Parked for 50 Years: 1930 Packard 726 Sedan

There are times when customizing a car must seem like a good idea, and maybe that was part of the intent with the work that has been performed on this 1930 Packard 726. Originally a luxurious 5-seat sedan, someone has made the decision that it would also make a pretty handy pickup, so has hacked off the rear bodywork. After 50-years of inactivity, the time has come for this old classic to head to a new home. Located in Ashland, Wisconsin, you will find the Packard listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set the listing to open at $3,500 in a No Reserve auction, and while there has been no bidding action up to this point, there are 66 people who are watching the listing.

When this Packard first saw the light of day, the company was really at the peak of its power. The brand was not only America’s top-selling luxury car but was also the market leader in the export of luxury cars, with sales in a total of 61 countries. Packard was also a producer of trucks at one point in their history, but at some point, a previous owner of this 726 must have decided that those vehicles weren’t quite luxurious enough, so has taken to this 726 in a positively do-it-yourself effort. The result probably wasn’t pretty when the work was originally performed, but 50-years and some exposure to the elements have only made it look worse. There is rust in the floors, but we can’t get a good look at the frame to ascertain its condition. There is some rust in the front fenders, but what remains of the original body actually doesn’t appear to be too bad. The car does feature a couple of really nice and unusual factory options, including the rear luggage rack, and the fender-mounted park lights.

One of the areas in which Packard excelled during the era in which this car was produced was in the design and building of engines. In this case, the engine of choice is the 320ci (actually 319.2ci) straight-eight engine. This flathead beauty produced 90hp, which went to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. These two features were a strong selling point at the time because the engine was both smooth and quiet for one produced in this era, while the transmission was also smooth and light in operation when compared to offerings from the competition. This engine is largely complete, but it isn’t known if it even turns freely, as it hasn’t run in more than 50-years. Having said that, it does look clean and surprisingly free of the sort of corrosion that you might expect from a car that has been sitting for so long, so the next owner might just be a bit lucky on that front.

Given the fate of the rest of the 726, the dash looks surprisingly good, and could definitely be restored. The factory heater is still sitting under the dash, and the frame and springs for the front seat are also present. The rest of the interior has probably suffered the same fate as the rear bodywork, which is a crying shame. Even with what little remains today, you can get a real impression of just how luxurious the 726 must have been when new. Even though it was built on the shortest wheelbase (127.5″) for a Packard sedan at the time, the car featured an enormous amount of legroom, both front, and rear. Occupants could really stretch out in total comfort.

I guess that now we have to take a good look at this Packard and decide exactly what to do with it. Restoration of the car will represent a major undertaking, and the missing bodywork would either have to be replaced with second-hand items, or completely new panels would need to be fabricated by hand. This could be done, but it would not be a cheap exercise. If the engine and transmission actually prove to be in good health, then that would be a bonus. The deciding factor then would be what the ultimate value is likely to be. The 726 is not a particularly rare car, but then again, you won’t find thousands of them for sale at the present time. While a really good one can set you back anywhere around the $65,000 mark, there are a few clean and driveable examples on the market at present for below $35,000. If the next owner decides that they would like to restore the car and can secure it for around the opening bid price-range, there does appear to be a reasonable amount of room to move on the restoration and have it still remain financially viable. However, with the amount of specialist work that might be required to bring the body back to its best, it could also be a restoration that will eventually cost more than the car would ultimately be worth. That would make the restoration a labor of love.

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Comments

  1. Rube Goldberg Member

    This was probably someones idea of a tow truck, that never came to be. It was a common practice to take these , what we call “full classics” today, cut the back off and put a truck body or hoist on the back. They were better than what truck makers were offering at the time. Not sure what to do with it now. With diminished interest in the 1st place, going to be a tough sell. I’m sure there’s a body somewhere, but they can’t sell nice ones, much less a basket case like this. Kinda sad, the old gal was once so proud.

    Like 12
    • Solar

      We use to call them cutoffs. A guy would have something like an old Belaire who’d been struggling to find work, find a job but didn’t have a pickup would cut the back out, converting it into a pickup.

      Like 2
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Perfect opportunity to build a custom roadster body that’s what I’d do. I love the look of boat tails so that’s the route I’d go. When it was new it got a custom body from one of many coach builders so why not a new custom body. When done I’d paint it burnt orange with black fenders and a dark tan interior.

      Like 3
      • Tom Bell

        I think canadian’s on the right track here–a roadster or coupe, maybe even fabricate a boat-tail. It would be a great project for the person with the right skills and still preserve the dignity of the fine car it once was.

        Like 1
  2. Rick Durrett

    Maybe someone will buy it for a parts car

    Like 1
  3. Dairyman

    They didn’t have 4 speed transmissions in 1930, just 3 speed.
    Leave it a pickup at this point, theres no way to refabricate the wood frame and the panels and everything else. Sorry but lots of craftmanship got lost over the last 90 years.

    Like 5
  4. OddBallCars

    There is currently a body and frame for a 31 Packard on eBay item number 153336739172. Packard didn’t change their body styles year by year, but series by series. The one on eBay doesn’t mention the series, but I believe it’s the same. So someone should be able to marry them together pretty easily. The wheelbase may be different, but the body and frame for the 31 match, so you could use the frame and body from the 31 and the drivetrain front fenders and clip out of the 30. You might MIGHT be able to do it without being too far upside down cost wise too.

    Like 13
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Would loved to have had that much sheet metal to do a couple cars we’ve reincarnated. Going in money might be too much for some folks but those two in one pile would make an easy rebuild.

  6. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Nothing like writing Rolls Royce on both sides of the hood and hack off the body. You’d have to be the ultimate bodyman to restore that body, but it is possible given enough money.
    I think to most it would be a parts car only.

  7. lc

    Looks like a great candidate for a phantom speedster. If a custom re-body is your thing, this just might be the ticket.

    Like 1
  8. Wayne

    I, personally, would carry on with the pickup plan. Make up some bed sides, a tailgate, close in the back of the cab, and blow some minds when you pull into Home Depot to grab some 2 x 4’s and plywood.

    Like 2
  9. Kurt

    A lot depends on the state of its innards. If the drive train can be saved I would simply find a donor body for the back and restore it. These are amazing cars when restored.

    Like 1
  10. Eigil

    To put the ebay body on this unit is easy, not difficult at all. The time will be spent trasing old wood work, then to saw out the new wood is a simple task, having a good band saw. This job could be done on dedicated spare time, in a year. Correcting possible differences between 1930 and 1931 will depend, it will have be researched before-hand. Would make a majestic car!

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