Hardtop Luxury: 1955 Packard 400

The combined Studebaker-Packard Corporation was having hard times when this 1955 Packard 400 came onto the scene. In another year, the company would produce its last car in Detroit and a couple of years after that, Packards would be gone. This luxurious two-door hardtop can be found here on eBay as a classified ad in Ham Lake, Minnesota. The asking price is $5,750 or you can make an offer.

This has to be one of the last great Packard designs, what a beautiful car. Those Dagmars really stand out, so to speak. They’re usually associated with Cadillacs but Packard was no slouch in that department. Ok, enough of that. The Packard 400, or Four-Hundred, was last made for the 1955 and 1956 model years and they came as a two-door hardtop model.

Packard previously used the 400 name as the highest trim level on the Patrician line but now, for 1955 and 1956, it was a standalone model. This car almost has it all, design-wise. The previously-mentioned proud front bumper is great, and those built-in exhaust ports in the rear bumper are even better than the front bumper is. The trunk is filled with stuff, hopefully all usable car-related items. They show the underside and it looks rusty, and I see something with a rust hole, is that the exhaust?

This car, at least when new, would have been so luxurious and beautiful. It’s well-used now but like an aging film star, there’s a level of experience, charm, and grace about this interior. And, it has power windows and a power front seat! The dash is gorgeous, just what you would expect in a Packard. The seller doesn’t give us much information about this car but they provide several photos. The back seat would be well worth riding in during a cross-country trip, the legroom looks adequate even for me. This car has Packard’s two-speed Ultramatic automatic transmission.

The engine is Packard’s ultra-smooth and powerful 352 cubic-inch V8 which would have had 260 hp and 355 ft-lb of torque. All they say is that it doesn’t run due to sitting for a few years. I’m hopeful that it will run again, this car deserves to get back on the road again ASAP. Hagerty is at $6,300 for a #4 fair condition car and this one may not be at that point but with a $14,800 #3 good condition value, a home-restoration could bring this Packard back to its former glory again and hopefully not break the bank. Are there any Packard fans out there?

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Comments

  1. GCS Member

    I never saw a three tone car. I wonder if the blue on the bottom was on the roof at one time. I love it because it is the color of my 57 Chevy that was my firsy car. A lot of work but love the leather interior. Not sure if it is a viable restoration financially since I don’t know what they are worth restored. Sure looks nice though..

    3
    • Ed P

      Three tone cars were a “thing” in the mid 50’s

      6
      • DAVID PAYNE

        I wish two or three tone cars would return as I loved them. They were not boring like some are today.

        3
      • Stan Marks

        Very true, Ed.
        Buick made a ton of them, back then. And they were all beautiful.

        1
    • Bill Hall

      The end value of a restoration isn’t everything. Why not do the best job you can without breaking the bank for total perfection and take It out and enjoy it whenever possible.

      4
    • George Reuter

      In 55 and 56, all manufacturers in the US had three color cars. Tri-Color was tried by Chrysler and GM on some of the higher priced cars for an additional ten or twenty dollars more and yes they were nicely done. Look up some of MoPar and GNM cars in that era.

      1
    • dr fine

      My uncle’s folks had a ’56 Chevy 210 hardtop that was quad tone, black/grey/coral/white. It drew crowds of wannabe buyers everywhere it went.

  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    What a classy car and it’s a 2 door hard top. If I had money and a place to put it I’d grab this car. You will get stares, thumbs up, and long conversations everywhere you go in it. As for 3 tones if I’m not mistaken ford had cars that were black and pink on the sides with a white roof. I actually wish the auto makers would bring back at least 2 tone cars, they would be fantastic.

    9
  3. JohnfromSC

    Given how expensive the convertibles are, I wonder if it is even somewhat practical to brace the frame and do a drop top conversion on one of these.

    1
  4. IkeyHeyman Member

    I’ve watched how prices of these have been dropping over the recent years. It’s too bad, they were well-built cars but fewer people want to invest time and money in a Packard anymore.

    8
    • JP

      Probably better to spend a bit more on a well sorted example than try to restore this one, unless repairs are minor and you can live with seat covers. The rust is the real deal breaker…

      1
  5. Howard A Member

    I say this everytime I see one of these grand cars, this is the car that should have saved Packard, if management wasn’t so messed up, or whatever the cause of Packards demise, who cares, we’ve been over it and over it. Just a shame, that’s all. This car did indeed have it all. Some say these were the nicest riding cars ever produced. A hefty claim, but being the past owner of a Packard, I’d believe it. This car? Too rough. I don’t see anyone today taking this car apart. Incredibly expensive to do so, they have to be nicer initially for any appeal. No bids at what I would consider a good deal, pretty much bolsters what I say.

    6
  6. moosie moosie Member

    I was a kid that grew up in the Bronx ,1958, 1959, and when we played stickball on the city streets our dug out was the 1/4 panel or front fenders of cars parked at the curb. I remember one of these Packards always on our block and when we’d sit on the fender or 1/4 panel the suspension would raise the car up. The owner would always yell at us to get off of his e’ffin Packard from his top floor window. It was a very nice car, dark green and white with a paint scheme very much like this one.

    2
  7. Angel Cadillac Diva

    Canadainmarkseh…… They brought 2 tone paint back in the 80s and they were awful!!!

  8. Will Owen Member

    I am a Packard fan, though my serious interest stops with my own birth year – 1941 – because that was the last (and perhaps best) year for the separate-fender cars. Yes, the balloon-bodied Clippers and their Senior Series companions were more efficient of space and cheaper to build, but until around 1950, when the greenhouse got its own space atop the fender line, they (like the equally bloated Lincolns) were hardly worth drawing, which was all I could do with cars then (except go for rides).

    It is a shame that the serious work that went into the last true Packards was all but wasted. The OHV V8 was as good as any US engine, and better than most, and the self-leveling torsion-bar suspension was about as good as you could get with steel springs and a solid rear axle.

    As for me, one of “Dutch” Darrin’s 1941 sedans, or better yet a wagon, on a 110 or 120 chassis, would do me just fine, and I bet my “boss” would even let me keep it, at least after I re-homed the Alfa. But as they (almost) say, if wishes were Packards, beggars could drive …

    2
  9. Fred Alexander

    1956 Dodge Custom Royal Charcoal, Pink , White Tri Color – – 1954/ 56 DeSoto Charcoal, Salmon Pink, White tri Color etc. 56 Dodge Custom Royal Charcoal, white, and a n Aqua blue color (hard to describe Loved them back then as a new 16 year old who could now “legally drive, still love those cars today.
    I know someone in MOPAR Land will have the color combinations and feel free to correct me – – – I’ll not be offended. Actually the 55 Plymouth and Dodge bodies were streamlined enough to be able to do some mils custom work on and look great. Now this many years I’l like to own one totally original – – – tastes change with age – – nope we don’t necessarily get smarter – – just some tastes in cars and girls change – – oooops gone too far – – – tastes in classy ladies will never change.

    1
  10. MIKE READING

    the 1958 edsel was available in single colors, two tone, and tri tone, paint schemes. that sure was alot of choices to pick from, tri tones were gone for 59. still love my copper and white 58 edsel.

    1

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