Post-War Drop-Top: 1948 Packard Victoria

The 1948-49 Packard models were some of the first all-new cars after World War II. The debuting Super Eight and Custom Eight Victoria convertibles were Packard’s first open-air automobiles since 1942. This ’48 edition looks to have been kept out of the clutches of Mother Nature as the body appears to be mostly rust-free. Though its engine is out of the car, the motor is included with the sale. Located in Denver, Colorado, this once luxurious drop-top is available here on craigslist for $11,000. Our thanks to Gunter Kramer for this great tip!

These post-war Packard’s are often referred to as “inverted bathtubs” or “soap bars” due to their impressive, rounded-body styling. Changes included a longer hood, an “ox-yoke” shaped upper grille, a full-width wraparound lower grille, and a pair of simplified, vertical front bumper guards. They received a “Fashion Car of the Year” award from the New York Fashion Academy. Several variants of the Packard’s were offered, with the Super and Custom models being at the top of the pecking order, hence that’s where the Victoria convertible was positioned.

Super Eight Victoria convertibles road on 120-inch wheelbases while the Custom Eights had a 127-inch wheelbase span. Production numbers were relatively low at 4,750 and 1,103 copies, respectively. We’re not sure which is which relative to the seller’s car, but we’re going with the shorter wheelbase being applicable here. Depending on the model, these cars came with either a 327 or a 356 cubic-inch L-Head eight-cylinder engine. The seller tells us the engine is still around, just not under the hood.

The body looks solid on this 74-year-old car, with a little rust here and there, mostly on the lower portions of the driver’s side. We’re told the car is all there, although the photos don’t paint that picture. The interior looks to be largely missing but perhaps pieces are sitting nearby. The convertible top canvas is long gone, but hopefully, all the hardware is present. This Packard looks like it has the makings of a nice restoration project. With the likely attrition over the past seven decades, there can’t be many of these Victoria drop-tops left.


  1. Fred W

    Doc on “Back to the Future” would approve! Amazing how much the rear end looks like a Tucker

    Like 7
  2. Steve Clinton

    $11,000? It would take another $25,000 to restore it, that is if you could find the parts.

    Like 4
    • Steve Clinton

      On second thought, make that $110,000 to restore it.

      Like 8
  3. Howard A Member

    Oy, bottom of the barrel here. Like I said before, I had better parts cars that I stripped and scrapped. The only thing here is the convertible, and seems prices are gradually coming down on restored cars like this, if any. I’d have to think, just buying it, you’d be under water. Pretty obvious, this is all that remains, of a car that was unpopular to begin with. I take the authors words lightly, but I always felt, the “bathtub” or “pregnant elephant” were derogatory for such a fine car and many cars had that shape then. To be clear, it wasn’t “all new”, and the 22nd series was nothing more than a warmed over prewar offering, Packards eventual downfall. The REAL all new ’55, was too late. I think the time has past where someone would stick $30,000 dollars in restoring this, when you could have one at auction for the same money. The people that would understand what a great car Packard was, are mysteriously vanishing, and to anyone today, this is just an “old car”. At least someone had the brains to keep it inside, although, it’s so dry here, it could very well have spent some time in the hot sun. Great find 30 years ago, when a grand got ‘er home, and 2 parts cars, at $150 each, got ‘er going, Earl Scheib paint job, couple hundred bucks( hey, don’t laugh, I saw some nice Earl Scheib paint jobs), that’s the hobby I remember.

    Like 14
  4. Pete Phillips

    That looks like a top-of-the-line Custom Eight to me. Even so, it’s way over-priced since this is not much more than a rolling shell of a car. $30,000 in restoration costs will barely touch it.

    Like 4
  5. Kurt Member

    Who knew they made a convertible submarine? Just kidding. I had a 23rd series four door that I had way too much in to make a profit, but I discovered a great organization, The Packard Club, who helped find all the missing trim. This car can be restored for far less than the numbers above but you will have to do some of the work yourself. IMHO, it will be worth it.

    Like 14
  6. piston poney

    I’ve helped my dad and a friend work on a 1941 packard 160 and it was a mess nothing bagged and tagged beyond bad pain job the underside looked ever worse, we had to re assemble the front clip and put the trim on, me, my dad, or our friend will never work another packard for as long as we live. dont get me wrong there cool cars and were ahead of there time by a long shot even in the 70’s and 80’s they rode like new and just as good if not better than most new cars the clutch in the pre war packards was ahead of its time but never done again by any other manufacture at least to my knowledge there definatly cool cars but ill never work on one again unless one of my good friends gets one and needs help with something small but beyond that, NO.

    Like 4
  7. cyclemikey

    I don’t understand the prevailing ethos here on BarnFinds. The site writers work hard to find real and interesting cars that fit the name exactly – they’re barn finds needing restoration. Yet almost invariably, the offerings are met with a chorus of “not worth it”, “underwater”, “crush it”, “parts car”, and on and on. It seems that what’s really wanted is cars that are pretty much perfect but are being sold for 1970’s prices. Anything else gets termed greed and exploitation. It gets pretty exhausting.

    For what it’s worth, this relatively rare Packard convertible in restored condition books at around $78K, about 5-6% lower than its peak a few years ago, but still considerably higher than it was say, 15 years ago. The car featured here, if complete as described, will very likely be restored despite the comments on Barn Finds.

    Like 23
    • TouringFordor

      Thanks, cyclemikey! Well said.

      And a second thank you to the Barnfinds writers, apparently a thankless job.

      Like 5
    • Howard A Member

      Um, rookie to what’s called “human nature”? If I may quote the famous Benjamin Disraeli,, “As a rule, a mans a fool, when it’s hot, he wants it cool, when it’s cool, he wants it hot, always wanting what it’s not”.

      Like 3
  8. Captain RD

    If I was not as old as it I would probably make an offer. Classy soft top!!

    Like 2
  9. Bultaco

    This has to be a very rare convertible. The paint looks like it could be original, and the underside looks very solid in the pics. If it’s complete, and if the new owner can do most of the work, it’ll make a fantastic project. Imagine what it’ll look like restored.

    Like 5
  10. geezerglide85

    Is that a trailer hitch coming out of the back bumper?

    • Gil Davis Tercenio

      It sure is! I used to tow with my ’52 Buick Super. Those old straight eights had a LOT of torque.

  11. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Last month several of these 22nd series Super and Custom Victoria cars were sold in similar conditions at the Lou Abelove car collection by Collar City Auctions in Utica, New York. Those cars sold for between $2,500 and $3,500.

    I believe those cars sold cheaper because Lou was selling about 265 Packard & Cadillac cars all at once, and the auction company did little or no research into the cars. That said, an auction like that does depress prices and makes it harder to find a buyer for cars like this one, because most people seriously searching for a 22nd series Packard convertible to restore would have snapped up one of the auctioned cars.

    I know what I’m talking about in this case. I’ve owned several of these, and still own one, a rust free version from Barstow, CA. Sadly, these are steadily losing value and the public’s interest. By the time I’m finished with my car, it’s likely I will have a lot more into the car than I can expect to get out of it. But I knew from the start that making a profit was not my intention.

    Like 8
  12. DualJetfire

    Say what you will, but Free-Flo styling DOUBLED Packard sales for 1948. I’d call that a successful styling effort.

    Like 6
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      In the late 1940s there were 8 major styling awards in America [not just automobile styling, but general industrial styling awards as well]. Based on Packard’s advertising, all 8 major styling awards went to the new 22nd series Packards in ’48.

      In addition, a1948 Packard was given a prominent location in an exhibit at the Museum Of Modern Art [MOMA] in New York City, where they described the body as something that continues to show the styling trends into the future.

      Problem was, In the fast-paced modern post-war race for sales, the streamlined shapes that had been based on circa 1941-42 production vehicles, quickly became obsolete by 1950. They were largely replaced by the new 2-box style, where the driver could better see all 4 fenders.

      Like 1
  13. Gary

    All of the older guys are dying off that wanted to restore these 20-50 cars. It’s a shame but it is life. It would make a very nice luxury street rod and I think a home builder could do this car for 30k if it could be bought right. $4k for what looks to be a very nice project car would be about right imho.

  14. Captain RD

    I am a big fan of American heavy Metal like this. Modern Art.!

  15. Stevieg Member

    If I had the money and time, I would buy this and attempt it myself. I undoubtedly would get in over my head lol, but I would still dive in.
    Alas, I have neither time or money for it. I have a ’68 Firebird convertible waiting it’s turn to be fixed up. I’m home from work this week with covid, so I guess I have the time, but still no money & no ambition from being ill. So the Firebird will have to wait. Once that’s done, maybe a Packard convertible

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