1 of 159 Made: 1958 Packard Wagon

With only 159 of these 1958 Packard Wagons produced in the company’s last year, they’re the definition of rare. They’re also slightly awkward and/or ungainly, scale-wise, which makes me like them even more. This example is listed on eBay in La Porte, Indiana with an unmet opening bid of $5,000 and there is a $9,500 buy it now price.

Don’t laugh at that $9,500 buy it now price, NADA has a $19,500 average value listed and a $35,800 high retail value listed for a ’58 Packard wagon. Sure, it would take much more than $10,000 to even start a restoration of this car, but if a person were doing a lot of the work him/herself, I bet it could be done for $10,000. Well, maybe $15,000 with the interior. Hey, Wheeler Dealers doesn’t count the labor/labour and most of us don’t count our hours when we work on our vehicles. The added-on headlight housings are an unusual “design” feature and you can see the oddly-scaled features on the 3/4 photo above, and even more so on the rear 3/4 photo below.

Yeah, that’s unusual. It looks like a George Barris custom, it’s more than slightly cartoonish. But, that’s what endears it to me. That and the fact that it’s so rare and it’s the last year for Packard, even if this car is more Studebaker than it is Packard. By this time the company was named Studebaker-Packard and the company built just over 2,500 cars in its final year.

I’m surprised to not see power windows but a lot of luxury vehicles didn’t have them back then, but on a Packard? Most of these that I have seen have had that feature. You can see the dealer-installed AC system under the wavy melted-looking dash. Ok, I may have to up my restoration estimate a bit after looking at the interior. The front seat looks rough and in reality every soft surface inside this car will most likely have to be redone. The cargo area may have some usable materials but this car deserves a full restoration given its rarity.

The engine would be Studebaker’s 289 cubic-inch V8 with 225 hp and for a relatively lightweight car, at least for the era, at 3,800 pounds, that’s a decent amount of power. The seller isn’t giving much info, here’s their total listing for this car: “Runs , lot drive  V8 Auto Trans powering steering, good title  has AC but blows warm, bad exhaust miles exempt”. Have any of you seen a ’58 Packard Wagon in person? I think this car deserves a full restoration but that will not be inexpensive. Thoughts?

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Comments

  1. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice one, Scotty. I love these final Studebaker-based Packards including the wagons. So you think it will take more than Armor All to fix that dash? lol At least it has a new battery! If the wagon wasn’t so rare I could see it done up with newer components as an alternative SUV. At 3800 lb you could probably drop in a slightly tweaked 2WD Trailblazer SS drivetrain (500-ish HP) and get better MPG than a Tahoe. I’ll take it!

    9
  2. Jhean luc

    It almost looks like the same car from ghostbusters but it does not have the hearse kind of look to it but the original had fins and the same engine as it though .

    1
    • grant

      No it didnt. The “Ghostbusters” car was a ’59 Cadillac ambulance by Miller-Meteor.

      5
      • M.C.S.

        The original “Ghostbusters” Cadillac was actually a 1959 hearse, not an ambulance. The Miller – Meteor hearses had four doors, while the ambulances had only two.

    • Daved

      Right, Grant! And 1959 Cadillacs had 390ci engines….

      1
  3. flmikey

    …maybe if they put a belt on the a/c compressor, it will shoot cubes….this car is so funky, it’s cool…what were we smoking in the 50’s….

    6
  4. BrianR

    Wow that thing is SO ugly… I love it. I can see why the production was so low!
    Love the unusual cars. If I didn’t already have too many projects……

    7
  5. My 2 cents

    Totally the best car in a long time. The regular/common muscle cars are OK but these kind of cars make me check my bank balance. Nice find. If you want a driver, this doesn’t seem a site you want to waste time on. Lots of dealers.

    6
  6. Dave Mc

    Ugly? Check
    Unusual? Check
    Rare? Check
    I like it.

    19
  7. My 2 cents

    Might add, recently retired, company near me is doing incredible one off 3-D manufacturing of hard/soft parts. Not crazy expensive if you have template that they can scan. Used them for door panels and dash pad. Some size limits but should get cheaper/better in time.

    17
  8. Ian McLennan

    The bolt-on headlights and chrome dagmars combined with the grill shape give this gem a distinctive catfish-face look. If National Lampoon had filmed Vacation in 1958 instead of 1983, this is the car they would have used for the Truckster. So ugly it’s lovable.

    12
    • Butch

      Thought the same thing when I saw the double rear fins. Add another set of headlights under those and you have a 1958 Griswold family wagon! lol

      1
      • Jeff DeWitt

        Which would be fun to build this into if it wasn’t so rare.

  9. Bob c.

    Ah yes, the famous (or infamous) Packardbaker. Definitely worth saving. It was the end of an era for poor Packard.

    6
    • Loco Mikado

      Some of the ’58 Packards and some of most cars sold that were designed for quad headlights in the US had both quad and dual headlights depending on state. In ’58 some of the states still banned quad headlights so dual headlights were used in quad headlight housings. Of course if your car had dual headlights it made no difference. By ’58 all this nonsense had stopped, by then all states allowed quad headlights.

  10. Rube Goldberg Member

    It’s not so much the rarity, as the historical value, this was the end of one of the greatest manufacturers. Not just cars, but their contributions to WW2, well, couldn’t have done it with out them. I’m convinced, my grandfather, who was too old to serve in the war, bought a post-war Packard, mostly because to be patriotic. This a lot of work, and good luck with any body parts, although some Studebaker parts, which aren’t that much more plentiful, could be used. For me, it’s a salute to, at one time, the greatest US car ever made. I had one, I know, like the saying went, “You could ask me”.

    9
  11. Mark S.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. She’s not very easy on the eyes. Being the last year of the company, looks like she was put together with leftover parts.
    Those fins are pretty awesome. I don’t hate it.

    3
    • Donald B brown

      Such a sad sad end for such a great mark.

      1
  12. XMA0891

    If the writers and artists had been aware of this vehicle; this would’ve been the car that Homer Simpson designed for his 1/2 brother Herb’s car company and bankrupted it. I love this car!
    I hope someone restores it to its former “glory” – And makes the horn play “la cucaracha” – D’oh!

    9
  13. Poncho

    Looking at the pics of a completed car, looks like the lower valence panel, under the front bumper and hides bottom of grill, wrapping around to the lower fenders, is missing. Good luck sourcing a replacement unless you know where a parts car/donor might be. Perhaps another model would work, but i don’t know.
    You would probably be the only one at the car show with one of these though.

    1
    • Cliff

      The missing panel is inside the car, you can see it in the ebay pictures.

      1
  14. OIL SLICK

    Every part of that thing is so out of proportion it’s Looney Tunes! I think I saw one cruising around in a scene from the movie “IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD”
    The crazy way it has aged makes it look even more cartoonish.

    1
  15. Poncho

    Ref. pic for panel mentioned.

    7
    • Steve Dichter

      The bronze/white Packard shown is a 1957 model. Much cleaner lines.

      5
  16. Peter S.R.

    carzilla

    • Mark S.

      Frankencar.

      1
      • Peter S.R.

        Put it back in the barn and lock the door…

        5
  17. Dan

    Don’t any of you dare call that a Packard!

    3
  18. Andy

    As we know now, the Studebaker-Packard merger was more like Packard buying Studebaker. To me, the ’58s almost had to be a deliberate stomping on Packard’s grave by Studebaker, saying, “We won! We devoured you from within!” The ’57 Packards showed almost no effort, they were so obviously Studes, but the ’58s seemed to say, not only will almost nobody buy these cars, but with any luck this one year will wipe out all good memories of the brand. Luckily there were far too many great Packards built and surviving for that to happen, but God, these ’58s were hideous.

    7
    • Peter S.R.

      Raymond Loewy must’ve wanted to poke his eyes out and scream into his pillow…

      • Arcade

        And why would Loewy care that much? He had virtually nothing to do with the car. This is basically a 1954 Conestoga wagon with new clothes on. It DOES have minor lineage to the ’53 sedan lineup (and therefor, the ’54 wagon) that Loewy put some of his best guys on, but Raymond himself had little to do with this Packard. I believe Duncan McCrae did the 58s up – Packard and Studebaker.

      • Peter S.R.

        The point; Lowey executed some of the most progressive and timeless automotive designs ever during his Studebaker tenure. (Packard/Studebaker merger is the link to the Lowey reference)
        The obvious design disfunction of this vehicle speaks for itself…

        1
      • Arcade

        Some of the most renowned art critics have never themselves put paint (or any other medium) to canvas.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      I think it was much more, “we don’t have any money, and if we don’t put out a 58 Packard we are going to get sued by the dealers”. Studebaker-Packard Corporation was in bad shape in 58, and it was only the introduction of the Lark a year later that kept it going for a while longer.

      They made do with what they had.

      2
  19. My 2 cents

    I love that Andy cares about this, I bet he has at least pics of Studebakers, might have 2 studies in a barn we might find.

  20. Nrg8

    Geez, the question is what color you resurrect it in. I think a really bright lime green w/ pearl would be my choice. If you’re gonna stand out at a local car show, you may as well blind and offend too. Bright work still has some shine as do the bumpers. Only concern really is if the pillar between the doors is connected to the floor at this point. Do a crown vic front and rear suspension swap with bags. The dreaded LS swap with a nice OD trans. And cruise comfortably in really unsuspecting car. Or whatever

    3
    • Mitch Dinz

      Yeah. That’s EXACTLY what one should do, it being 1 of 3 or 4 left in existence. Bagged & slammed. Exactly.

      8
    • Arcade

      OR – you could just leave it stock and cruise just as comfortably – and I speak from experience. I owned Packard wagon #21 for about 4 years. I drove all over Georgia and never had a breakdown or a sore ass or lacked power to pass some obstinate granny. FACTORY STOCK Stude V8 cars DOMINATE the Pure Stock Muscle Car drags every year.

      1
  21. Oingo

    Is the rear bumper treatment an option or some sort or was there a production change and why is the model not listed? Is it a clipper? Some have the bumper extension like the one for sale and some don’t like the blue one I pictured.

    3
    • dwise

      The blue one actually is identical.
      Just different angle of the pics if you look close on the right side you can see it better.

      1
  22. edh

    I like it, but it looks like the cars drawn in the Shoe comic strip.

    1
  23. Randy

    It looks like a love child between a ’59 Cadillac and a Checker Cab.

    2
  24. Steve in Charlotte

    So sad however even the ugliest girls in class need love too.

  25. Beatnik Bedouin

    Poor Packard; a sad end to a once magnificent American marque. The company never got over its cheapening of the brand with the el cheapo models it built during the depression, and by the 1950s, had handed the Fine Car crown to Cadillac. After spending what meagre funds it had to develop a V8, Packard then made the mistake of merging with Studebaker, who was in even worse financial straits.

    These Packardbakers were unloved, when new (as were AMC’s ‘Hashes’), and buyers were reluctant to buy an orphan, hence the low production numbers.

    This particular example is going to need a major restoration, but it would be nice to see someone restore it, just for its rarity value – and remember, rareness does not equate to being worth a lot of money (see paragraph above).

  26. mikeH

    Before you’re too hard on the poor Packardbaker, remember this was 1958 and there were very few good looking US cars made in 1958. Think of the Buick, the Olds, the Lincoln—this Packardbaker is no worse.

    4
    • Doug

      Bingo

    • Arcade

      A very little-known fact regarding these ’58 Packards is that they had hoods, cheeks and other parts made of fiberglass. This makes them one of the earliest to integrate glass into a production vehicle – the Corvette notwithstanding, of course. They also used fiberglass to make the fins on ’56 Golden Hawks and ’56 wagons. Then in ’57, they applied a fiberglass front panel with the debut of the Transtar truck line.
      The ’58 Packard hoods had a mesh made into them with that mesh connected to the metal firewall by a braided strap for suppression of spark noise in the radios.

      1
      • Jeff DeWitt

        Hawks have fiberglass dashboards too.

      • Arcade

        The ’55 Speedsters had a vacu-formed plastic dashboard – they had a fancy name for the stuff, but it’s really just a form of plastic. And they’ve held up REALLY well since ’55!

  27. scottymac

    This has to be the king of overhangs, both front and rear! I remember finding a Packard Hawk in a California junkyard, still had the nose cone. Just wouldn’t fit on the airplane.

    2
  28. Jack Quantrill

    Lord, this is one hideous car! Almost as bad as the bathtub Nashes.

    1
  29. Ricardo

    Restored and then covered in a “Geek Squad” livery perhaps?

    1
  30. Classic Steel

    Wagon master please help eliminate all wagons with gathering these and crushing them up😜

    Okay kind of kidding here and hope this gets restored!

    1
  31. Arcade

    Model 58L-P8 / Body #47 I used to own body #21 in the late 70s. Paid $600 for it, redid brakes and exhaust and used it as a daily driver.

    3
  32. Levi Andrus

    Scotty.do you have a direct email I could send you an awesome find to .as this is not a link I can send to tips .thanks levi

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Levi,

      mail@barnfinds.com is the way to send in or submit finds for possible publication.. Hope you can add some really interesting cars!

      • Rube Goldberg Member

        I never had any of my submissions published, so I gave up.

        1
  33. packrat

    Way less than four per state were made…wow.

    2
  34. Wayne

    I can’t say anything nice.

    1
  35. Jud

    The worse part of this rebuild, if it follows standard Stude fails, is the floor pans. But even at that, parts are available. NOS, reman, and new production by indies. Had a 56 wagon, a 58 Scotsman, and a 61 Hawk. Easier to find parts for them than for some later model Fords and Lincolns. Stude Drivers Club is the first place to look. Turning Wheels Mag. Put this wagon back together stock and enjoy the ride.

    1
  36. LAWRENCE

    So rare as it is the Barn Finds have listed two more….one was a rarer supercharged wagon….out of Louisiana I’m sure.

  37. Loco Mikado

    Here is a sedan in much better shape for $8,000. and it has been FS a long time. The car featured is a $20,000.-30,000. money pit.

    https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/packard/unspecified/2079237.html

    1
  38. Ron

    Jud is right have been an SDC member for over 30 years and it is one of the strongest clubs in every respect in the hobby. Classic Enterprizes does terrific job on sheet metal strong mechanical support even in NOS and maybe best technical support and factory records in the old car world. Were I not 72 and overloaded with projects I can’t do would be all over it and yes it is sad it was not better appointed and there are better ones out there , more so in the 57’s and more of them were supercharged. And no they were not up to the Packard standard of past but Studes were no slouches in their rite.Their President’s and Land Cruiser and Lark Cruisers in the end were in with the best and above some of the big 3 in the end even.I think it had it all in its own rite, class, style and originality. Wish I could give it a home. And as for color Studebaker-Packard had some of the brightest colors and the most beautiful interiors in the industry in the final years even and one of the best reproduction interior vendors in the industry in Knoxville for Studebaker Packard vehicles And to the contributer that mentioned a new company in his area manufacturing software products would love to have a link, Hope it gets a good home and when it was just announced that Ford cannot build an acceptable 30k mode Suv that passes safety standards I would not feel bad about having 20k in a Packard-Baker that I could survive in and pretty much find a buyer most any year in the futre for same amount

    2
  39. glenn

    calling that a Packard is heresy to the name sad ending for a great company

    1
  40. Alan (Michigan)

    So interesting to think of cars in that era falling victim to the concept: “If a little is good, then a lot must be better, and throwing all caution to the wind will be best!”

    Designers of this car went to the extreme with style, and wound up with what others have described already as cartoonish. I am not a fan at all, but I can understand why someone would want to bring this one back. If I had the time, money, space, and skills to do the kind of restoration this car requires, I’d pick another vehicle. But I do hope someone rescues it. The car is iconic, even if I wouldn’t want it in my personal garage.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      Remember, it was 1958, ALL the automakers were going nuts with overstyling.

  41. leiniedude Member

    From the front view it reminds me a lot of the T-birds of that era.

  42. Jay E.

    If an Edsel Station wagon has questionable styling, this car has the answer of just how much worse one could look. I can’t imagine an executive seeing this end product and expecting it to sell. It didn’t. Rarity doesn’t equal value, neither does ugly. Even Foose couldn’t modify the ugly out of this.

  43. Wayne

    What Jay E. said! It is probably a great car underneath. (The mechanical bits were proven to be good stuff.) And I love different, non-conformist/leading edge for the time kind of things. But even a 2CV/Trabant does not look like a 2nd grader designed a car. I was not going to say anything.
    But it just rubs my eyes the wrong way in so many directions with sandpaper!

  44. Arcade

    All these Saturday mourning car stylists. If it’s not a Ferrari grocery getter, it sucks.
    Hey! There’s a need for an innovative soap bar with wheels on it. Get carvin’!

  45. ctmphrs

    This is undoubtably one of the ugliest cars I have ever seen. With that said, It is also one of the coolest cars I have ever seen

    2
  46. leiniedude Member

    Ended: Apr 12, 2018 , 1:37PM
    Current bid:US $5,200.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 3 bids ]
    Price:US $9,500.00

    1
  47. Owen

    I love it! Yeah, the proportions are odd, it needs a ton of work and it’s clearly a Studebaker in disguise- but that’s no bad thing, those Studes were damn good cars and no slouch either with the immensely strong V8. I believe This one has been bought by a Studebaker enthusiast so it’s in good hands. Good luck to them.

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