Barn Find One-Twenty: 1941 Packard Convertible Coupe

This 1941 Packard One-Twenty Convertible Coupe has been off the road and not running since at least 1985. However, it was stored well with oil in the cylinders and sounds like it wouldn’t take too much to get mobile again. It’s located in Bloomington, California and is listed for sale here on eBay. There’s a buy it now of $25,500 but lower offers are being considered.

While the One-Twenty was a lower cost market entry for Packard, it was still a pretty nice car for it’s day, with elegant yet modern styling, a three or four speed full synchromesh transmission and a “Handishift” column shifter to get the gear change out of the way.

While there is one tail light missing, you can also see that the sheet metal is in darned nice shape, at least what we can see of it. According to the seller, there is almost no body work necessary, and also there is zero rust and zero body filler. Pretty strong claims for a 1941 car!

The elegance continued even to the script nomenclature and trim. Classy!

The interior is very art deco; not surprising considering the age of the car. It’s awfully dingy and dirty, but looking at it makes me literally want to clean it up, as Scotty mentioned in a recent post. I think that would be a very rewarding way to spend some time. I wonder if the lizard skin upholstery is factory? I found a variety of interior pictures online and didn’t see one like this, though.

This is claimed to be the original straight eight engine, displacing 282 cubic inches. As the car weighed 3,700 pounds, the 120 horsepower and 225 foot pounds of torque would probably leave it pretty far behind at a stop light grand prix. However, it would be enough for me. I’m just not sure about the economics of putting this car back on the road. What do you readers think?

Fast Finds


  1. Rich

    Gorgeous. Always had a thing for Packards.

  2. Howard A Member

    Again, who knows the story on this. Maybe some guy, of affluent California nature, bought this elegant Packard, went off to war, never to return. The convertible was the most expensive Packard at the time. For 1942, the 120 would vanish forever, and the war halted civilian production anyway. Named for 120 hp, and “Handishift” was nothing more than a column shift, but it caught on quickly. Gotta love them horns ( that will make the ammeter dip) I know it looks rough now, they all do, but this was one of the classiest cars made in 1941 and priced to compete directly with Cadillac and Lincoln. They bring BIG bucks restored and are beautiful, reliable cars. The 120 was a very significant car. One of Packards most popular models. It brought the price down so many could say they owned a Packard and kept an already troubled Packard afloat going into the war.

    • A.J.

      The 120 is the down market straight eight. The 180 is the top of the line, followed by the 160 which is a 180 but with a lower trim level. There is a BIG difference between a 120 and a 180/160 in mechanics, original price and the market now.

      Like 1
  3. doug6423

    After visiting ‘America’s Packard Museum’ this past Saturday, it seems there are plenty of beautiful cars longing to see the road again. They even have more stashed out of site. So, with so many Packard’s just sitting, I’d modernize this so it could be enjoyed for many more decades to come. This would be a great car to drive and enjoy rather than sit hidden in a garage again.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Doug, no need. Speaking from experience, the Packard 8 was more than capable, and even with today’s fuels, it could handle it. I think, the Packard 8 was one of the most powerful flathead 8’s made. I find it a bit disturbing, that at the museum “they had cars stashed out back”, which sadly indicates, interest is waning for these. :(

      • waynard

        And so is money for a museum to spend on full restorations.

      • doug6423

        They weren’t ‘out back’, they have a basement full of cars and parts… I’m told. Another visitor mentioned it to the tour guide who confirmed there is a basement full. So let’s at least hope it’s a dry basement or they might as well put them outside if it’s a wet basement. :)

  4. Fred W.

    Never was a fan of the “side grill” treatment these got but otherwise a potentially gorgeous car. I once owned a ’37 and ’38, both were 110’s, others were out of my price range. Good thing my garage is full or I’d be a bidder on this one.

  5. 86 Vette Convertible

    I like it.

  6. Dave Wright

    I am looking for a similar car to own but am saving my time and treasure for a senior……..120′ s while nice cars were not even built in the original Packard factory. A new more mechanized factory was built specifically for there manufacture. The 120’s were a cut above most common cars of there days but not in the same class as a 160 or 180. Today, it will cost the same to restore either so I feel money is better spent with the higher quality cars. As noted above, 120’s were hot sellers as well so not as rare as the senior cars. All that said……they are magnificent cars. I drove my buddies 120 a lot in the late 60’s, it had much more power than my other friends 41 Chev, was fine on the freeway, and ran with my 57 Chev with a 235.

  7. ed p

    “Handi shift” comes from a time when features had names like Powerglide, Easamatic (p brakes) etc.

  8. Wm Lawrence

    I recall a TV series called Banacek in which the hero drove one of these. I always loved that car. As the star George Peppard demonstrated his acting talent by convincingly feigning a high level of intelligence, an illusion duly crushed by his participation in “The A Team”…

  9. Capt Doug

    This will always be a stately and elegant car – deserves a sympathetic refurbishing and a mechanical overhauling. A very good fairing job and a 1st class painting in a nice Packard color will go a long way.
    Considering the relative rarity of the body style and the overall condition with a PPI the price may be right on.
    Easily will keep up on highway speeds [within reason] and will draw thumbs up and lots of waves and compliments when out and about – especially with the top down!
    Most parts are available – that tail light might take some searching – but the straight eight is strong, bulletproof and quieter than you would believe.
    ‘Ask The Man Who Owns One’ was not an advertising gimmick!

    • waynard

      I agree with a sympathetic refurb on this. No need to spend scads of money to make it useable and enjoy it for what it is. Maybe not even paint. Price the owner is asking appears high based on my books.

  10. JJS

    Looks just like the one now on eBay for $22,500. A search of auction results shows nice ones going for around $50,000 and really nice ones for $75 grand. As for this car, I agree. Get it running, do the cosmetics, enjoy it.

    • Dan h

      I also agree.
      To do a correct, thourough and successful resto on a Packard 120/160/180 it takes loads of time and $$$.

  11. Wayne

    Four speed all synchromesh? I don’t think so.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Wayne, nope, it’s true. Packard was one of the 1st to offer all synchro 3 and 4 speeds before the war, called, the “Unimesh”, of course.

  12. charlie Member

    I watched a neighbor do a body off frame restoration, he found a crate engine, packed in cosmoline or something similar, I was most amazed at how simple a car it was. He had the interior done and the paint done by shops, and somewhere found a new top, but did the rest himself with the occasional help of guys like me. Sold it to a dentist who drove it from NH to Denver, no problems. Engine was essentially silent and vibration free and was quite happy at 65 mph.

  13. Pete

    Parts are easier to find for the 120 for obvious reasons. So this is one to do the minimum necessary on and then drive it. Lovely old thing 😊

  14. Pete

    Yeah that is my dream car right there. Perfect. To bad I am car poor.

  15. Bill McCoskey

    Having owned quite a few similar Packards, from the 110 [six] to the big Super 8 180 limousine, I can tell you that the 120 is a far easier car to drive than the Super 8 [160 & 180], especially over long distances. It’s one reason why I chose to keep my 120 & sell the bigger cars. The “junior” cars had a wonderful front suspension system that was both reliable and made driving far more comfortable. So much that [with permission] Rolls-Royce copied it with the introduction of the Silver Cloud series in 1955.

    As for value, The NADA Price guide suggests the “low” value [for a vehicle that is running and drive-able] is $20,000. This car will likely need a minimum of $5,000 spent before one can safely drive it on the road. Probably more like $10k.

    While no one else mentioned the interior upholstery, That reptile pattern was never listed in Packard’s standard interior option list. That said, in 1941 it was still possible at major extra cost, to order a special interior fabric or paint color, even on the 120. Like many American cars in 1941, Packard interior dash, door cappings & window surrounds were stamped steel, finished to resemble wood.

    For 1941 & 42 the 120 could be ordered with the standard “brown” wood trim, or optional trim colors [matched to exterior paint color] that included light blue and green, plus a gray. My first ’41 120 had a light green interior, and at first I suspected it was a special show car.

    I’m including a photo from the factory brochure showing the green dash.

  16. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    The auction ended at $22,500.

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