Rare Luxury: 1949 Packard Custom Eight Limousine

The owner of this 1949 Packard Custom Eight states that the car is not perfect, but it does appear to be in nice condition, and it has also had a substantial amount of work performed on it. The owner has now decided to sell it, and you will find the Packard listed for sale here on eBay. The Packard is located in Memphis, Tennessee, and is being sold with a clear title. At the time of writing, bidding has reached $9,210, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The owner describes the paint as being 8 out of 10, but it still looks good in the photos. Some of the chrome is peeling, but it is essentially undamaged, so those parts, such as the front bumper, could quite easily be restored. I did notice that the driver’s side rear hubcap is missing, and I’m not really sure how difficult a replacement will be to source. However, there are a number of Packard car clubs across the country, and those organizations are usually a good place to look for such things.

The owner states that the interior has undergone a restoration, and is trimmed as it was originally. I wasn’t 100% sure about the seats, so I’ve done some research and can confirm that this is correct. It does present very well, and the dash and headliner are both in first class condition. I can see one small piece of warped trim just below the windshield, but it looks like it will be an easy fix.

Rear seat occupants certainly don’t miss out in this Packard. The seat looks fantastic, and the foot-rest on the floor is also a nice touch. Located in the back of the front seat is a pair of fold-out “jump seats,” providing a pair of extra seats. Mind you, they don’t look anywhere near as comfortable as the rear seat.

Under the hood is the original 356ci straight-eight engine. This is backed by a manual transmission, but I am unsure whether this is the 3-speed or the 4-speed overdrive transmission. What I can tell you is that both the engine and transmission have recently undergone a complete rebuild. The car is also sitting on new white wall tires, and the brakes and suspension have also been rebuilt. The seller states that the car runs, shifts, and brakes well.

Packard Custom Eight Limousines don’t come onto the market very often. I do know of two that have sold recently, but the prices have not been disclosed. As a result, I am forced to look elsewhere for potential values. NADA doesn’t list the car in its guide, but Hagerty does have it. They list a #2 car as being around $26,200. This is a nice car, but I don’t believe that it is in #1 condition. However, it doesn’t look like it will need much work to achieve that condition, and I really think that it would be worth it simply because this is an unusual and luxurious car.

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  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    That’s some machine!

    Hope the next owner drives it regularly.

  2. Watcher

    Would love to drive it and follow the seasons.

  3. SMS

    Was looking at buying one of these. Needed quite a bit of work. Even at that the engine in it was so quiet it glided down the road.

    Was looking at parts availability and hubcaps are not a problem. Tires though seemed few and far between. These do weigh a bit.

    $26k seems to be a good buy for such a car. I wasn’t able to park it on my property due to the length.

  4. John c

    Very sharp looking vehicle. In the late 1960s I owned one that was a hearse.

    Shifted poorly, but was in need of repair.

    Almost didn’t get it. I asked my mom if I could buy it, she said, “ Don’t worry you’ll get to ride in one soon enough.”

  5. Dave Wright

    I have bid on this several times, think I was high bidder a time or two but never met the reserve. Has been run through the auction several times. Great car but who knows what the guy wants for it.

    • Chinga-Trailer

      Why don’t you just ask him what he wants? I will never buy a car on eBay without talking to the seller and if he won’t call me or give me his number, he’s not someone I want to do business with.

      • Dave Wright

        I am probably not going to be the high bidder on this car in any event. Transportation costs have gotten so high and it is a long way from Idaho. I will buy when the right one comes around. I just bought an Autocar with 53’ hydraulic trailer because it has been so difficult to move equipment around.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Just so you realize, this isn’t a top-of-the-line Packard Custom Eight limo, but a Mid-range Super 8 Deluxe with the smaller 5 main bearing engine and shorter wheelbase [see my longer comment below.]

      If it’s a Custom Eight, the serial number would start with 2350 or 2351

      • Bill McCoskey

        My bad, I forgot the only limousines for the 23rd series were the Super Deluxe cars, the Custom Eight LWB limo was dropped for that year. The serial number should start with 2370-5, denoting a 7-passenger sedan, likely from a funeral home.

        It doesn’t have a division window so it can’t be a 2371-5

  6. Miguel

    I do believe those are the wrong hubcaps for this year.

    • Howard A Member

      Correct. The only original one is the right front.

      • Miguel

        Upon closer inspection, you are right.

        Those are the caps I remember being on a friends 1949 Packard Hearse that was all original back in 1985 that only had 49,000 miles on it.

        What a beautiful black car that was and it even had hydraulic windows, in the front.

        This is a very similar car, but the one my friend had, had a medium purple mohair interior.


  7. Miguel

    How odd the car has roll up windows.

    • Chinga-Trailer

      Fixed windows or “pull up” windows would be really odd and impractical.

      • Miguel

        Chinga, what I mean is that it has manual roll up windows when hydraulic windows was available on their cars.

        You would think a limo would have the best they had to offer.

      • Dave Wright

        A lot of limo’s were “service” cars and not as fancy as one might think. They were owned by hotels, resorts, mortuaries and that sort of thing to move people from train stations or cemeteries. They wanted nice but not opulant.

  8. Kenneth Carney

    Owned one in ’71. I paid $250 for it back
    then. Mine was a ’50 model with an Ultra
    Matic transmission and straight 8 engine.
    Used it to carry all the guys in our band and pull a trailer behind it to carry our
    gear. It was a great old car that ran really
    well. As someone mentioned earlier, it
    felt as though you were riding on a cloud.
    First thing I did after buying it was to
    rebuild the engine and have the tranny
    serviced. Only difference between this
    car and mine was the grillework and the
    lower side trim that was 2 strips instead
    of just one. My car had no rust on it, but
    it had been sideswiped. All I had to do
    was to repair the body and stainless
    steel trim along the bottom of the car.
    Dad was worried about my getting
    replacement parts but thanks to an old
    auto parts dealer, I had no trouble at all
    finding what I needed to keep it running.
    Wound up selling it on to a Packard buff
    for $1500 to finish my toasted Jaguar
    sedan that needed a 350 to finish it out.
    Sure wish I had it back today.

    • Al

      Great story.

    • LodeStar

      Mr. CARNEY- Did you ever park it in a standard garage? How long is this behemoth? Like the idea of a transport for a band. Architects refer to BEST USE for old/unoccupied buildings. I like to think of old cars the same way.

  9. Smokey Member

    Back in 1960, a local funeral home got a new fleet of Cadillacs. They had THREE of these for sale, all in probably #1 condition, and very low mileage, less than 25,000 on them all. They were asking just $350 for each one. Had we only known then, huh?

  10. Gaspumpchas

    up to 12 large, Sure could have some fun with this. Nice driver. Good luck to the new owner. Guess the guy won’t give out his reserve. If I’m serious I usually ask what the reserve is to see if the car is in my price range, some will give it, Also depends how bad he really wants to sell!!!


  11. Vance

    I know this body style was not a hit at the time, but these cars exude a type of elegance that is hard to match. To drive a car with that kind of room would be wonderful. Being 6′ 3″, and 300+, I don’t fit in many cars. To have that kind of head, hip, and leg room wouldn’t be hard to live with. I have owned a Pinto, Honda CRX, and a Corvette. Driving those vehicles was like putting ten pounds of sh*t in a 5 pound can. I would love to have one of these.

  12. Herbee

    I love it. I would not change anything but the oil.

  13. Howard A Member

    I don’t think this is a 356. I believe, 327’s and 356’s had “Thunderbolt” on the cylinder head. This is probably the 288, like mine was. It’s a 3 speed, and may or may not have O/D, actuated electrically by a switch on the dash. It does NOT have the electromatic clutch, and for a limo, isn’t really that fancy. I sure enjoyed mine.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Howard, You’re on the right track, this is NOT a 356, as it won’t fit in the shorter front end [shorter by 7″]. The reason I know for sure this car is NOT A Custom Eight Limo, it’s a Super 8 Deluxe, is because of the short front end sheet metal.

      I’ve owned about a dozen long wheelbase Packards from 1938 to 1954, and I know them very well. I’ve had 2 of these very cars as pictured here.

      The Super 8 Deluxe came with the shorter wheelbase [instead of 148 it was 141], and the grill center has 3 horizontal bars, not the “Eggcrate” grill as found in the Custom 8 cars. The Super series of cars all came with the 327 engine, while the Standard 8 and Deluxe 8 came with the 288 engine. Both have 5 main bearings.

      Now here is where it can get confusing. Since all 3 of those engines use the SAME HEAD GASKET, the heads are interchangeable. It’s a possibility it has a 356 head, but not the larger crankcase with the 9 main bearings, it just won’t fit in the short chassis. [All Packard 8 heads from 1948 to 1954 are interchangeable.]

      Super 8 limousines were a one series offering, in an attempt to offer a lesser cost limo or 7-passenger sedan to the funeral homes that might buy a Packard Hearse. The Super 8 Deluxe limousines were price-slotted for corporate use and upscale limousine service companies. You got the incredibly plush interior* of the Custom Eight limo, with the smaller engine, chassis and less equipment like the hydraulic assist windows, Cormorant hood ornament & a power antenna [vacuum]. The larger wheel covers are for the 1951 and 1953-4 Packard vehicles [’52 had ribs in the smooth areas of the center].

      These cars were offered in the 23rd series Packard line-up that ran from mid 1949 thru the 1950 model year.

      *The interior of the Custom Eight and the Super Deluxe was equal to the finest interior of coachbuilt pre-war cars like Duesenberg, Rolls-Royce and Pierce-Arrow. The seats & door panels were upholstered in the finest English wool broadcloth, the bottom trim on the doors and seat bases was real leather, and the carpeting was the finest carpeting I’ve ever rested my bare feet in/on, it was called “Mosstread”. My toes would literally sink into the pile, and it was backed by a new product; dense-foam rubber. As far as I know, no one has ever reproduced that material, as it would be too expensive to undertake.

      Also of interest was the headliner design. On the Custom Eight 6-passenger sedans the headliner ribs didn’t run from side to side, the ribs ran from the windshield header to the rear window, making the interior of the car look even longer than it already was!

  14. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Wow this is just all kinds of awesome. I can just imagine the Monopoly guy being chauffeured around as he contemplated whether or not to put hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk

  15. Kurt Seidler

    I owned the sedan version of this car and it had a 327 displacement. Always ran too hot but then again I lived in SoCal.

  16. Maestro1

    Chinga Trailer describes a policy I have done for years. I don’t even like EBay but when I find something I want, casually going through listings, then I call and ask the seller what he/she wants for the car. Period. If i don’t get any cooperation I hang up courteously and move on. I’ve advised my friends in the Hobby to do the same. Or go elsewhere with better quality Sellers.

  17. John

    That car has been advertised on eBay for probably at least a year. A couple of times it has met reserve and should have sold yet it still comes back up for sale by the same seller in Memphis. It looks like a very nice car but I don’t understand why it hasn’t sold by now, especially if it has not reserved several times.

  18. John C

    Based upon what John just said. Met reserve and wasn’t sold, there is a name I have for this it’s called, “TOMMYS TOYS.”

    I have these toys but no Matter what it looks like, I don’t want to part with them.

  19. Will Owen Member

    My favorite line of Packards ended with the splendid 1941s, to my eyes the pinnacle of separate-fender-and-headlight beauty, and as I emerged from the factory that year myself I’ve always had a hankering for one. However, there is a sort of mature majesty to this behemoth that goes beyond mere esthetics, or even good sense, and I swear that if I could lay hand to the money (oh, and overcome Mrs. O’s almost certain objections) I would buy it in a heartbeat. And as for transport costs? I would budget for the vast quantities of fuel it would take to propel this thing to Pasadena, California, make reservations at 3-400 mile intervals, pack my stuff and go fetch it.

    And of course sell it when we got here.

  20. David Miraglia

    Good choice for any Bus or Limo company that needs a special money maker.

  21. Mark Kurth

    This isn’t a Custom Eight- it’s a Super Eight with a 327- not a 356. 327 shared a block with the 288, while the 356 was a whole different 9-main bearing engine. Interior is beautiful but it’s incorrect for a Super. Custom Eights can be easily identified by their egg- crate grill and extra trim around the belt line.

    The optional overdrive was a separate Borg Warner box, behind the 3-speed trans. It was operated by a knob under the dash, to the right of the steering column, which this car appears to have.

    • Dave Wright

      I suspected the guy might be nuts………the interior alone would cost another 10K to make right…….he thinks it is a 32 model.

    • Vince H


      Appears to be the same car listed in 2 different locations. Now we have an idea what the reserve may be. I am always suspicious of the seller when I see 2 locations.

      • JimmyinTEXAS

        Or like someone mentioned it is a case of “Tommies Toys”. He really doesn’t want to sell it or just trolling…

  22. Triumph Guy

    My first car was a 49 Packard, 288 straight 8, 3 on the tree. Bought it in the late 70’s from an old man in the neighborhood. It had the original Philco radio warranty card in the glove box. It was Army green, with horsehair seats. The thing was HUGE. I used to pour gas mixed with 2 stroke oil from my outboard in it when I was too broke to buy gas, driving around town billowing smoke out the back.
    I notice this one has square tail lights, my had protruding round ones.

  23. Bill McCoskey

    Triumph Guy,

    Your car was a late 1949, known as a 23rd series vehicle, produced thru the 1950 model year. It also had a single chrome side trim mid way along the side panels, as well as a solid center to the front bumper.

    The cars with the flat square taillights were 22nd series cars, produced in 1948 and into early 1949. They had twin side chrome trim sets on the lower body panels, and a hole in the front bumper for cooling the radiator.


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