 

What else can you do in a small hick town when you are stupid have money and live where you are limited in what you can do. 
Simple, drive everyone else nuts with your stupid ideas! 
dave s 

ps- I lived in Lincoln NE when it had 2 movie theaters and one was closed. I’m not rich, No comment on the third criteria 

Edited by SC38dls (see edit history)
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Don't get your shorts i a not.   A guy in our town had a 52 Packard 4 door sedan with a Chevrolet 350 in it.  No foul, no loss.

At least it was still on the road and looked like a stock Packard, and he was enjoying it.

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Years ago One of our club members  in Panama City had a 30’s Packard sedan with a 350 and AC. It looked totally stock and he and his wife would drive it to Michigan and back. He was certainly wealthy, from a large city and didn’t appear stupid.  Also didn’t Bill Harrah drive a Jeep Wagon with a V 12 Jag in it?

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My original question got overlooked is a 1925 Cadillac V8 a better engine than a 1925 Packard straight 8? How about how about 1932 and 1942. I know they never put Packard engines in WWII Tanks, but there were surplus Cadillac V8's after the war. 

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Sometimes it's a simple matter of making do. A friend once had a '32 Packard 900 roadster. He bought it with a Chrysler hemi V8 installed. Seems some young fellows drove the Packard a bit too hard and blew the engine. Their dad bought a new early fifties Chrysler and not long after, rolled it into a ditch. The two cars sat in the yard side by side until a bell went off in one of the boy's head. A Packard hemi powered roadster was born. I believe in recent years the Packard has been restored with a correct 900 engine.

In the North Africa campaign in WW2, it was common practice in one repair depo to install Ford V8s in Chevrolet Canadian military pattern trucks. Seems the shop foreman was a Ford mechanic in civilian life. The ultimate insult was when one of the Cadillac staff cars came in with an engine issue. Out came the flathead Caddy and in went the flathead Ford !

Edited by J.H.Boland (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Paul Dobbin said:

Don't get your shorts i a not.   A guy in our town had a 52 Packard 4 door sedan with a Chevrolet 350 in it.  No foul, no loss.

At least it was still on the road and looked like a stock Packard, and he was enjoying it.

There was a guy in our AACA chapter that had a 350 chevy in a 53-54 Packard. The chapter would have an outing once a month and one month the owner (a chapter member) of the Packard brought his car and parked his car with all the rest of us. There was the usual B/S session with hoods up before going in for lunch with the general public walking around asking questions about the cars and the club. One observer guy, who asked questions about AACA and what it stood for just went off on the guy with the Packard and some of the club members standing by and started calling them and the club in general a bunch of hypocrites. Not much they could say to him with all the proof parked right next to him. BTW, there were a bunch of everyday people standing around to hear all of this.  

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5 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

My original question got overlooked is a 1925 Cadillac V8 a better engine than a 1925 Packard straight 8? How about how about 1932 and 1942. I know they never put Packard engines in WWII Tanks, but there were surplus Cadillac V8's after the war. 

Maurice Hendry, well known expert on prewar American luxury cars, said that for sheer grinding hard work the Cadillac V8 was tops. That may be true but the Packard straight eight had the advantage of simplicity ease of service and I believe, was even smoother and quieter.

In hot rod circles it is well known that it can be very difficult to put a V8 into a chassis designed for an inline six or eight. The compartment is not wide enough, the engine hits the steering box and possibly other components. A good example of this is the way Chrysler had to redesign the front of their Chrysler and DeSoto cars when they went to a V8. They carried over the same basic body but had to revise the front end of the chassis and body completely making it several inches wider. Compare the 1950 to 1951 models.

I'm not saying it wouldn't be possible to put a Cadillac engine in a Packard - anything is possible given enough time and money. I am saying it would be very difficult and expensive and make no sense to do this.

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The first mass produced straight eight was the 1923 Packard, and it had the advantage of a 90 degree crankshaft. Previous eight cylinder cars were all V8s. They had a 4 cylinder type crankshaft with throws at 180 degrees, and a 4 cylinder type secondary vibration to match.

V8 cars soon adopted the 90 degree crankshaft * but exactly when Cadillac did so, I do not know.

This is one reason straight eight engines excelled in smoothness. Once they figured out how to make them the whole industry went over to the straight eight for luxury models, except for a few hold outs who had been making V8s for years and refused to change.

 

*one exception was the 1930 Viking V8. It had the cheaper 180 degree crankshaft, and a complicated vibration damper built into the engine.

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5 hours ago, bryankazmer said:

No, they put Packard engines in Spitfires.

 

I would say in 1942, the Packard 356 is superior to the Caddy V8.

Packard may have built the spitfire engine but it was a RR design.

I'm not going to argue with you whether Packard engines were superior to Cadillac in 1942 but only because I don't know enough about 42 Packard engines to be critical. BUT, there may be other factors involved. Cadillac equipped most of there cars beginning in 41 with auto trans. Packard didn't offer auto until 49. So in some people's mind, certainly the little woman, a post 41 V8 with auto swap is superior to a pre 49 Packard and standard.

 

The engine bay & hood of most cars are sized to the engine. A Packard st 8 might not even fit in a 4 or 6 cyl. Packard without chopping off a few cylinders. The first V8 Cadillac, 1915 model fit in the same space as their previous 1914, 4 cyl car, with double the HP. Marketing ran with that, calling it a "compact 8" that used half the length of straight 8 design leaving more room for passengers in the same size car. The exhaust of all Cad V8's from 1915-48 exit inside the V. After the first few years, they added a cross over pipe to combine the exhaust to a single down pipe on the passenger side opposite the steering column. It is very likely that a flathead V8 Cad will fit in many spaces where a straight 8 is too long or something like a SBC with external exhaust manifolds is too wide and would interfere wit steering, chassis rails or inner fenders/hood sides. 

 

The OP doesn't give us a clue as to what year Packard or what year engine was swapped or what year it was swapped.  It was common in the 40's 50's and even 60's to swap worn out old engines with a low millage 1939 up Cad V8 from a wrecked car.

 

The strangest engine swap I know of was back in the 70's, a collector friend bought a 32 Auburn coupe with a 6 cylinder Jaguar, and it looked like the engine belonged there. The Auburn had its original rear end & suspension and was quick & agile. He was able to trace ownership back to the owner who swapped engines and was able to purchase the original engine. It needed a lot of repair. 

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Cadillac went to 90 degree crank in 1924. Same year they added front brakes. 

Putting a Ford V8 in a near 3 ton WWII Cadillac staff car would be an insult to the staff. The bigger Ford V8 at the time was about 55 HP short of Cadillac. Did the staff have to get out and push up hill? That would be an insult.

They used 2 Cadillac V8s with automatic trans, one to power each track in WWII Tanks because the engine and trans was a rugged & reliable combination. Steering was by throttle.  Can you imagine driving a tank with 2 Packard engines, 2 clutches, 2 shift levers and 2 throttles.

 

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9 hours ago, jdome said:

Packard may have built the spitfire engine but it was a RR design.

I'm not going to argue with you whether Packard engines were superior to Cadillac in 1942 but only because I don't know enough about 42 Packard engines to be critical. BUT, there may be other factors involved. Cadillac equipped most of there cars beginning in 41 with auto trans. Packard didn't offer auto until 49. So in some people's mind, certainly the little woman, a post 41 V8 with auto swap is superior to a pre 49 Packard and standard.

 

The engine bay & hood of most cars are sized to the engine. A Packard st 8 might not even fit in a 4 or 6 cyl. Packard without chopping off a few cylinders. The first V8 Cadillac, 1915 model fit in the same space as their previous 1914, 4 cyl car, with double the HP. Marketing ran with that, calling it a "compact 8" that used half the length of straight 8 design leaving more room for passengers in the same size car. The exhaust of all Cad V8's from 1915-48 exit inside the V. After the first few years, they added a cross over pipe to combine the exhaust to a single down pipe on the passenger side opposite the steering column. It is very likely that a flathead V8 Cad will fit in many spaces where a straight 8 is too long or something like a SBC with external exhaust manifolds is too wide and would interfere wit steering, chassis rails or inner fenders/hood sides. 

 

The OP doesn't give us a clue as to what year Packard or what year engine was swapped or what year it was swapped.  It was common in the 40's 50's and even 60's to swap worn out old engines with a low millage 1939 up Cad V8 from a wrecked car.

 

The strangest engine swap I know of was back in the 70's, a collector friend bought a 32 Auburn coupe with a 6 cylinder Jaguar, and it looked like the engine belonged there. The Auburn had its original rear end & suspension and was quick & agile. He was able to trace ownership back to the owner who swapped engines and was able to purchase the original engine. It needed a lot of repair. 

The "MERLIN" 266 engine for the Spitfire was made in the United States by the Packard Motor Car Company. The "Merlin design" was developed and improved many times between 1933 and 1950. It is likely that the Spitfires rival (ME109), which was produced until 1957 likely was using Packard built Merlin's because all the engines out of the UK were WW2 surplus. Many of you saw the 1969 movie Battle of Britain? Granted there were a lot of model airplanes used, however there were actually real footage of Spitfires and Messerschmitt 109's and the quick trained eye would tell you the Messerschmitt's did not have an inverted Mercedes/Daimler V-12, but rather an upright Merlin meaning they were built under license after WW2 for the Spanish air force.    

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10 hours ago, jdome said:

After the first few years, they added a cross over pipe to combine the exhaust to a single down pipe on the passenger side opposite the steering column.

Even up to the v63 in the mid twenties (so 10 years after introduction) they still had dual exhausts down either side - there was preheat in the carb that took from the exhaust

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Guys, Guys, Guys, I am recalling a Shakespear bit "Much ado about nothing" Here we are today attempting to apply logic to a likely illogical situation once again! The original op did not mention when or why that engine swap was done. For all we know the Packard threw a rod and the Chrysler engine was available for free from a friend, neighbor, or relative from a wrecked car and just needed to get his Packard running again as cheaply as possible. Likely there was NO decision relative to Horsepower to weight ratio or any of the attributes currently being ascribed. Just sayin'

 

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3 minutes ago, RAH said:

Guys, Guys, Guys, I am recalling a Shakespear bit "Much ado about nothing" Here we are today attempting to apply logic to a likely illogical situation once again! The original op did not mention when or why that engine swap was done. For all we know the Packard threw a rod and the Chrysler engine was available for free from a friend, neighbor, or relative from a wrecked car and just needed to get his Packard running again as cheaply as possible. Likely there was NO decision relative to Horsepower to weight ratio or any of the attributes currently being ascribed. Just sayin'

 

 

 Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

 

  Ben

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OOps, Sorry to all. I mis spoke using Chrysler  instead of Cadillac as the original OP quoted. The rest of my rant remains intact in that many on here have a nasty habit of rambling OFF subject. And as I mentioned the original OP did NOT state when or why that engine swap occurred. Therefore speculation regarding if it was a good idea is pure speculation and basically irrelevant and unfounded on the premise that it may have been intentionally done for performance issues. Thank You.

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I don't think anyone should get upset over this discussion. Although more current engine swaps are better discussed on the jalopy channels. I thought it was a good exercise in history relevance. We have had a number of V12 Continentals with flathead Cadillac conversions show up for sale as well as Auburnseeker's Cord with a complete Cad/LaS drivetrain conversion, most likely done to replace the problematic FWD. His car is not the only Cord out there that was upgraded to Cad back in the 40's or 50's. You can go back and search a discussion a couple years ago about a late 30's Packard that came up for sale that was upgraded with steam power back in the 40's to get around the gas shortage. Some Packards most likely were converted to Cadillac back in the day, not likely when new but after their engines wore out, and not necessarily because the owners were rich but because they were frugal, which is how some rich people remained rich during the depression & war years. 

 

The Cadillac V8 had a good reputation in its day. 80 years later and there are some issues with pot metal components, 6v starters, and modern fuel: problems that other pre-war engines may have. Most engine swaps into 30's & 40's big Classics involve the 40's flathead & 50's OHV, both very solid, reliable, high mileage motors.  Cadillac was highly regarded, enough so that many appliance salesmen would invoke the "Cadillac" name: "It's the Cadillac of sweepers". Never heard anyone say "It's the Packard of..." or Lincoln of, or Pierce of... "It's a Duesy" , maybe, but not necessarily as a compliment in some context.

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10 hours ago, RAH said:

OOps, Sorry to all. I mis spoke using Chrysler  instead of Cadillac as the original OP quoted. The rest of my rant remains intact in that many on here have a nasty habit of rambling OFF subject. And as I mentioned the original OP did NOT state when or why that engine swap occurred. Therefore speculation regarding if it was a good idea is pure speculation and basically irrelevant and unfounded on the premise that it may have been intentionally done for performance issues. Thank You.

If we were not rambling off the subject, the subject would be quite short.

 

A family here in town that once had a Cadillac V8 engine installed in their Packard touring car. No year is mentioned, but would this be an upgrade? 

 

Would it be an upgrade?? NO, from my point of view. To others Yes.

 

Pretty short thread.

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2 hours ago, Pfeil said:

If we were not rambling off the subject, the subject would be quite short.

 

A family here in town that once had a Cadillac V8 engine installed in their Packard touring car. No year is mentioned, but would this be an upgrade? 

 

Would it be an upgrade?? NO, from my point of view. To others Yes.

 

Pretty short thread.

I don't disagree with you. I'm not condoning it and it is not something I would do myself. I'm just providing some historical prospective. Perhaps updated replacement would be a better term to use. I would't call it "hot rodding" because the replacement engine was typically left in its stock form.  I've been in the hobby since a kid, 50 years ago. I've seen a number of Classics updated in the 50's or earlier, when most classics were cheep used cars, obsolete parts and not worth rebuilding.  And there was no shame to using a late model Cadillac engine. I've even seen 20's Cadillacs with 40's engines. In the 1950's the E. W. Bliss Co. manufactured new 1901'ish "surrey" cars with new Cushman scoter engines with the clutch & trans built on to the motor. When they stopped production about 1960, they sold off surplus engines, some of them ended on real 1 & 2 cylinder cars, atleast one  1906 Cadillac that I know of. Can you imagine the humanity???

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Pfeil,

I certainly do NOT intend to appear argumentative but you assume these 25 or so responses to a loaded question seem to assume that engine swap was done for some Performance issue (was it a good idea?) while totally oblivious to the fact that it may have been done for expedience to get that Packard, possibly with a blown engine, up and running with an available spare engine. Virtually all of those responses have absolutely nothing to do with Army Tanks OR Fighter Planes to the original question! if you get my drift. Is it just ME or do we need to paw through dozens of unrelated responses before we can come up with our own answer? What is WRONG with 'Keep it short'?  And for what it's worth, I like both Packards AND Cadillacs as well as Good Ole' Dodge Brothers!

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O K guys just to let y'all know you are not the only ones to get OFF subject. I am old enough to recall the invention of DIRT. And the dust devils rotated at 33 1/3, 45, or 78 RPM. I doubt if either of you can recall the ELP that rotated at 16 2/3 RPM for 'extended play'. And I am not totally unfamiliar with Cadillacs. Some years ago I helped a friend drag a '26 home in pieces. We finally, after nearly giving up, found the Battery cover plate for the driver side running board splash apron where they hid the battery. It was tucked back in the eves behind a large box. I swear that frame was nearly a foot tall and weighed a ton! Since I am into electrical starters, generators I was amazed at that DELCO unit where the armature was double ended with brushes on both ends.  It had heavy contacts on the rear for start and more contacts on the forward end for generate with a 'walking beam' connecting one set or the other. For starting, when turn the ignition switch turned ON it sent power to the generate end to cause it to 'Motor Over'. Since there was NO Bendix that facilitated the physical connection to the flywheel ring gear when operating the starter pedal. Now as one of our members liked to say "OK nothing New here everyone back to sleep" or something like that. Enjoy! 

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 And the question comes up, What do you do with a Rolls-Royce without an engine?

 Install a orange engine , keep the hood closed and enjoy it.

 I have seen it and the guy is happy to be able to drive it.

 

Ps, He did have a bottle of Gray Poupon with him.

 

 ( I think that I seen the engine in a 32 Ford roadster at Rhinebeck NY. a few years ago.) 

🙈🙈🙈

 

 

 

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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OOPS It looks like I misspoke once again. I believe that Cadillac battery box was behind the passenger side running board splash apron NOT the driver side. Remember He who makes NO mistakes is doing NOTHING! 

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