Funky Art Car: 1941 Packard Hearse

When you are reading the listing for a car that has come onto the market and you find the word “hideous” in the text, you just know that you are onto an absolute winner. I’m not kidding here, because that is one of the phrases that the owner uses to describe this 1941 Packard Hearse “Art Car.” It has deteriorated markedly since its glory days, but if nothing else, at an asking price of $1,650, it nearly has to be worth that sort of money as a parts car. If this is a car that tickles your fancy, you will find it located in Bangor, Pennsylvania, and listed for sale here on Craigslist. I really have to thank Barn Finder Ian C for referring this pretty crazy car through to us.

This is a car that does deserve a bit of background, and after some searching, I found this photo on artnet.com of the Packard in its prime. The Hearse was the work of renowned car artist Stephen “Hoop” Hooper, who passed away in 2011. His imagination was pretty wild, and the Packard was not the only car to receive his unique form of attention. He took a Fiat 850 Spyder and clad it with soda cans, while he also grafted the front of one van onto the rear of another because he claimed that he never knew whether he was coming or going. For the Packard, he decided to bedeck it in fake fur and sequins. It was nothing if not, err…distinctive.

As you can see, time and the elements have not been kind to those yards of faux fur and sequins, and the Packard is now a pretty sad sight. For all of that, the steel that we can see emerging actually looks to be surprisingly solid. It is hard to tell if there are any rust issues hiding there, but it does show some promise. Originally, the vehicle started life as a 1941 Packard Henney Hearse, and these are quite a desirable vehicle today. Whether a restoration would be a viable proposition would only be able to be determined by personal inspection, but it might be worth considering.

I don’t even want to begin to imagine what the interior of the Packard smells like. The original interior trim has made way for more fur and sequins, and the fact that the open-topped vehicle has been sitting out in the weather means that it has been exposed to all that the elements can throw at it. I think that it would be safe to assume that the majority of the interior trim would be destined for the trash, while the majority of the electrical equipment will probably follow close behind.

Powering the Packard is a 6-cylinder engine, which I believe is a Chevrolet unit. It is backed by an automatic transmission. There is no word on the car’s mechanical condition, but if a restoration is being contemplated, then this combination would probably be removed to make way for an original Packard 237ci flathead 6-cylinder engine, and 3-speed manual transmission.

As I said, the owner of this Packard does describe it as hideous, and he also says that it would be perfect to park in the driveway to upset the neighbors. However, his language when describing this option is far more colorful than I am willing to put in this article. It would definitely be worth the asking price as a parts car, and it might even be a viable proposition as a restoration project. Alternatively, maybe someone will be willing to return the car to its “Art Car” appearance as a tribute to the late “Hoop.”

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Comments

  1. Will Fox

    I wonder how many acid trips it took for the clown to finish this “prize”.

    Like 9
  2. Ben T Spanner

    He didn’t need any acid, just gallons and gallons of glue in a enclosed space. The upper rear appears to have been handcrafted by the famous Artiste. It’s best not to know what is inside the rear or what may have occurred there.

    Like 3
  3. bobk

    In this particular case, hideous might be an understatement.

    I have serious doubts that it would even be good for parts since every surface seems to have been covered by god only knows what.

    Like 10
  4. redsresto

    Nearly threw up my eggs when I saw this while eating my complementary hotel breakfast this morning.

    Like 6
  5. sg

    I have a feeling this monstrosity is actually based on a 7 passenger limo rather than a hearse. It looks like it still has a trunk lid, which slopes more than a hearse rear door would. Rollson made a town car with open driver’s compartment, but it has a different windshield pillar….so it was probably just a factory bodied long wheelbase car.

    Shame it doesn’t have the original drivetrain…It would be worth saving for some kind of custom tub.

    Like 7
    • Andrew S Mace Member

      The more I look at this (painful as it is), the more I wonder if it was not originally a convertible sedan?

      Like 4
  6. Roger Carpenter

    It is an ugly but salvagable Packard. I don’t know what engine is in it but it only has five cylinders….????? Don’t think I’d bring it back to concours, just turn it into a cool pickup maybe. The price lets you dream a little.

    Like 2
    • Dusty Stalz

      Count the spark plug wires again.

    • JBP

      6 cyl..

  7. Chebby Staff
    • PatrickM

      I actually clicked on that link. Wish I hadn’t. Yucko!! To both of them. Wasn’t going to comment, but now that I have, I wish I hadn’t.

  8. Lance

    I think the Grim Reaper already called. Yeow.

  9. Roger C.

    You are right, Dusty. I brightened my screen and #6 showed up. Still needs to go.

    Like 1
  10. Andrew

    Same guy/girl as the Olds convertible a few posts down?

    Like 1
  11. Bob McK Member

    If anyone buys this. Please let us know what you are going to do with it. The possibilities are endless.

    • Brad T.

      The chrome swan on the front of the hood is worth the asking price alone, it’s got to be worth twice the price to someone restoring one of these, you just have to look past the crap stuck all over it, there could be a treasure trove of parts under there, even a good rat rod project, the underside doesn’t look all that bad.

      Like 3
    • PatrickM

      …endless, plentiful and most desirable!! PLEASE… show us the improved product.

  12. Glenn Schwass Member

    I’d have to pay a group of teenagers to rip the crud off and out. If it isn’t rusted out( doubtful), it might be rat rod worth. I like 235’s but I doubt it has much life in it. It surely would fill a dumpster with that rotting mess. I hope someone lets us know what happens to it.

    Like 1
  13. Coventrycat

    The only time I would be happy to see a Packard go to the scrapyard and never come back.

    Like 1
  14. CanuckCarGuy

    Reminds me of the macaroni and gold paint inspired creations I pulled off in kindergarten…except I used empty jars as my canvas.

  15. kevin mummery

    Hideous is about the most charitable description of this car possible.

    Like 1
  16. Stephen Sharp

    that was just a bad idea from the begining

    Like 1
  17. David Ulrey

    Whatever form of vehicle it started life as, I’d bet the passengers that rode in it then were rolling over in their graves when it became what it did.

  18. canadainmarkseh Member

    Back when this was done it was just a cheep old used car. Know it’s a coveted Packard. My vision for this car would be to gut it down to bare metal and start over. I’d shorten the wheelbase a bit then I’d rebuild it as a boat tailed roadster. I’d make the body out of cedar with a fibreglass coating. I’d repaint it black with a red leather interior. I’d put in a SBC with a 700r transmission. Disc brakes and two stage master cylinder would also be added. Finally a set of wire spoked wheels. I think it is possible that the car I envision is lurking under this $h!t show that is presented here. No matter what happens this car is either going to the crusher or it will be a 10 year project for some one. Man is it in rough shape right now.

    Like 1
  19. Barry Traylor

    Good Grief!

  20. Little_Cars

    I like the silver 1969 Firebird sitting next to it. Wonder if that is for sale? I’m in agreement that the next owner peel off all the extraneous fur, ribbons and sequins, yank the GM 6 banger out, and see if this might be a convertible sedan or open limo that could grace the show field at the next Professional Automobile Association gathering. Might not be all that bad, certainly lighter, under all the applied garbage.

  21. Little_Cars

    Gotta love the period 1970s shift knob from the auto parts bin, down low where the driver can’t reach it! I love that these professional cars got so abused when their professional status was stripped away. Here is an extended body to give some inspiration to the next owner (if this sells).

    Like 1
  22. Mikey8

    A work of Art? Seriously???
    No

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