Golden Beauty: 1949 50th Annivesary Packard

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This beautiful “Golden Anniversary” (1949 was Packard’s 50th year) Packard Super Eight may be gold, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the original paint. Why? There were only a few Packards painted gold that year, and the paint was essentially clear lacquer with gold pigment; the paint deteriorated very quickly and most gold cars were rapidly repainted in other colors. This particular car is in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania and is listed for sale here on craigslist for $12,995. Thanks to MGeorge1804 for this great tip!

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How beautiful. Such a graceful looking mascot on a graceful looking car! The seller states that no panels are rusted, and given the paint I can believe it. There is some oxidation on the chrome around the windows, and I’m sure the car is not in concours condition. But it is beautiful, nonetheless.

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The rear of the Packard is also quite pleasing to the eye; at least to mine. The Super Eight was actually below the Custom Eight, the Custom Super Eight and the Super Eight Deluxe in the rather confusing 1949 Packard lineup, but still had Packard’s excellent engineering and smooth inline 8 cylinder engine. Unfortunately, the seller didn’t include pictures of the engine.

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The interior certainly looks nice! I would like to read the service decal in the door jamb just to see what the date is!

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The back seat is just as nice, and looks like a nice place to spend some time if someone else is interested in driving this beauty. It reminds me of my grandparents’ couch! That’s not a bad thing, by the way.

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Just look at that dash! Art Deco at it’s finest. Very classy! I just love that horn push! And the interior is original. The seller tells us that the car runs and drives, and I can certainly believe it considering how nice it looks. I’m not sure if it’s worth as much as the seller thinks it is, although with an average retail of $9,950 maybe the price isn’t that bad–and of course you can always make an offer below the asking price. Interested?

 

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. boxdin

    Nice car, but after seeing the chop top Ian Rosseau did on tv all Packards of this style need that chop job. They are ugly stock.

    • racer99

      In some ways I really like this but I have to admit I keep seeing the altered roof-line that Rosseau did initially and think about how much better it would look chopped that way.

  2. DrinkinGasoline

    Packards, like Chrysler products of the time had “chair height seating” which made them very comfortable to drive….love it.

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    That’s a real nice car. The gold color really sets if off, much better than the darker colors I often see. The price confirms that the hobby isn’t all that hard to enter or maintain. It’s missing the visor though, Howard… Seems to me yours was a ’50 model…

    • Howard A Member

      Hi geomechs, sigh,,,here we go again. Stop me if you’ve heard this one,,,,,yes, mine was a ’50 Standard 8 with Ultramatic, the 1st year for the fully automatic. My grandfather bought a brand new Custom 8 in 1948. It was his 1st new car, and paid $2,800 for it.( almost $28,000 today) We found the sales slip many years later. He had the “Cormorant” hood ornament, which was an $18 dollar item ($177 today) His car was more like this, with the 3 speed and overdrive and “Electromatic Clutch”, which I believe this car has, and is mistakenly called an automatic, when it clearly has a clutch pedal. The clutch would be sucked down with engine vacuum when the throttle was released.( but you still had to move the shift lever) I did have a visor, I bought 2 parts cars, just to get the visor. Made the car look much better. I like visors. My grandfather wrecked his Packard in 1961, and took the hood ornament off before they junked it. It sat in his basement, until he passed away in 1980. In 1981, we found our ’50 Packard. It had sat in a back yard when the owner parked it in 1959 when he refused to pay more than .25 cents a gallon for gas, his widow told us. We got the car (for $500) and restored it and put my grandfather’s hood ornament proudly on the hood. We had that car almost 30 years, and while it may not have been the classiest looking Packard, let me tell you, that baby rolled like thunder. It was Packard all the way. It had fallen into disrepair, and needed a full restoration, and we sold it a few years ago to a very nice guy, who was just as proud to have it as we were 30 years earlier, but we kept the hood ornament.( over $300 today at swap meets) The guy even asked us about that, and I said, sorry, that stays with us. Thanks for listening, all. I loved my Packard.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Howard. I’m going to have to write ‘Cormorant’ down. I keep forgetting the word. Hang onto it and don’t despair; there might be another great car to slide underneath it in the future…

      • Charles e. Thompson

        I have two brand new cormorants.

  4. Mark S Member

    Very nice car, makes me wonder why the price on something like this is low while the price on a rusted out Porsche is so high. Hopefully this car will land in the he hands of someone the will preserve and maintain it as well as enjoy it and use it. Nice find I would love to own it

  5. Dean

    Not Packards finest hour.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Dean, I respectfully disagree, Packard’s worst hour was 1957. These were quality automobiles. Packard was a huge name in WW.2, and brought much of that knowledge to the post-war cars. The straight 8 was so smooth, I was told you could balance a nickel on the head while it was running. Never tried it, but that motor was smooth. While I only buried the speedo once with my Packard, my old man remembers riding in my grandfather’s Packard, and routinely cruising 60+ mph on gravel roads. With all the modern( for the time) advances, I think this was Packard’s FINEST hour.

  6. Jubjub

    Cool ride. Yeah, these are always derided as ugly but I dig ’em. Cool like like era Hudsons.

  7. Bill McCoskey

    I’ve owned at least 30 22nd & 23rd series [1948-50] Packards, and still have a ’48 Super – 8 Convertible. This is not a Super – 8 sedan. For the 23rd series cars, the Super got the longer wheelbase [7″ longer hood], and instead of the “egg crate” grill center, the Super had 3 curving horizontal bars. The engine was the 5 main bearing 327 straight eight.

    The 23rd series Standard – 8 and Deluxe – 8 had the grill shown on this car. The interior also indicates it’s not a Super, as the seat surfaces are flat, no tuft & button treatment as found on the Super – 8 cars. Deluxe – 8 cars also had a center armrest in the back seat, and I don’t see one in the pic. The outside rear belt line trim that ends at the trunk lid also indicates it’s not a Super. Supers had an additional trim continuing about another 2 feet down the base of the trunk lid, on both sides. The taillight lenses with the 2 large ribs are correct for the Super, but are an easy change for the correct flat lenses. The interior is a mis-match of Standard & Super parts too.
    And the wire wheels were never offered on the 23rd series cars, the first year for Packard Wire Wheels was 1953.

    Packard Motor Company did create a large number of Standard – 8 sedans with the gold paint [had a few actual gold flecks in the paint]. The cars were parked in the center of the 2.5 mile oval test track at Packard’s proving grounds. Each Packard dealer was told to come to Detroit and pick up their “Golden Anniversary edition Packard” and drive it home, everyone leaving the proving grounds at the same time. Each car came with a small velour box with 2 machined brass keys inside. The keys had the Packard crest on the front & the traditional hexagon emblem on the rear. The keys were cut to work in that specific car.

    I’m willing to bet that the first 4 digits of the serial number are 2392
    23 = series
    9 = Standard 8
    2 = 4-door sedan

    And Howard A — I ran a Packard service garage for many years and I can’t even begin to think about how many nickels I’ve balanced on edge, on the top of the cylinder head, at idle. Not just the 9 – main bearing 356 & 327 engines, but the smaller 5 – main bearing engines too.

    About 1989 I bought a 1,100 mile 1950 Packard Custom Eight sedan, all original including tires. I had heard stories from the older Packard service guys about how quiet the cars ran when new. I was finally able to experience that level of quiet running with this car & it’s ultra-low mileage, the only sound you could hear as the car sat idling, was the sound of the exhaust, lightly whooshing.

    Like 2
    • Dave Wright

      I have been wanting to ask you about the 1948 Packard limo on eBay. If it was closer, I would have already bought it. Have you seen it? It is in Florida.

      • Bill McCoskey

        Dave — what kind of info do you want? That car in Florida is a 22nd series Super, a 7-passenger sedan [no partition]. These were marketed to funeral companies as a compliment to the big Packard Custom-8 hearses. They had the same large 3 row seating body [It was long accepted that Henney built these lwb cars, but lately it’s now believed Briggs built them.] They have a 141″ wheel base instead of the 148″ of the Custom-8 limo, and the 327 cu in 5 main bearing engine, instead of the big 356 9-main bearing engine. The price? NADA lists a nice, average car at $20k and a #1 at over $40k

      • Dave Wright

        Thankyou, I did not think of a funeral car but that makes sense. Too bad it doesn’t have the big engine, I was sure that at that size it would. You are great. I thought about you the other day when I brought my 1966 Chrysler imperial convertible home.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Bill, as always, thanks for the expertise!

    • Howard A Member

      Thanks Bill. Don’t forget the “whistling gas filler” ( which actually embarrassed me to the point of getting gas in 5 gallon cans, and taking them home to the car) and the fluorescent green numbers on the gauges at night. Ours had the 288 ci engine, and the automatic kept acceleration at bay, but once it got rolling, it was just a nice car.

      • Bill McCoskey

        While the basic patent for the auto shut-off nozzle dates to 1939, in the late 1940s most fuel dispensing pumps still didn’t have a self shut-off nozzle. The Packard fuel tank was designed to whistle until it was about a gallon from full. That way the attendant knew when to stop filling. I’ve found that the whistling does attract comments from the curious, and as soon as they hear why it whistles, people often ask why they don’t still do it today!

        And of course those glowing green instruments were indeed coated with radium!

  8. Charles

    I love the Packard’s of this era! This is one car that I would never chop or modify. Granted it looks dated and stodgy, but that is part of its charm.

    Like 1
  9. Jim Marshall

    Even though this seems like a real nice car I never cared for this bathtub body style. This previous body I found much more appealing. This is a 46.

    • james marshall

      I agree this previous body style from 1940 or 41 was a much better looking car. I think 1948 was the change to the bathtub body.

      Like 1
  10. Bill McCoskey

    Went back and read the original post on Craig’s list and the serial number is 2362 — a Deluxe 8

  11. Bill McCoskey

    Dave Wright —

    While the “Super Business limo” cars were a little under powered, for a funeral home they were a great choice, a lower price than a Cadillac lwb car, it was priced more along the Buick 90 limo.
    And I’m envious you have a ’66 Imperial convertible, I’ve always wanted one. I’ve had a white ’64 convertible, and a ’65 Imperial Ghia limousine [#9 of 10 built]. It had ’66 trim because it took them over 2 years to complete the car. I bought the limo from the original owner’s estate in 1992, with a genuine 5,700 miles showing. According to the chauffeur, he used the limo only to go to/from Washington Redskins games, and often shared the drive with Joe Gibbs, the Redskin’s head coach.

  12. donald jones

    Bill always amazed at your expertise . have owned a few different strait 8 engined cars including the strait 8 hornet that set the land speed record ,non of these strait eights idled as smooth as the packard . and as for the price 12995 is still cheaper than the cheapest new kia made the rio which sells for 15015. I know which one I would buy, and its not the RIO .

    Like 1
  13. Bill McCoskey

    Donald — When it comes to straight 8 cars [non Packard] I’ve owned a Commodore 8 w/Twin H power, ’40 & ’42 Pontiacs, ’36 Pierce Arrow [one of the last], Marmon, and it’s little brother Roosevelt. Oh, also almost forgot — Studebaker Dictator 8, but only owned if for a very short time. Not even the Pierce Arrow or Marmon could come close to the quality of the “junior” Packard engines. The largest destroyer of Packard engines is not mis-use, but because the heads are sooo easy to remove, it’s taking the head off and doing nothing more. Many is the engine I’ve found with rusty cylinder walls, and no valve problems at all. “Running rough? Pull the head!”

    Like 1
  14. Audie Waterson

    I came across a photo of a field full of gold Packards. So I was curious as to why they would they build that many of one color then park them in an open field. And for that fact where was that field? The cars in the for grown looked to be all Two door sedans. So that was even more a quandary. I’m thinking are these fleet cars a large company had bought. So I had to Google it. This was the first thing it come up with. Thank you for the Info.

  15. Bill McCoskey

    Audie,

    This is an easy answer question. Packard Motor Car Company had a huge “Drive-away” event. The cars you see in the picture were parked in the center of the 2.5 mile oval test track. Each Packard Dealer was provided with at least one Packard Deluxe 8 sedan in the gold color scheme. The Dealers all took the train to Detroit and either drove their car back to their hometown, or drove it to a loading dock outside of the Packard facility, where it would have been loaded onto a car hauler for the long trip.

    They were also provided with a small flocked box with the Packard crest in gold on the lid. Inside was a set of gold plated Packard crest keys, cut to fit that car.

    Back in the late 1970s I had the opportunity to talk with one Dealer’s son who drove his dad’s car home to Southern PA. He said it was a big press story in Detroit for 1949. Dealers also got a tour of the factory and a banquet dinner, before leaving in their new cars

    Like 2
    • Howard A. Member

      Unless you already mentioned it, I believe it was in honor of their golden anniversary.

  16. Bill McCoskey

    Howard,
    Yes you are correct, I think I might have mentioned it earlier, but should have again. Thanks for the additional info.

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