No Reserve: 1954 Packard Convertible

It’s incredible how some classics will appear on our desks here at Barn Finds, and they are immediately recognizable. Such is the case with this 1954 Packard Convertible. Not only is it a rare vehicle, but we have featured it before in this excellent article. Nearly three years have passed since that day, and little has changed for this Packard. It remains in need of plenty of TLC, but it is a solid and complete car. We can only hope that whoever buys it this time will treat it to the restoration it so richly deserves. If you believe you could be that person, you will find the Packard located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and listed for sale here on eBay. The bidding has reached $4,805 in a No Reserve auction.

The Packard is a classy-looking car, although its styling was not considered radical in 1954. The owner says it wears its original Packard Ivory paint, although it has seen better days. The buyer will probably choose to strip the panels back to bare metal, but apart from some minor bruises and blemishes, they won’t have a lot of repair work to perform. The best news with this car is its rust-free status. The exterior looks particularly clean, while the owner says the floor, frame, and trunk are solid. If there is surface corrosion on the vehicle’s underside, the wise move would be to strip this Packard to the last nut and bolt to perform the restoration to the highest standard. This approach may prove crucial if the project is to remain financially viable. The frame for the Convertible top is present, but like the rest of the vehicle, it would benefit from restoration. The same is true of the trim and chrome, but the glass in both doors is cracked. While it represents a long list of work, it should be no more complicated than for any other similar car from this era.

If one aspect of this restoration is likely to cause headaches, it is returning the interior to its former glory. The original owner ordered the car trimmed in a combination of Red and White, and it retains most of its original trim. However, the upholstered surfaces are badly trashed, except for the back seat. The problem here is that replacement interior trim for a Packard is not thick on the ground. The buyer may find that they have to employ the services of an upholsterer to custom make a new set of soft trim using the existing items as a template. They will also need to source a new carpet set and restore the painted surfaces. On the plus side, it remains complete and unmolested, and the factory radio is intact in the dash. There’s no doubt that it will look good once restored, but it is likely to consume a fair slice of cash to get it to that point.

Packard offered the 1954 Convertible with a single engine. It is the 359ci straight-eight flathead that produced an impressive 212hp and 330 ft/lbs of torque. That power found its way to the rear wheels via an Ultramatic transmission. At 4,430lbs, the Packard is slightly on the porky side. That makes the ¼ mile ET of 19.1 seconds look pretty impressive. The owner says that this classic was driven into a barn by its previous owner fifty years ago. It entered the building under its own power, but it doesn’t run today. He has filled the cylinders with oil, and the motor turns freely. He hasn’t attempted to coax it back to life, and that task will fall to the new owner. However, I suspect they will want to scrutinize everything before attempting this to ensure that they do no damage that could require expensive repairs.

The owner of this 1954 Packard Convertible claims that fully restored, it is a vehicle that could command a value of $55,500. While that is a NADA guide price, it seems to be supported by recent sales in the classic market. However, getting it to that point will be a long journey for the new owner, and it won’t be a cheap process. While locating some of the necessary parts will not be difficult, refurbishing the interior will likely consume a fair amount of money. Even if the bidding remains in its current region, that does place a question mark over the viability of this car as a restoration project. If the buyer can perform most of the essential work themselves, that could swing the scales in its favor. What do you think?


  1. Richard Kirschenbaum

    I remember Berkeley Models in the ’50s offered wooden kits of certain classics (contemporary at the time) One was of the ’53 Carribian convertible and another of the Chrysler ‘D Elegance. Although their airplane kits were first rate, the car kits were horrendous and all but unbuildable particularly the Chrysler. I located and bought the Packard and Chrysler (NOS kits) online and yep! they were terrible especially in light of the plastic kits that became available at the same time. Still they command big money.

  2. george mattar

    One of my best friends is restoring a 1951 model like this. He paid like $3,000 about 10 years ago. Body needs paint but very little rust repair. He rebuilt the carburetor and that flat head starts immediately and idles perfectly. It needs a new top, but he has aligned all the doors, etc and is going to paint it himself in the spring. Such quality in contrast to the Big Three. Shame Packard went under thanks mostly to James Nance, the idiot running Packard into the ground in the early 50s.

    Like 10
    • Mike

      Did a quick Wiki search on Nance. After Packard he went on to be vice president of Ford’s Mercury Edsel Lincoln Division, but resigned under pressure from top Ford executives in 1959 when the Edsel’s sales were poor.

      Like 6
  3. Bob Kowal

    They were a really super well built car.

    Like 1

    Normally I am not about projects needing everything. This is a little different. For the most part it appears to have been cared for. The condition doesn’t appear too bad. The original colors are what you would want.

    The 54 Packard Senior series survivors are rare. Rag tops even more. My thought is the family who owned it knew it was special.

    History is Packard needed a new body in 52 and promised by 54. Didn’t happen. As you can see additional trim was added to the rear to simulate all new. A thin cover up. They were still being built on Grand Blvd. then.

    If Nance gave into the merger opportunity to combine Packard with the independents to create a large American Motors. George Romney at the helm of coarse. One would think in some part Packard would still be around.

  5. Rustytech Member

    If I were 10 years younger I would be seriously looking at this one. I bet done this is going to be a stunner. Always liked Packards and I have always been a fan of drop tops. Unfortunately age and health preclude taking on another project of this magnitude.

    Like 5
  6. matt

    My Dad had a Packard when I was a kid. I went to the showroom with him and my Mom the night they bought their Patrician 4 door; I sat in a Caribbean convertible in the showroom and beeped the horn and scared the sh1t out of everybody there – and me. Those cars rode well, and ran well, oddly, my dad was working at the Brookpark (Cleveland engine Plant #2) Ford plant at the time as a foremen on the 8 line – guys went by and had pretty car comments on the car when I went with Mom on the days we picked him up because she needed it for shopping. The brass didn’t like it that he did not have a Ford, but in ’57’ he bought a Country Squire wagon with a Thunderbird special engine (312) which had rocker arm oiler problems along with rocker gallery return issues, so that Ford bit the dust. I didn’t like the years of Packards after 1954 so much though, but I know other people do, and that’s fine.
    Merry Christmas to everyone !!

    Like 1
  7. Rob Overweg

    I’m the proud new owner of this beauty. Looking forward to getting it back to its original glory.

    Like 4
    • Stevieg Member

      Keep us posted on your progress. Good luck to ya!

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