236 Barn Finds At Auction In Upstate New York!

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It is a shame not to meet or speak with C. Louis Abelove, Esquire for this article and his upcoming auction on November 22, 2021 because it is quite apparent that one of his passions in life has been the collection of Packard automobiles. It would be interesting to ask the obvious questions:  How does one amass such a collection like this?  Why? and what was the ultimate goal? There are 236 cars in Mr. Abelove’s Collar City Auctions catalog, with a non-scientific count of Packard cars in the vicinity of 134. Make no mistake, this auction has to rate as the North American Barn Find of the Year–anyone wanting to enter into the collector car market with a pretty good sweat equity restoration project can bid and chances are good that any bidder could win one or more lots in this completely online auction, found here on Collar City Auctions Online. The cars are located in a wood-floored warehouse in the town of New York Mills, NY, a stone’s throw from Utica, very close to Lake Ontario. Bidding requires a $500 credit card hold and the instructions to start bidding are not complicated.

At this writing, your correspondent made a winning bid of $100 on a lot; starting bids are all at $100 and not as many as one would expect have bids at all just yet.  Several obvious rarities have bid up to more than $1,000, and I was outbid on a treasure and after four such outbids 0n the same lot, it was time to move on. The point is that if I can figure out how to enter the auction as a bidder and actually make a commanding bid, well, there’s a ray of hope for teaching us cavemen technology. Before auction fever sets in, keep the pick-up rules in mind should you make a winning bid–you will have to pick up your project car shortly after November 29; pick-ups are strictly done in order of the lot number without exception until the building is cleared.

There are approximately six Ford cars in the collection, 28 Cadillacs, two Hudsons, three Studebakers (some Avantis), five Chryslers (mostly Imperials), four Oldsmobiles, a Triumph, three MGs, an Alfa Romeo, a Morgan, two Plymouths (cute Valiant convertible), a Corvette, and four of these:

Lot #007 and three other lots in the auction are mid-1930s Pierce-Arrow cars.  This photo shows that the front fenders and running boards are intact, and there is a pretty good start on the flathead and front suspension.  These don’t come up very often at the barn auction near home. What stands out prominently as a feature of this auction, besides the four Pierce-Arrow hulks and 134 Packards, is a collection of 1953-1956 Packard Caribbean convertibles and hardtops: there are approximately 12 Caribbean convertibles and a pair of hardtops (1956).  Should someone have a passion similar to Mr. Abelove for these rare cars, the 14 seen in the catalog are in various states of completeness, some from each year of the Caribbean production.  We count at least four 1953s, four 1954s, two 1955s, and two 1956s.

This particular photo shows lot #197, a mostly complete 1956 model, complete with its readable VIN number (5883-1455) which does not register with the Packard VIN decoder.  This car, like most others in this collection, lacks any keys or any title documentation that would make transfer a quicker affair.  The conveyance of ownership will be by bill of sale only.

Packard was the automaker of choice for the American limousine crowd.  Its long wheelbase cars were the favorite of governors and U.S. Presidents, particularly Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was chauffeured around in a 1939 Packard Twelve, a stately land yacht if there ever were one.  FDR loved his Packard Twelve so much he gave an armored version to none other than Joseph Stalin. Point is that Packard had built its reputation among the stuffed-shirt crowd and much was expected from the manufacturer to maintain the imposing image for that crowd that the Senior Packards cast.  Or rather the image of what people must have thought when they saw you riding in one.

Packard had a long-time relationship with the Henney Motor Company of Freeport, IL, coachmakers of ambulances, hearses and funerary cars. The status of the funeral home could be measured in the prestigious marks of their fleet of limos and hearses with a Packard fleet near the top.  The top-of-the-top would even have a Packard-Henney Flower Car to make the shiny black car parade even more prestigious.  There are two Packard-Henney Flower Cars in this auction and a number of Packard-Henney hearses.

A designer at Henney, Richard Arbib, came up with an idea in 1951 for a Packard “sports car” with a working name of the “Pan American” built from the bones of an existing Packard 250 convertible.  Henney built approximately six of the cars but the cost per unit was not justifiable.  Nevertheless, Cadillac was brewing up the Eldorado in the early 50s and Buick was hard at work with its Skylark.  Packard felt the pressure to compete in the “sports car” thinking of the time and off of designer Dick Teague’s drawing board came the Caribbean, ready to sell in 1953.  Packard made and sold 750 Caribbean convertibles in 1953.  There was not a hardtop model until 1956.  Packard made changes in the design and in the running gear through the four-year Caribbean production run.  There were 400 Caribbean convertibles made in 1954, 500 in 1955, and a mere 276 in 1956. The Caribbean was also offered as a hardtop in 1956.  There are 1956 two hard-tops in this auction.

The lot featured here is a 1956 model, still sporting a three-tone paint scheme and a white ragtop.

The Packard engine. Until the model year 1955, Packard equipped its cars with its reliable and ultra-smooth-running in-line V8 engine. For the luxury market Packard dominated in the 30s and 40s, weight certainly wasn’t a consideration and the solid Packard flathead engines were the rival of the industry for quiet, smooth operation in large-sedans with the classic, long-nosed front ends, vertical radiators, and prominent, large headlamps. Packard diverted its production during WWII to making engines for the war effort, particularly airplanes (P-51 using a Rolls-Royce licensed design) and for the U.S. Navy’s PT Boats which used three Packard V-12 marine engines.  Packard made more than 55,000 engines during the war and was in good financial shape heading back into retail automotive production.  Packard tried to engineer a V8 to compete with Ford and GM in time for 1954 production but was unable to complete the design.  Packard’s in-line eight was beefed up for 1954, however, at 359-cubic-inches and 212-horsepower.

The Packard spin masters of 1954 worked hard despite the 1954 engine engineering faceplant: “There is no more glamorous car than the new Packard Caribbean. . . The swank continental look will turn all eyes.” The Caribbean came equipped standard with radio, heater, power seats, and power window lifts; these features that are taken for granted now were not standard in production cars of the day.  “Glamorous” and “Swank” mattered but only 400 Caribbeans were sold that year.

For 1955, the Caribbean came with a potent 352-cubic-inch overhead-valve V8 engine that was advertised to put out 275-horsepower.  For 1956 and our subject car, the engine was bored out to 374-cubic-inches, 310-horsepower sporting dual carburetors.  That the 1955 with the V8 made 0-60 in 11.5 seconds hardly seems like a sports car in our 2021 world, but the V8 outdid the flathead which was only sporty enough to do 0-60 in more than 15 seconds.

The transition of post-war automobile designs from a running-board and external fenders to a completely integrated body design (where the wheels were fully incorporated into the body without external fenders), was rough for Packard.  Look at this auction catalog and see there are dozens of the first iteration of Packard’s foray into integrated bodies, a “bathtub style” body rudely referred to by one automotive writer at the time as a “pregnant elephant.” The Caribbean was Packard’s last gasp at trying to keep up with the nimble GM, Chrysler, and Ford.  The Caribbean’s fins were modest, its curves well-used and proportioned, the chrome glitzy, but not too much.  The other manufacturers were starting to be able to invest hundreds of thousands of engineering hours to make new body style tooling every year and despite all of Packard’s attempts to keep up, poor business judgment and a merger with Studebaker sunk the once-mighty ship.

Sadly, the Caribbean was Packard’s too-little-too-late answer to the early 50s demand for a “sports car” despite its more than two-ton body weight.  Its production stopped in the 1956 model year as the company sputtered in the frenzied competition for car buyers who obviously wanted “More! New! Now!” as though cars were now fashion statements that changed with the season.  Buyers lost interest in those that couldn’t keep up, and the advent of easy financing made switching the family ride easier to keep up with the Joneses.

The reality of this auction is that Mr. Abelove assembled a fleet of 1953 through 1956 Packard Caribbeans.  One or two true avid Packard collectors could well make a complete set from the bones in this auction.  Barn Finds thanks Charles C for the tip on this auction.  Please–everyone take a look at something that will not ever be assembled again.  If you don’t care to bid, even looking at this rolling stock collection is at least as good as a trip to a museum full of ancient artifacts, and it’s a few hours of “Oh my Good Gosh” fun without getting cold or dirty.

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. CCFisher

    I believe lot 197 is a 1955 Caribbean. 1956 versions had more deeply hooded headlamps and black headlamp trim, as opposed to the bright trim used in 1955.

    Like 7
    • KurtMember

      That could be a sweet restoration project, looks complete.

      Like 0
  2. BlondeUXBMember

    The guy that amassed all this metal must have dragged it home as scrap. (That is, from a scrap dealer.)
    If you’re a winning bidder you can too…

    Like 8
  3. JohnfromSC

    Sad. All those cars and not one in decent condition..the marque of a hoarder. Perhaps the only hope is to buy the best Patrician convertible of the bunch along with two Patrician hard tops for parts.

    Like 10
    • Mike TarutisAuthor

      Good thinking. Wish I had the space because I would do just that.

      Like 3
  4. Frank Sumatra

    You have a heck of an arm if you can toss a rock from Utica to Lake Ontario.

    Like 9
  5. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    Reminds me of a 11YO Monopoly player who…hoards all the $1 bills. Cornering the market on rust isn’t a long-term holding.

    Like 1
  6. PaulG

    I think there’s several nice candidates in this auction if you take the time to peruse the listings. There’s many cars showing very little rust; quite unusual for upstate NY

    Like 9
  7. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    What is an “in-line V8 engine”?

    Like 14
    • John W Harmer

      Otherwise known as a straight 8 engine.

      Like 3
    • Mike TarutisAuthor

      That is funny–thanks for the catch. “V8” should obviously have been edited to be “in-line eight cylinder.”

      We all missed the edit, and again I appreciate any and all comments.

      Like 4
    • walt mcclurg

      Duh!

      Like 0
  8. michael h streuly

    You could make more money on the cars if you put them all thru a shredder and sell the metal by the pound.

    Like 5
  9. HoA Howard AMember

    “ESQUIRE”? Pfft, lost me already, hmm, esquire, hey, let me try that, Howard A, Esquire,,,,,nothing?( crickets) Looks like “C” Louie has a lot of drek. I suppose the last few remaining Packard stalworts on the planet will have a field day here, it’s a great find, however, I just don’t see the following anymore. Auctions these days rarely feature ANY of these cars, maybe a 30’s Packard limo, but the steam ran out on everyday Packards, which, with a few exceptions, seems like what this guy collected. I think this stuff may go around one more time, after that, sadly, lots of new toasters here.

    Like 6
    • Mike TarutisAuthor

      Sadly, Howard, the following does NOT seem to be there.

      I would love to hear what Mr. A’s vision was. When he started this collection, he probably viewed Packard far more passionately through a lens of the brand being the US luxury car of that day akin to Rolls Royce and its prestige in GB.

      Was or is Packard that luxury brand recognized as such by auto enthusiasts? Doesn’t seem that is the case. Doesn’t seem that even if the vision were to corner the market on used Packard parts, there may not have been enough interest even to support that.

      It would be an interesting case study to ask his relatives and friends the “hows and whys” as Mr. A told those close to him for investing the time and money to amass this collection.

      My fear is that Michael Streuly’s comment hits home, and hard: that this collection may go by without a lot of interest–leading some, many, most or nearly all of these once-prestigious cars to scrap.

      Like 1
      • SG

        The market is definitely changing for certain cars. I watched the Hemken museum sale 2 months ago and they had some incredible survirors and restored cars. Some prices were strong, others seemed a little weak and there were several reasonably priced 40s convertibles and even some a cheap 46 DeSoto ragtop. Signs and toys continue to bring big money. I’m very curious to see where this sale goes.

        Like 1
    • Mountainwoodie

      HoA,
      .
      As an ‘Esquire’ , and once an owner, as a 16 yr old, of a 1950 22 Series bathtub Packard Ultramatic, I feel more than qualified to comment on this lot.

      Open a Pic A Part and go into business where they sit.

      Like 5
      • Mike TarutisAuthor

        Hey, Mountainwoodie ho’s about two esquires doing a pic-a-part in upstate NY?

        Like 2
  10. Homer Cook

    I rode in my grandmother’s 4 door Packard in about 1950 and it was the most comfortable, smooth riding car I had ever ridden in. It was beautiful but I don’t remember which model.

    Like 2
    • Mike TarutisAuthor

      I have had the pleasure of riding in several Packard Senior limo-style cars and I share the same feeling. If one has experienced that tangible feeling of luxury, could that be a basis for an obsession?

      Anyone expert on a subject like that, please chime in.

      Air conditioning, or lack thereof, in my experiences, would be a slight exception to the king-like feeling of riding in a beautifully restored Packard land yacht.

      Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

        Mike,
        I’ve owned the following LWB Packards:

        1940 Custom Super 180 [series 1808] limo
        1948 Custom Eight 7-passenger limo [Henney]
        1948 Custom Eight 7-passenger sedan [Henney]
        1949 Super Deluxe Eight 7-passenger sedan [Henney]
        1950 Super Deluxe Eight 7-passenger limo [Henney]

        1953 Patrician 7-passenger sedan [Henney]
        1954 Patrician 7-passenger limo [Henney]

        The 1940 had an AACA senior award [not my work] and top car club awards.

        The 1954 came out of a junkyard where it landed in 1962, and it was a parts car only. If I remember correctly, it was the next to last Henney-Packard limo.

        The 1948 Custom limo I found in a junkyard in 1976, displaying 1960 license plates. 2 days later, having aired up the tires, installed a new battery, bled the brakes, filled radiator with 50/50 mix & new MD historic plates mounted, I drove it in 95 degree weather, to a Packard club meet from Hyattsville, MD to York, PA, without any problems.

        I’ve owned many limousines [I like limousines!] including Cadillacs, Imperials, and Rolls-Royces, but none rode as smoothly as the 1948 Custom Super Eight limo. Second best was my ex-White House 1955 Imperial limo.

        Like 7
      • SG

        Bill,
        I grew up working in the Dayton Packard Museum from the time it opened until the early 2000’s. Had the pleasure of driving a number of wonderful cars, but one of my favorites was an all-original 54 Henney limo. It was a wonderful driver.

        With all the 41 and 48 long wheelbase cars, I’m surprised there are no 53-54 limos.

        Also, the 41 Henney Flower cars are quite unique!

        Like 4
  11. Greg Williams

    It’s a shame all those beautiful old classics have been left in that condition.

    Like 6
  12. KurtMember

    Wish I lived closer, the old coupe would be an awesome project for me. “One of the last few Packard enthusiasts on the planet.” Sheesh.

    Like 3
    • Mike TarutisAuthor

      There are photos on the internet of actual “hot roddish” Packards, one, in particular, a red convertible that looks to have been lowered with chrome wheels.

      Haven’t been able to find it again, but it was sharp looking. It would turn some heads at the Car Cruise.

      Can Packards be successfully hot rodded (with some respect when it’s finished)?

      Like 3
    • John E. Klintz

      This is an absolute SHAME! Watch Jay Leno talk about and drive his 1956 Caribbean convertible. These cars had engineering ahead of their time, beautiful interiors and styling, and a fantastic V-8. Love Packards; I hold Studebaker responsible for destroying this historic marque.

      Like 2
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

        John,

        Studebaker didn’t destroy Packard. Packard Motor Car Company [PMCC] started the ball rolling when in 1953 the company decided to purchase Studebaker. Most of the general public and even a large percentage of vintage car enthusiasts think it was the other way around, or a merger of equals. But the reality is PMCC bought Studebaker.

        Studebaker actually “cooked the books”, using creative financial ruses to make it appear the company’s losses were far less. Had PMCC not rushed into the purchase, and given the bean counters the necessary time to look deeper into Studebaker’s true financial condition, PMCC would have learned the company was hemorrhaging from years of financial losses. The swiftness of the deal resulted in PMCC going from a financially solvent company to one that required financial help to turn the company around. [and yes, from that initial standpoint, Studebaker caused Packard to fail, but there is more to the story.]

        The long-term plans for S-P called for a major restructuring of the model lines to allow for 4 different lines sharing various wheelbases and chassis [4? Yep, Packard, Studebaker, Studebaker trucks, and Clipper.] Both assembly lines were used; South Bend would be kept for S, and Detroit kept for P & C. Both engine lines would remain, giving the organization an OHV 6, plus a small block V8 and a big block V8. Like the big 3 had done for decades, the use of basic part interchanges could have created major financial savings.

        I’ve explored much of the information now available on the planned re-organization, and it was quite impressive, giving it the breathing room to create a challenge to the big 3.

        But an unexpected glitch arose that would quickly derail it all. The typical financing in the 1950s available to all automakers was the huge reserves of cash maintained by the insurance industry. Even the big three automakers used the insurance reserves to financially tide them over for the annual model year changes.

        But because the S-P plans included ALL the model lines, the financial people balked. Too risky for them to loan for both South Bend and Detroit. They made a decision based primarily on production figures, not on profitability per vehicle. They said yes to money for Studebaker’s model lines re-vamp, but not Packard. That led to the new 1959 Lark. It was enough money to create the lark, but not enough to do the re-design they needed for their long-term future.

        Problem was, Studebaker was loosing vast amounts of money on every car they produced, while Packard was either breaking even or only slightly in the red, depending on who you ask. It was the financial industry that made a huge miscalculation in funding the portion of S-P that was not capable of reaching financial stability, while ignoring the side that was capable of profitability. Had they funded the re-organization of S-P in general, the overall return to a profitable business was very likely.

        And with the disastrous 1958 model year now in the rear-view mirror for the planned new 1959 changes, there was a general agreement among historians that the company did have a good chance of surviving into the 1970s.

        While the basic statement is accurate that Studebaker was the actual cause of PMCC’s demise, it was the financiers who caused the ultimate failure of S-P. Had the money been available, S-P was prepared to introduce a plan that was likely to succeed.

        Like 7
      • BlondeUXBMember

        @Bill McCoskey
        Add to that the recession of 1958…

        Like 3
  13. SG

    Looking through the catalog, there’s some really good project material in there, but the lack of paperwork is really troubling…A good estate attorney can often wrangle some sort or title or registration out of the probate system, but then again NY state can be a nightmare to work with.

    Like 0
    • Mike TarutisAuthor

      Paperwork, troubling. Keys? Equally or more troubling.

      Imagine that a key safe for all 230+ cars would be as big as a ballroom and properly arranged file folders for all of the car’s title papers would be enough for a pretty big collection of vertical file cabinets.

      Here’s a question: is the steel that made these Packard cars superior to the steel (not plastic) used to make 2021 cars?

      Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

        Mike, I put your question to my local scrap yard owner, and he said except for ship steel plates from before about 1950 and ballistic armor plate, “Scrap steel is scrap steel”.

        I’m told there is something known as “Low background steel”, from ship steel plates and armor that was built before above ground nuclear testing was commonplace. Modern steel is contaminated with radionuclides because its production uses atmospheric air. Low-background steel is so-called because it does not suffer from such nuclear contamination. This steel is used in devices that require the highest sensitivity for detecting radionuclides.

        One source of low-background steel is ships constructed before the Trinity test, most famously the scuttled German World War I warships in Scapa Flow. Old freight cars are another source.

        I don’t have any more info on the subject, and I just learned about it today.

        Like 3
  14. pj

    no keys no paper work – where is the missing safe or filing cabinet? odd

    Like 0
    • Mike TarutisAuthor

      With you there, pj

      Like 0
  15. GOM

    It appears that Mr. Abelove is the lawyer liquidating an estate. It would be interesting to know whose estate this actually was, and the “back story” as to how such a huge building came to be filled with these vehicles. I wonder what business occupied this building before it became a long term storage facility. I think the story might be more interesting than the auction!

    Like 4
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      Lou Abelove was a Packard Club member for many years, these are his cars. He’s 81 years old and not in the best of health, so I’m told the cars are going to new homes.

      Like 4
      • Mike TarutisAuthor

        Bill–any more insight that I might do a follow-up article? Not able to get to the Abelove family, obviously respecting their privacy.

        Like 3
  16. CARHUNTER

    I can not decide if he ruined the cars or saved them? Seems most were in poor condition when he got them, but not one key? Has to be a box full of keys someplace. There are quite a few rare Packards, wish I lived closer, left NY and moved south I would probably want to look a few over, especially a few of the coupes!

    Like 0
  17. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    Car number 38, the 1955 Packard Patrician with the VIN of 5582-3050 [I remember the VIN very well] was the first antique car I ever drove at the age of 14. It belonged to my best friend [well it was licensed to his dad until he was 18] and next door neighbor. This is the very car that got me seriously interested in Packards. Wish I had found it 20 years ago, I would be bidding to win!

    Like 3
  18. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    As a serious Packard guy [I’ve owned somewhere around 300 of ’em], If I saw just one of these cars sitting under a carport as I drove by, I’d hit the brakes and go take a look.

    As I’m looking thru all the photos, I realize that almost every car in this indoor junkyard is special, and as The History Guy says; “Deserves to be remembered”. For the majority of vehicles in the building, they are begging to be restored. There are dozens and dozens of really rare and desirable vehicles here. I never thought in the last 50 years I would ever see this many unrestored Caribbeans in one building. I haven’t counted, but when one includes the limousines, there has to be 2 dozen or more Henney-Packards, including not one — but TWO — Henney-Packard flower cars!
    There appear to be TWO 1941 Custom Super Eight 180 limousines with custom bodies by LeBaron! Oh how I would love to be able to walk thru this building, photograph the collection and write a story about them.

    Like 6
    • Mike TarutisAuthor

      Do you have any more history that would lead to my making calls to see if we could gain entry?

      Like 2
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

        Mike, I do not have more info. I’ve not seen or heard from Mr. Abelove in close to 30 years.

        Like 2
  19. Dave Peterson

    The flower cars, the long wheelbase limo’s and the wood sided station cars would all come to me were I twenty years younger. At the current bid rate, all should be buyable for less than $5000. I’m willing to suffer the slings and arrows of the Cognoscenti, as I would take the ’56 V8, install it in the woody, restore the Limo’s to wedding and prom condition and use the pickup to advertise my restoration services. My only experience with straight eights were 1940’s Hudsons, but like their V-shaped bretheren, it wouldn’t be that difficult. Parts, however, I’m guessing would be a nightmare. This reminded me of that Chevy store that got auctioned several years ago. Only with good buys.

    Like 3
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      I was a seller of Packard parts until I retired in 2016. Packard dealers often squirreled away their parts departments after closing. In the 1970s and even 1980s I was still finding dealer parts selections. Between NOS parts, aftermarket parts, and reproduction or rebuilt parts, It’s fairly easy to find the 6 and small eight parts, mechanical and trim. Some of the Super eight parts like the 356 9 main bearing lower end sets are getting hard to find, but compared to similar Cadillac or Lincoln parts, Packard parts are as easy, or easier to find.

      Like 4
      • Mike TarutisAuthor

        Thanks for all your information and responses, Bill.

        Sorry to observe that the interest in truly special antique cars like these Packards is not catching on with the younger crowd. If it’s a limited crowd now, the crowd and interest will likely further wane. I have a difficult time thinking the kids that grew up with mine would get emotional about seeing a beautifully restored Packard, Pierce Arrow, Deusenberg or a Cord. “That old thing?”

        Even harder to believe that in 80 years those same kids will be trading rare models of Tesla cars built in the “Roaring ’20s.”

        Like 2
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

        Mike,

        When I look in the proverbial rear view mirror at the old car crowds at events, I think of the crowds as a “thinning of the herd” as more like people refining their interests. The people who decide to take the family out to see a car show [but don’t own an old car] will often stop visiting the shows, but the type of young visitor who can tell the difference between a 22nd series Packard and a 23rd series Packard, will continue to find those cars interesting enough to keep their interests life-long.

        I have found that if a young person is exposed to older cars, by older people who are willing to teach them about the cars [provided that young person shows an interest], this teaching thru example and observance, can have lasting positive effects.

        My own immediate family is a perfect example. I am truly blessed to have 2 smart & lovely female life partners. One is 37, the other turned 32 only 2 weeks ago. To celebrate her birthday, she asked if we could visit the Strasburg Railroad and the PA Railroad museum next door. They loved both places. They also love old cars, and are already talking about making plans for the 2022 Hershey AACA show.

        During our recent trip we were pleasantly surprised to see many couples in their 30s and 40s, with excited kids in tow. In the museum I watched as numerous [mostly boys] in the under 20 crowd were intently pouring over the differences between various drive systems like Climax or Shay locomotives.

        We met a young man at the Strasburg railroad who said he was an apprentice volunteer in the repair/restoration shop, learning how to restore a locomotive boiler that was born almost a hundred years before he was.

        Refinement can be good, especially for our hobby.

        Like 1
  20. Peter Hollinshead

    As rough as most of these cars are, they somehow managed to avoid the seemingly requisite upstate New York road salt cancer.

    Like 0
  21. Larry

    Here is my 1939 Packard Model 1708 12 cylinder Limousine with 58,000 original miles of which I will be advertising soon for sale

    Like 4
    • Mike TarutisAuthor

      Larry, I really love that car and think I did an article on it some months ago.

      I leave this image as inspiration for anyone who might have any inkling of making a viable project out of Mr. A’s “warehouse o’ Packards.” Only a proud and confident brand, IMO, can make a product that still has its pride and quiet confidence after more than eighty–80–years.

      I have half a mind to buy this splendid automobile (after a considerable modification to the length of my garage) just so I can have my beautiful twin daughters driven like princesses on their wedding days.

      Still time to have some Barn Finds readers get the deal of the decade and buy a neglected orphan from Mr. A and bring it back to the luster that Larry’s car has.

      Like 2
  22. george mattar

    The idiot running Packard in the 50s was James Nance. He absolutely destroyed that company and you can bet he got a nice pension package. Typical of useless American auto execs. This is a sad sight and these once great cars are not for the faint of heart. Most have not titles. It is getting extremely hard to title an old car today. Here in Pennsylvania, I went through living hell to get my Corvette declared an antique. It was the cost. That was very reasonable, it was the paper work and nonsense from useless state employees that made it difficult and I had a clean New Jersey title. Of all the cars here, I want that 62 Cad convertible. Such a beauty. But man the cost to bring it back, well.

    Like 1
    • John E. Klintz

      Couldn’t agree with you more, George, regarding useless auto execs, and NOT just American! Someone is actively trying to destroy Toyota. Nissan has already been decimated. The only ones who seem to have a trifle of market sense and innovation are Mazda and Hyundai, in particular the Genesis line. Otherwise the entire industry is “fluid;” a euphemism for “effluence.”

      Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      George,
      For many years after PMCC failed, the “Packard people” and the Packard Clubs put the blame squarely on Jim Nance. But about 25 years ago a few Packard guys managed to talk Mr Nance into coming out of retirement and talk about what happened.

      Seems Mr Nance had saved all of his ephemera and paperwork relating to his time at Packard. He made these items available to a couple of serious Packard chroniclers and the findings were quite a surprise. Nance was made a scapegoat for what happened. His paperwork made it quite clear this was the case. He was actually invited to be the keynote speaker at one of the Packard Club national meet dinners.

      It was clear that the real downfall came from Curtiss-Wright who swept in and acquired S-P at bargain basement prices. The reason C-W made the purchase? They wanted the very profitable Studebaker and Packard US military defense contracts!

      They cared nothing for the car divisions. The only real good that came from the C-W agreement [the company never even purchased S-P] was S-P made a one-off 1958 Packard Hawk convertible for Roy Hurley, the CEO of Curtiss-Wright. It exists today, and was the last factory made convertible to bear the Packard name.

      Like 3
  23. david flack

    MIke Tarutis – you are welcome to contact me regarding the history of this collection. The auction company has listed times to view the cars. David Flack.

    Like 1
  24. John E. Klintz

    Good points all, Burger. Studebaker did indeed destroy the Packard name with their rebadged Studebakers for two years, but perhaps that did indeed save them from an even more egregious death. I completely agree as well regarding the “nice” cars of the ’70’s; most were turds. And what do we have now? Mostly potatoes and suppositories masquerading as “SUVs.” As a retiree from a large manufacturer I drove my share of them and find most equally disgusting.

    Like 1
    • Burger

      My own car interest seems something of a case of “immaculate conception” … I was “car nuts” when I was 3-4-5 years old, and fascinated with “exceptional” cars … the ones that stood out from everything else on the streets. I have early memories of my grandfathers chatting this young booger-eater up about some big Packard or, as my paternal grandfather liked to call them, “jalopies”. “Look at that jalopy !” he’d say, as some ancient car went by. I honestly thought for a while that there was a Jalopy Car Co. out there, that made fancy cars before I was born.

      A bucket list car for me is an early 20’s Packard sedan. One like Fred Lott drove around Seattle during the Depression and war years. A car that truly fit the sales pitch “Ask the man that owns one”.

      Like 0
  25. CARHUNTER

    Bill McCoskey thanks for stating that Packard was the one at fault everyone does think it’s the other way around, they ruined themselves in last ditch attempts tried to merge into the New American Motors and failed! Then they were purchased by Curtiss-Wright seemly as a tax write off! Packard even was the sole source to buy a Mercedes at one time, just blame Jim Nance and poor management buying Studebaker!

    Like 3
  26. John E. Klintz

    Bill: I certainly knew much of the ST-P history but certainly not all of it, and not in the detail that you have presented. I did indeed know that Packard actually purchased Stude (bad management on the part of Packard) but not about Stude “cooking the books;” given their history (they did something similar to Pierce) it does not surprise me. The original Lark was a turd; by the time that it was almost a decent car it was over for Studebaker. It’s interesting to contemplate how things may have turned out had their plan worked. Thank you for this VERY interesting historical account!

    Like 2
  27. Mike TarutisAuthor

    I’d still like to

    “Ask the man who owns one.”

    Like 1
  28. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    This listing is a primo example of why I am a “member” here on
    Barn Finds.

    The wealth of knowledge, the personal experiences and historical contributions are excellent in so many ways.

    So well worth the monthly minor investment.

    Like 3
  29. Robin Giesbrecht

    There are so many really nice cars here it makes my head hurt. Almost all of them are top or near top of the line, regardless of their neglected shape. Incredible. Never seen so many 55 and 56 Packard’s before. Look at the pictures, many have keys…least of your concerns.

    Like 1
  30. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    Yes, keys are of no real concern. Older key systems only kept honest people and some JD’s [juvenile delinquents] from taking your car, as they were easy to unlock or force with a large screwdriver. The keys can be made and the locks picked within a matter of minutes. Most automotive locksmiths even have the keys as many used the same Briggs & Stratton lock cylinders used on other automobile makes.

    I have a large ring of Packard ignition and trunk keys I’ve saved or pulled out of cars in the junkyard. It’s a ring of about 50 keys, and every time I’ve taken the time to go thru the set, I’ve found one that worked for that cylinder. It’s similar to the set I have for GM cars 1936 to 1966, and the GM ring set is only about 30 keys. Yes, for 30 years you had a 1 in 30 chance of your key working in many GM vehicles.

    Like 3

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