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1928 Packard 645 Barn Find!

1928 Packard 645 Tow Truck

While there are not a whole lot of details about this 1928 Packard 645 tow truck, it really is an awesome piece of machinery. It can be yours for $17,000. No VIN or title is listed. This wrecker is located in Cherry Valley, Massachusetts and you can find it here on craigslist. Thank you, Wayne Paul L., for the tip.

1928 Packard 645 Tow Truck

The truck was once supposedly a 645 Limousine from Park Avenue and bodied by Rollston or Holbrook according to the listing. It now has a Manley wrecker boom. It appears to have worked in the Long Island area, which can be deduced from the graphics on the side of the truck. A very quick Google search seems to show that the shop is no longer in existence. Can you imagine getting a tow from this Packard?

1928 Packard 645 Tow Truck

There are no photos or information about any of the mechanical systems. There are also no photos or information about anything in the interior. The seller seems to indicate that a true business practice is to view the truck in person and only call. They seem to be practicing what they say by only providing three photos. While the price might be high, there is something about a vintage tow truck that is incredibly appealing. And, if the original engine is present, there’s a fair amount of value just in it. So would you leave it as a tow truck or return it back to a limo?


  1. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    This definitely has the “Wow” factor going for it.

    Neat period piece!

    Like 9
  2. That Guy

    This was the fate of a lot of big, powerful prestige cars at the time. I can’t imagine many such conversions still survive. If this is restored, I think it should be kept in this configuration and brought back to the condition it would likely have been in when it was truck-ized.

    Like 12
    • Robert L Roberge

      Someone in the area of Mesquite, NV displays a Pierce Arrow wrecker at the annual show.

      Like 2
      • Brent Schneider

        Can I have the chick on the drivers side door with purchase? That is for sure deal killer if not.

        Like 2
  3. DRV

    Imagine a 1925 Isotta Fraschini tow truck. That’s how my uncle found his then built a body on it. This tow truck thing happened to many strong vehicles I have a feeling.

    Like 1
    • Brent Schneider

      DRV, not to burst your bubble, all friendly here, but a Packard was $1,500 for a chassis and an Isotta was $10,000 in 1925. Not any tow Isotta’s around. Not saying this is not totally cool, but not an Isotta.

      Like 1
    • Roger

      Dad used to tell me about a Pierce-Arrow that had been converted into a wrecker by a local garage,he did mention that the original rear axle had been swapped for one from a truck though,it had a Weaver hand crank boom on it.

      Like 0
  4. Rovinman

    The fact is that the ”Wrecker”, any wrecker, would not really have bothered what the car was, …. only that it had a ”Strong Chassis” and Engine !
    It was probably rusting, when he was using it, … left out in his yard, in all weathers.
    It is however all part of its ”history”, all part of it’s ”provenance”.
    Lots of ”Pebble Beach” cars must have been re-bodied several times, until finally reaching the beach.
    My favorite is the 1925 RR Phantom I rebodied by Jonckheere in 1935)
    With the right amount of research, and asking the ”Packard people in the know”, you can make this into another polished pebble on the beach !
    (Don’t forget to tell them about its history though !)

    Like 0
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      As nifty as this is, I’m with Rovinman and others in thinking it should be properly re-bodied. I’d love to own a Packard of this vintage, Value aside I’d want to show and enjoy it as more than a novelty. Either way, though, this is a great find. Thanks, Brentton!

      Like 1
  5. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    One of Jay Leno’s cars was found with a wrecker boom on the back, and of course in a derelict condition. But he had the car returned to “as made” condition, and it is an extraordinary piece. I keep thinking that it was a Duesenberg, but maybe something else?

    Like 2
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    Now that’s a neat truck! Leave it like it is and have some fun with it.

    Like 3
  7. Rube Goldberg Member

    I agree, leave it as is, only restore it as a tribute to the early towing industry. Funny to think, around this time, trucks were still these slow, chain driven monsters, and cars like this offered a simple alternative to that. They were more than heavy duty enough, and had motors the likes of, trucks wouldn’t see for years. At one time these were very popular, on all makes of what we call today as full classics. They were just derelict beaters, that were given a new purpose. And btw, these hoists were hand cranked, so unless you’re Charles Atlas, it’s towing days are over. Restored, it would be Chattanooga worthy. ( home of the Int’l Towing Museum)

    Like 4
  8. Dovi65

    WOW!! WOW! and WOW!!! As a Long Island native, I’d love to learn the history of this car..err.. truck. Converting a Packard Limousine into a tow truck. As much as I prefer keeping cars in their original factory form, I don’t hate that an elegant Packard was transformed into a commercial duty truck. I hope someone rescues this gem, reviving it as a show piece. I’d keep the business name on the sides too

    Like 3
  9. Jim in FL

    Third option, probably less popular. Take the tow boom off but leave the pickup bed on. Similar to a Miss Agnes Rolls. Would be a cool alternative to a model t pickup.

    Like 6
    • On and On On and On Member

      I like that idea. Boom is worthless other than to look at. Good one Jim in FL.

      Like 5
    • Artichoke330

      Thanks for the Travis McGee reference. Those books got me hooked on mysteries for the last 40 years!

      Like 1
    • Kurt Member

      And have a trailer in tow of the same vintage, itself also fully restored. Very nice combo for club outings!

      Like 1
  10. B.G. in Alaska

    There are many beautiful period luxury vehicles out there, whether in private collections or museums.
    Each and every one had the opportunity to break down at one time or another and being a mechanical creation, it would have. What better homage to the history of early motoring is there than to have an early wrecker?. Not as glamorous as a limo, but most of us don’t ride around in a limo.
    Give this beautiful, practical, vehicle it’s chance to ‘shine’ once again.

    If you have ever broken down in any vehicle, there is no more beautiful sight than someone and something arriving to save you from yourself and the elements. After all, who breaks down on a beautiful day alongside a picnic area with the materials on hand to enjoy such picnic?

    Like 3
  11. Eric H

    I thought this looked familiar. It was on Barnfinds on January 10, 2019 at $19,512.

    Like 5
    • Dickie F.

      Yeah I remember commenting at that time that the first photograph was going on my garage wall, as a period piece…

      Like 2
  12. Levi

    Old post

    Like 2
  13. AMCFAN

    In the 40’s-60’s 1929’s 30’s luxury cars had little value. No different then now. Take a 1990’s Cadillac limo in running condition. $1000. and less. FWD if still running much less.

    There was an episode of Leave it to Beaver dealing with a poor kid the Beave met and brought home. The kids father in the show drove up in a “truck” just like this. These were overbuilt when new and sadly made better tow/junk rigs then it’s intended purpose. Just think of the proud new owner of this poor Packard saw it reduced to a scrap hauler.

    Despite it’s condition the beauty of the front sheet metal can be seen. On the fence. Dunno if I would leave it as a sad looking hulk or put it back as the custom limo it was built as. One of the more interesting Barn finds that has actually in a barn in a long time. Not really into 1920’s iron but the Packard sure demands respect. Great find

    Like 2
  14. Del

    I think he meant 1700.00 😁

    Like 1
  15. Dickie F.

    Yeah I remember commenting at that time that this car was first posted in Jan, that the first photograph was going on my garage wall, as a period piece…

    Like 1
  16. pwtiger

    Talk about Patina! This old girl needs to be put back into working condition then drive it around with a rice burner on the hook…

    Like 3
  17. Ronald G Bajorek jr

    get ride of that boom, one righteous pickup for hauling around your Flatties and Knuckles

    Like 0
  18. dr fine

    I think this was the truck used by early car collector Bob Bohaty of Centerport, long island, NY, and was in the collection of the late Great Don Carlson of Ct.

    Like 2
    • P.T. Cheshire

      It was Mr Bohaty’s who was my grandpa and was build by him in 1933. I rented his old shop / museum in Centerport from his daughter in the 1980’s / 1990’s and have period photos of it. I can’t post them here but they were posted the last time it was on here. As for resto, it’s been a wrecker longer that it was a passenger car IMO leave it as is.

      Like 6
      • Dickie F.

        Wow…such a small world P.T.
        Beautiful machine, it seems wrong to call it a wrecker.
        My compliments to your Grandpa for this creation.

        Like 3
      • dr fine

        That means it was five years old when converted; ancient at the time. In 1963, my dad bought a 1959 Plymouth for $300. It was in perfect shape, but was a stick shift, four door stripper. It still had new car smell, but those uncomfortable bench seats were the reason he didn’t keep it long.

        Like 2
  19. P.T.Cheshire

    Yes towards the end of the depression. Bob Bohaty also had a large repair shop and storage facility in mid town Manhattan from 1921 until 1934 along with his shop in Centerport he also had an auto museum much of which was loaned to Austin Clarke’s museum in the Hamptons. Many a customer on L.I. were the Vanderbilts, Morgans and Pratts so the Packard also fit the clientele in the area..

    Like 4
  20. Del

    No Wow factor at all.

    Maybe parts ?

    Cannot even see a future for it as a rod.

    Dusty museum piece ? Probably no interest there either.

    Like 0
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      Where’s that down-turned thumb button?

      Like 2

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