Henney’s Nu-3-Way: 1953 Packard Hearse

1953 Packard Henney Hearse

As I was busy writing today, I realized something just felt off. As I was mulling the issue over, I realized what day of the week it is and that’s when it hit me. It’s Wagon Wednesday and we haven’t featured a wagon in a while. Thankfully during my daily hunt, I came across a rather unusual wagon on eBay that caught my attention. The wagon in question is this 1953 Packard Henney Hearse, which you can find here on eBay out of Durham, North Carolina. It may look odd, but it is exceptionally rare!

Packard Hearse Interior

Henney was one of many American Couch builders turned funeral hearse manufactures. At one time it was one of the best known hearse builders in the country. They were also one of the first to offer the 3-way loading system, called the Nu-3-Way, which allowed caskets to be loaded from either side or the rear. It was an ingenious system, but was an expensive option that wasn’t fitted to many cars. Most speculate that there were likely only a handful ordered with this option.

1953 Packard Hearse

The seller claims it has been in the family for many years and that it was restored once during their childhood. They had hoped to restore it yet again, but are having to let it go for personal reasons. They have already gone through the brakes and fuel system, but it needs exhaust work. To sweeten the deal, the seller is throwing in the casket that is in the car. It seems a bit morbid, but what hearse is complete without a casket?

Packard Henney Hearse

This could make for a great buy, especially if you like package deals. I feel terrible saying this, but buying this wagon is just smart planning for the future. You can enjoy it in this life and it can carry you into the next! All morbid jokes aside, this really is a rare and interesting piece of history. I hope someone saves it, but obviously it is going to take a certain type of buyer. So, would you be caught dead in this wagon?

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Comments

  1. John E.

    I love it! When I was younger my step dad had a friend who had a few 58 Chevy hearses I always wanted one with coffin. This would be a great project in many ways.

  2. Randy F

    Great car and is based on the 400 series Patrician. I had a 53 Patrician and they are seriously easy to restore! Lots of parts are available and many of the mechanical bits are available from GM suppliers, much as they were in 1953.

  3. jim s

    it is almost holloween and you get a hearse with a casket! it is also a Packard with an inline 8cyl and a manual transmission. it will be interesting to see where the bidding stops on this. great find

  4. paul

    Sooo coool these Henney’s & soooo large a project.

  5. Mike Ramey

    I could die for a car like this………………………….

    Like 1
    • Nick I

      That’s a good one Mike…

  6. Dolphin Member

    Well it’s not purty, but it sure is unusual. Hearses are interesting vehicles, for more reasons than the uncommon use that they are put to. This one makes me think of Neil Young’s first car, an old Buick hearse from the same era as this one. He wrote one of the greatest songs ever about it, “Long May You Run”. He named it Mort, and I read that he used it to carry gear and travel to his gigs in his early days in Manitoba, Ontario and the upper midwest.

    As much as this is an unsual model based on a long-gone make and should be saved, I can’t see putting my cash into it. Too many other cars that are better for my personal uses. But it should definitely be saved…maybe a big funeral business that could make use of it some way.

    • ConservativesDefeated

      Long May You Run, Dolphin! Years ago before it became a big deal I saw a ’50 Packard hearse with the 3 way loading system at Hershey. The self leveling system was super cool. Have to admit I like the bathtub Packards better than the end of the run Packards though.

  7. Dirty Dingus McGee

    It’s to die for.

    (Thanks folks, I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip your server)

    Like 1
  8. SlowCode

    Looks like the trim is intact which is huge. All else can be refinished.

  9. Bear

    It’s not the cough that carries you off its the coffin!

  10. Charlie H

    Interesting find for sure. The eBay listing leaves me cold due to the bad grammar and sellers (0) rating……

  11. The Chucker

    Resto-mod potential?

  12. jimmyrk3

    I agree with Charlie H about the grammar. Maybe the casket isn’t the only thing from Malaysia.

  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I hope the breaks don’t brake.

  14. William Henshaw

    It’s a brutish looking, downright ugly vehicle. But it does have some charm to it. Pillarless suicide doors, cool door in the back and more headroom than most mini vans. If you restore it you will have to have pretty deep pockets and all you’ll end up with is a restored hearse that has very little appeal to most people. So I’m wondering just how much room you could get by removing all the hearse equipment and converting it into some wild looking retro limo. Yeah I know, it’s still going to cost a lot to do, but in the end you’d have this retro limo that could be rented out, you could have that weird car you always wanted and a part time job too. :)

  15. Chuck Foster Chuck F (55chevy)

    My step dad always ran across different cars, I was in 3rd grade and we had a black hearse, late 40s I think, red interior, I remember one night they went to someone’s house and left me in the car. It broke down and was stored at his work yard in Ft Wayne IN, some vandals set it on fire.

  16. Dow

    My great-grandfather had a hearse. He had a work crew, and he put wooden benches along the sides for the crewmen to sit on on the way to the site. Sadly that’s all of the story I know, and I never got to see it, but nonetheless I always thought it was pretty cool.

  17. William Lum

    This is my hearse and I still have it plus a 53 Patrician and 1954 Junior Hearse. I do plan to sale but have decided to repair more of the Vehicle including new exhaust system. I want to give this the best chances of being restored.

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