1941 Packard 90: Open Top Tour Bus

1941 Packard 90 Tour Bus

We’ve seen some very interesting stretched vehicles, but this 1941 Packard 90 that was stretched to over 22 feet long has to be the most interesting yet! To put all that added space to good use a few more doors were added to each side and enough seats bolted in to make room for 12! The engine is a 356 cid Flathead 8 with a three speed manual, so performance won’t be blistering, but it should have enough power to move all this mass. Since most drives will be leisurely, pull back the canvas cover and the top is open the entire length of the car to let some fresh air in. The paint is original and the seller claims there are only 14,237 miles on the dial. It’s listed on Auctions America and featured here on Hemmings. It’s going to be in the Auctions America event being held September 2nd through the 6th and expected to sell for between $25k and $30. That will just be the first small outlay if the new owner is going to restore it. It would be interesting to know what someone finally does with this old Packard. And this is a first, we had several readers send this in all within just a few minutes of each other, so special thanks to Charles H, Steve Y, and Robert R for the tip!

left front


left rear


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  1. Brad

    How fun is that. The little kidney-shaped window at the back has a slight concave curve for even more whimsy. This would be amazing used at an historic resort, shuttling guests into town or down to the lake for rides in old wooden boats – perhaps an elegant logo emblazoned on the driver and front passenger doors in gold leaf.

    Like 2
  2. RayT Member

    That is so cool! Yes, it would be less than useless for most people and cost too much to restore — I can see it in, say, cream over dark red — but it would be all kinds of fun to take out for the occasional party, or simply to amaze your friends.

    And, as far as performance potential, I’m sure it could attain a “dignified” speed when all spiffed up. You probably wouldn’t want to take it faster than that, anyway.

    You certainly wouldn’t meet yourself coming the other way down the road!

  3. mtshootist1

    the same basic design was used by White Motor Company for tourist buses in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. The grill on these buses was pure Packard design, the main difference that I can tell, is the White buses only had doors on the right side of the bus, otherwise, pretty much identical.

    • Dave Wright

      It his is nothing like a White, The Whites were built on truck chassis and this fine old girl is built on a limo car chassis. It would be fascinating to learn the history of her. There are pretty good records on Packards. It may not be a factory job though. Many commercial cars like this were done by custom builders after they left the factory. In any event, she is grand. I could see her being used as a car for a fancy New England resort, maby ferrying people from the train depot.

      Like 2
      • Dave Wright

        Think Bing Crosby and White Christmas………

      • mtshootist1

        Dave, you are right about the chassis, and the rear end, I am not sure what the straight 8 White engine was different from the packard, but the buses had a heavier rear end, with dual wheels. But the rear of this body looks almost identical. The bodies are almost identical, was my point, with the open convertible roof for sightseeing. I know one guy who is really into these types of early “buses” especially ones associated with Yellowstone.

      • Dave Wright

        White was a truck manufacturer by this time, they built some brass era cars but by the time this was built were solidly a truck manufacturer with an excellent line of there own engines. The White “Mustang” was used in trucks from 1 1/2 ton to full size semis. They had nothing to do with Packard. I am sure that commercial cars could have been built by the same contractors and have similar design. Packard quit building trucks in the early 20’s. I have a 1920 Packard 3 ton truck that we are beginning restoration on next year and have owned several White trucks. I love the White grills. They were good trucks that were taken out by the war, like Reos and other smaller manufacturers. Most were such good trucks that they were used hard, eventually worn out and scrapped. Off course…….everyone remembers the WW2 White half tracks. The French used them into the 90’s. I don’t think White built a straight 8, mine have always been 6’s and I have never seen an 8. There were some with other makers diesels though,

        Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey

        This is likely not on a standard Packard 1908 (model #) limo chassis, but rather a commercial chassis, that was then lengthened. If you look at the fender grills just below the hood edges [top of the fender], you will note the standard junior Packard chrome molding with the round Packard crest. To the rear of the crest is another chrome piece. That piece was ONLY used on Packard vehicles with custom bodies by Henney Motor Co., of Freeport Indiana. That means this is what is known as a Henney-Packard.

        This is not a Super 8 chassis but a Packard 120 [small eight] chassis, as evidenced by the shorter front end and the 120 taillights down near the bumper. As for the 356 engine [the 9 main bearing Super 8 engine], that will not fit in the 120 chassis without modifying the front end sheetmetal, increasing it’s length by several inches to move the radiator support forward. That has not been done to this vehicle. Since the 3 sizes of Packard straight 8 engines [288, 327, & 356 use the same headgasket, it’s likely the engine has a 356 cylinder head with slightly higher compression.

        So it’s a 1941 Henney-Packard 8 door, likely made for an airport or resort hotel.
        Would love to have it in my collection.

        Like 3
      • Alan Lestikow

        The HENNEY Motor Company was in Freeport Illinois, NOT Indiana. I Live about 5 miles from the Factory.

        Like 1
  4. Texas Tee

    Man I love this one. I wish we would have had one of these in our big family back when I was a kid in the late 1950s. We all would have had a window seat except baby sister. Instead we had a worn out ford wagon that Dad had to work on all the time.

    I’d love to drive this beast. So neat looking.

  5. Mike D

    I agree it is quite a find, also in the same auction there are other Packards , which I already nailed a couple of ideas for this one . Yes, it could be used as a tour bus, but it would have to be for fair weather days, because of the expense to get it up to par . with this and other 40s vehicles, I take note that the tires look like truck tires . Hard to tell the actual color, but to bring the interior up to present day comfort standards you wouldn’t want it with a performance engine, but it would need to get out of its own way it would be a looker with an ultra shiny paint job, I like the idea of the shiny hubcaps . Somebody with more imagination than I would come up for a use for it but it would sure attract attention!

  6. Pete

    I’m gonna nominate this one as BF of the year.

    Like 1
    • Josh Staff

      Nomination noted!

  7. Ed P

    The doors on the back, when open, look like the entrance to the cars basement. Like Pete said, BF of the year.

    • Josh Staff

      That’s two nominations! A couple more and I think we will have to award it the title of Barn Find of the Year!

    • john euler

      I live in warren ohio.home of the packard and would love to see that rusty gold come home

  8. DREW V.

    Would make a kewl resort/hotel airport limo or a tourist vehicle for an historic city such as Key West Fla…

  9. Mark E

    Two words: TRAVELING BAND!

    Especially perfect for a country/western, bluegrass or folksy type group! ^_^

  10. pontiactivist

    Wedding parties.

  11. Tom

    They produce cars in 1941? Wasn’t that war time production?

  12. Fred

    The recurring traveling band in Mayberry (Bobby Fleet and his Band with a Beat) drove a similar ride:

  13. Howard A Member

    This is a cool find. I saw this on Hemmings. As far as the canvas top, with 12 people, it’s more like open the top and let the stinky air out. ( I’m sure the food at the “lodge” didn’t agree with someone) As others have said, this was probably just a shuttle vehicle and probably never used for long trips. Quite a project, for sure.

  14. MikeH

    You can’t award BF of the year in August! What if something even more wonderful comes along in December? It’s like awarding the batting title before the season is over.

    • Dave Wright

      Sort of like a Nobel Prize to a New untested President…………..

      Like 1
  15. gunningbar

    A company that leases cars to movie makers cd use this… its a great find… impractical as hell but fun!

  16. TVC15

    Would make a great car Transporter for a small vintage racer ! Keep the second row of seats

  17. Steve Bryson

    There are a group of Packard enthusiast’s who think that regardless of the history sold with the car that this vehicle actually was built and owned by Smoky Mountain Tours Co of Asheville,NC. If you compare the attachment below with the shot of the Packard posted you will see the number #25 on both.I also have an article from the July 1,1941 Asheville Citizen Times about a Packard Super 8 160 hp 12 passenger bus purchased by Smoky Mountain Tours picked up at the Henny plant in Freeport, Illinois the week before. My guess is the mileage is at least 114,000 if not more. Still hope the new buyer gets it finished and would love to see it restores to original!

    Like 4
    • Michael

      Hi Steve, we are the proud owners of the Packard. The car has #25 on several places. Can you send me the Infos and scans of the magazine you have. After inspecting the enginecomponents and the Transmission we also think that 14.000 miles are impossible.

      Like 1
      • Steve Bryson

        Hey Michael, Sorry for the delay! just saw this. My email is sbryson56@yahoo.com. If you will email me I will send you some other stuff!

        Like 2
  18. Edo Franjic

    Now in Croatia!

    • Bill McCoskey

      Please join both the Packard club (PAC), and the Professional Car Society (PCS). Keep us updated on what happens with this giant!
      If possible can you provide the VIN for the car so I can identify the model/series? My email address is my name without spaces, @ aol.com. Thanks!

  19. MikeH

    Great!! It has gone to someone who will [evidently] appreciate it and [evidently] has the money to restore it.

  20. Dan Priedeman

    Re: 1941 Packard 90 – Steve Bryson’s comments above are correct, except it carried 10 passengers plus the driver. Smoky Mountain Tours [SMT] of Asheville NC bought this from Packard in 1941. Except for the WWII years it was operated by SMT through their 1955 season. It was the newest vintage Packard bus operated by SMT and the last to be in service by SMT. SMT had an interesting variety of stretched-out Packards, some up to 17-passengers that had a 3rd ‘pony’ axle mounted on a turntable to hold up the rear end. See my attachment. Steve Bryson, still living in Asheville, and his brother Bob (Savannah GA), were the sons of Bob Bryson who worked for SMT as a driver and accountant until SMT discontinued business in 1969. My father, Jack Priedeman, bought SMT Dec 7, 1941, just in time to have that kind of business sidelined by the the US War Dept. until the fall of 1945. I worked as a gofer in the SMT garage for several high school and college summers. This No. 25 bus was my favorite Packard. For more information about SMT go to the Facebook pages under “Smoky Mountain Tours Company” and look at the various “Files” available there.

    • Brad

      Amazing, Dan. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness to share all this info. Another example of a vehicle’s history being as interesting and important as the vehicle itself.

    • Michael

      Hi Dan, that is amazing. CAn you send me your contact details.
      The Packard is going to be finished in his SMT livery around November.
      Just checked the FB PAge and found 2 pictures of it.

  21. Dan Priedeman

    Michael Gross – Aug 23, 2016
    I don’t understand what you want when you asked me to send “my contacts list.” What is the context of the contacts you want?

    My total contacts list is >200 and I’m not willing to share that with anyone. My Smoky Mountain Tours Co. list has 20 – 25 names on it.

    Questions – your email address @ .de sounds like it’s in Germany. Correct? Do you have information about where the 1941 Packard bus is now and what has been done to it in the way of restoration? I know for a fact that is was owned by Smoky Mountain Tours Co. [SMT] of Asheville NC from 1941 until 1955. My father owned SMT during that time and I worked in his company’s garage during some high school and college summers

    I don’t know its history from 1955 through 2014, when it was sold at auction in Indiana and was to be shipped to Germany.

    I’d like its current location and contact if you are willing to share that with me.

    • Michael

      I wanted your contact to call you to maybe get more info about #25. The car is with me in Germany

  22. MikeH

    You guys don’t drift off into personal emails. Keep the rest of us posted on what has happened to the car, or maybe set up a facebook page. What a great story.

    Like 1
    • Steve Bryson

      Mike: There is a Facebook page if anyone is interested. It is Smoky Mountain Tours Company! Thanks, Steve Bryson

  23. Michael

    Pictures can`t be sent here. That needs to be with personal emails. I will update the information here http://www.chromecars.de/fahrzeuge/1941-super-eight/

  24. Mar Dabo
  25. Bob McK Member

    If I had the funds, I would buy it, have it restored and donate it to the Fort Lauderdale Packard museum. It would be a wonderful addition to the collection.

  26. Dan Priedeman

    That vehicle was bought at Indy Auction in 2014 and shipped to Germany where Chrome Cars was rebuilding it. I’ve asked them for updates on it restoration and next location; they have not responded
    Originally it was Smoky Mountain Tours Co, Asheville NC bus #25. The company was owned by my father J.H. (Jack)Priedeman. If I knew how, I’d send you some pix of some of their other stretched out Packard roll-top buses, 10, 13 and 17 passenger version. The 13-and 17-passenger versions had a third, rear axle mounted on a turntable to accommodate curves needed to hold up to back end. If you’d like send me your email address and I’ll forward some pix. – drp1955@att.net Dan Priedeman, Columbus Ohio

  27. Bill McCoskey

    I was also in contact with the people doing the restoration in Germany, and like you, I’ve heard nothing for a long time. Hope that just means they don’t need anything else from me and the restoration is slowly going forward!

  28. Adam ink

    Hi bill, you seem to know a lot about these stretched commercial chassis. Want to know if you have heard of 1940 Henney packered 890L. It’s wheelbase is almost 160”,and the frame has appears to have factory extensions

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