Rust Free Original! 1955 Packard Four Hundred

I can’t even say that I’m rust-free and I’m much younger than this 1955 Packard 400 is. Or, some would call it a Packard Four Hundred, both names are on the car and both come up in various searches on the internet by reputable sources. One of you will know the be-all-end-all, once-and-for-all correct name for it. Whatever it’s officially known as, this beautiful survivor can be found here on eBay in Aumsville, Oregon with an $8,500 buy-it-now price or you can make an offer. Thanks to Ikey H for sending in this tip!

Having both the Four Hundred script and 400 badges on this car, and seeing it referred to by both names in the same articles about them, it’s hard to know exactly how to refer to Studebaker-Packard Corporation’s 1955 and 1956 Four Hundred / 400 model. Enough of that, let’s just concentrate on this gorgeous, original survivor.

It’s incredible to think that this 65-year-old car is all original, or mostly original other than a couple of dings and touch-ups on the white paint, according to the seller. The Dagmars on the front bumper are indeed impressive and the full-width grille is beautiful. Everything works but the power antenna, it’s stuck and will need to be checked out. I had one replaced about a year ago so it can be done.

The exhaust extensions sticking out of the rear bumper aren’t original and I’d want to bring it back to what would have been factory length, shown here. The Four Hundred was made for only two years, 1955 and 1956, as a standalone model and the only body style was a two-door hardtop. Before that, the 400 was a model within the Patrician line of Packards. The 1955 models reportedly were rushed to market which caused a few problems to crop up with the complicated Ultramatic transmission and its new Torsion-Level self-leveling suspension, and that hurt Packard’s reputation forever, which would only be for a couple of more years.

The interior looks fantastic and if it really is all original, which it looks to be, it’s amazing. The driver’s seat has some wear but otherwise, it looks great inside both front and back. The trunk looks good, too, and the seller says that the underside is solid. Both of the front door windows have cracks in them but that shouldn’t be hard or overly-expensive to replace.

The engine is Packard’s smooth-as-glass 352 cubic-inch V8 with 260 hp and 355 ft-lb of torque. It propelled this 4,300-pound car to 60 mph in under 10 seconds which is pretty impressive given the relatively low horsepower. The seller says that it’s been sitting for a few years now and the fuel system will need to be cleaned out in order to run like new again. Hagerty is at $14,800 for a #3 good condition car and this one doesn’t appear to be too far from that, so this could be a very good buy. This car is all about smooth and classy cruising and it would be hard to find a smoother or classier cruiser for the money than this beautiful Packard.

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Comments

  1. Robert White

    Nice car for smoking long distance reefers IMHO.

    Cops would never bug you.

    Bob

    Like 5
  2. tiger66

    Under 10 seconds 0-60? Optimistic at best. Motor Trend tested one and got 11.4 seconds to 60, which is a lot more believable. These big, heavy luxury cars weren’t rocket ships.

    0-60 mph: 11.4 sec, quarter mile: 18.6 sec @ 76 mph, 60-0 mph: 151 ft (Motor Trend, September 1955, 400 two-
    door hardtop, 260 hp, 4660 lb)

    Like 3
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I didn’t just make up that number, tiger66:

      https://www.automobile-catalog.com/car/1955/2548730/packard_four_hundred_ultramatic.html

      Actually, I believe that you’re looking at a review for the 1955 Packard Caribbean which weighs 400 pounds more than the Four Hundred does.

      Like 9
      • Fred W

        I’ve run across that site…. the performance numbers are basically computer estimates based on weight and HP figures. No real world data.

        Like 2
      • tiger66

        I didn’t think you did. I didn’t make up those times, either. However, that source you used is wildly optimistic on 0-60 times is all.

    • Jack Hammer

      What’s the hurry?

      Like 23
    • Junkman

      Bought its Twin Brother in March of 1956 from a Chrysler dealer in Philadelphia Pa. Found the original owners name in the glove box and called him asked why he got rid of it one year old. He said he and his brother each had one both thought great car but wanted four door Hardtops and Chrysler filled the bill. I traded the 55 in August of 56 for an Aqua and White new 56 400 that I own to this day. I also Own another 55 that duplicates this car. “Nothing on earth rides like a Packard” so true

      Like 17
    • gerardfrederick

      None of that is meanigful, whether under 10 seconds or 11 seconds, who, in his right mind cares? These cars were meant as elegant statements, not drag racing monstrosities.

      Like 19
  3. Jay

    Where’s the fire ?

    A wonderful cruiser….

    Like 14
  4. ken tilly UK Member

    Can’t agree with your description this time Scotty. It’s not beautiful IMO but just ostentatious.

    Like 1
    • JP

      Compared to…? A ’55 VW Beetle?

      Like 7
  5. Howard A Member

    Sorry ken, perhaps by today’s standards, but I venture to say, it was the most beautiful car for 1955. It was quite a marvel. The suspension, a series of electric motors that adjusted torsion bars, was far better than GM’s air ride, the transmission, which for some reason, saying it trips BF’s filter, was designed by a young John DeLorean, and much better than the original , the V8 was all new, and I think Rambler/AMC used the same design for years, and a bit should be said about the “Dagmars” that may have slipped by some. Dagmar was an actress that was well endowed in the 50’s, and became a slang term for the bumper over riders. They usually did a lot of damage to the back of another car.

    Like 15
    • Ed P

      AMC used Packard 320 cid v8’s for 55 and part of 56. AMC introduced their own v8 late in the 56 model year.

      Like 2
  6. Maestro1 Member

    Well done, Howard. I had a 55 Patrician Sedan, loved it, sold it after a few years to a neighbor who kept it and then had a horrendous highway accident with a drunk and the car was hopelessly totaled. Because the car was so strong he survived with minor injuries.
    Everybody, these are wonderful cars with their esoteric complications.

    Like 4
  7. Rustytech Member

    This is a gorgeous cruiser, and at under $10k a bargain. I like that it looks to be in good condition which is a plus since replacement parts are scarce and expensive. I have always liked these Packards, if I had the space I’d be tempted.

    Like 4
  8. Ron Morrison

    AMC purchased Packard V8s for its senior cars (Nash & Hudson) in a reciprocal agreement where Packard would purchase manufactured parts from AMC. Packard never fulfilled its end of the deal. AMC developed its own V8 which appeared in the 1957 cars.

    Like 4
  9. oldcarsarecool

    The mid-50s Packards have always been a favorite of mine. That price seems like a good deal if the floors are intact. Flying to Oregon and trying to make it home to Georgia would be a fun adventure.

    Like 5
  10. Vince H

    It won’t fit in my garage or I would be all over it.

    Like 3
  11. Larry fredrickson

    Scotty, I would be interested in talking to you about buying your packard, please give me a call 541 269 1718 ask for Larry

  12. Kenn

    Oh damn, I really wanted to go from a dead stop to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. In a big heavy comfortable cruiser. So I’ll pass on this.

    Like 1
  13. Stevieg

    This is a really nice car with nice lines, and I would be proud to own and drive it. However, to me it isn’t a Packard. To me a Packard has an old world (for it’s time) look that just shouts “old money”. This looks like it is trying to stay current for it’s time.
    Compare this to a 1951 to 1954 Clipper (or any other model Packard, really) and those don’t look too modern for that era. But they look very elegant.
    This, in my mind, looks almost like a 1957 Mopar, in that it is “suddenly 1960”.
    Like I said, I love the car, but I can’t help but to think that the modern style the designers went for is what actually killed the brand. Too bad! I would love to see what a 2020 Packard would have looked like…or maybe not lol.

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Sg, there was a revival of sorts for a new Packard, not sure the year, 1999, I believe, there was a prototype Packard with a V12. Didn’t do much for me, except the motor looks quite impressive..
      https://www.motor1.com/news/72690/reserve-is-off-1999-packard-twelve-prototype/

      • Stevieg

        Yeah, that doesn’t do much for me either. I’m not sure if it is the “Duesenberg mates with Pacer” design, or the color, or really what it is about it, but it does absolutely nothing for me.
        Maybe it is sometimes better to leave dead dogs lye lol.
        I rolled my eyes when the article mentioned Bayliff lol. He didn’t do much good for the Stutz nameplate lol.

      • ken tilly UK Member

        Hello Howard. Doesn’t do much for me either as it looks like the fender design was copied from the Tucker, which I thought was a beautiful car.

      • Mike

        Holy crap, that car is a shapeless blob with an out of place grill treatment. This looks like something China would build for the US luxury market but kinda got lost in translation.

        Like 2
  14. Chuck

    Great car & price. I like the unusual & that is why I have a 58 Edsel convertible. Let the “horsecollar & Olds sucking a lemon” jokes start.

  15. Steve Woods

    It’s a proud old car for us older people. I have 4 60’s muscle but I’ve always thought I was born too late. Would love to have been born in 45 instead of 55. For me being of age in the late 50’s the dream of driving some “tank” like this and living the age of respectful people has always been my wish. No need to argue about cars. Besides women they’re our gift from God.

    Like 1
  16. TimM

    Really nice lines on this car!! Great find!! Someone’s going to get a cool cruiser!!! Even if it was 0-60 in 50 seconds it’s about the journey not how fast you get there!!!

    Like 1
  17. Bill McCoskey

    An important note concerning the cracked door glass:
    The vent window chrome assemblies are a large pot metal casting. Each has a 3-point mounting where it attaches inside the door assembly. The lower mounting point breaks off from the upper part of the casting. [Due to people closing the door too hard.]

    Until these castings are repaired and strengthened, any replacement glass will quickly crack again.

    As to the exhaust chrome extensions, If they were changed back to the original length of the exhaust pipe, they will be too short and cause exhaust gases to corrode the bumper ends. The choice on this car is to have the extensions or quickly deteriorating chrome. When I put new exhaust pipes on my V8 Packards I always turned the pipe ends downwards so the exhaust came out below the bumper.

    Like 3
  18. ken tilly UK Member

    @Mike. My sentiments entirely. If it were all one colour it might look a little bit better, but I doubt it.

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