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Stored 50 Years! 1937 Packard Six Coupe

Reportedly parked during the Johnson Presidency, this 1937 Packard Six three-window coupe in DeKalb, Illinois shows signs of having spent every one of its prior 31 years in or around Illinois. Such tough service has disintegrated many stunning classics, yet one must accept that rust-belt citizens deserve transportation nearly as much as those with the good sense to inhabit less wintry climes. Perhaps this Packard’s hard-won rust explains the seller’s pledge that the auction here on eBay will not end early. Thanks to reader Ikey H. for spotting this true auction, folks. That’s right; this once-glorious Packard goes to the highest bidder.

I have heard people say “aside from the grille, all ’30s coupes look the same,” and if your eyes merely see full fenders, two big headlights, and a gracefully curved posterior, you might agree. However, the first time I saw a Packard coupe of this vintage, I realized that photographs cannot convey the regal presence of these automobiles. Despite losing some of its glitter after the Great Depression, Packard built cars for those who had kept –or made– their fortunes during hard times.

While difficult to imagine in full glory, the original interior featured an elegant and nearly symmetrical array of bright-trimmed instruments in the painted wood-grain metal dash. While the buyer suggests a possible end-state as a “RAT ROD,” most enthusiasts would consider that barely better than a crusher-cubed future as next year’s refrigerator.

New for 1937, Packard’s “Six” delivered the elegant lines of a Packard at a more economical price point for buyers who didn’t need the ultimate power and luxury of the eight-cylinder Packard 120. This body style, the Six Sport Coupe, might have been similar to the Cadillac ATS of today… not as powerful or fully-loaded as the ATS-V, but still a cut above the average two-door. With 100 HP on tap it was no slouch, either (thanks to packardinfo.com for some details). What’s your high bid?


  1. canadainmarkseh

    That car is going to need a lot of lovin, and it would be tragic to see it ratted however a restoration with a differant motor and trans might make sense. I’d consider that at least until a Packard engine could be found, the engine in this one looks like it make a good boat anchor to me. I’m thinking a Buick straight eight. Or a Chrysler red ram hemi first generation. Would look good under the hood. Or even a Chrysler 230 flat head six would work, easier to get parts and would at least look similar to the current boat anchor. As for the body good old hard work and fabrication skills would go a long way to making this whole again even on a budget. Your going to need some English wheel skills and some tig skills as well really making replacement pieces is a form of metal sculpture so a good eye in that area would help too.if I had the funds and a place to put it I’d be bidding on this car.

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Mark –
      All engine parts are readily available for the Packard 110 [6-cyl] engine, even the cylinder head. Same for 99% of the mechanical parts for a ’37 Packard six/110. Having worked on both the Chrysler 230 and the Packard 110 engines, I know they are about equal in parts availability.

      Body parts that fit only the coupe will be another story, as they are getting very difficult to find in good [unrusted] condition. You will probably have to create the body panels as needed. Sedan rear fenders don’t fit either.

      As someone who has owned hundreds of Packards & currently owns a 1937 Eight Deluxe sedan, I can tell you that neither the Buick Eight, or the 51-58 MoPaR hemi will fit in that engine compartment without a lot of work. The Buick is way too long, and the Hemi is too wide to fit between the frame rails, even without the steering column. About 40 years ago I bought a ’37 Packard 110 parts car with a MoPaR 331 hemi installed by cutting the frame sides to the point that the frame began sagging! That situation is what made the vehicle a parts car!

      Like 2
      • canadainmarkseh

        Thanks Bill for your insight and knowledge. It’s good to know there are better options than I suggested.

        Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        Packards may have left Detroit in 1956, however with a robust dealer service network, and with Studebaker-Packard continuing to supply spare parts into the 1990s, thru a South Bend company known as Newman & Altman, many Packard owners continued to drive their cars for decades. A 1952 Packard study found that over 50% of ALL Packards ever made [from 1899] were STILL in use! Plus people like myself, in the 1960s and 1970s, began buying old Packard dealer parts inventories as the shops closed and the owners retired. [I sold what was left of my Packard parts inventory about 10 years ago.]

        Like 0

      absolutely wrong, easy to rebuild , all parts available.

      Like 0
  2. JimmyinTEXAS

    Here is an example of what a very creative person did to a ’35 model…

    Like 9
    • Hide Behind

      Thank you for showing.
      This auto is what I would try and emulate, old classic body lines wit modern upgrades.
      Beautiful rendition.

      Like 2
  3. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    GAWD! That is one hard to read eBay listing! All caps, added notes, so wide I can’t read it on a standard computer monitor. Looks like the seller is really making his point that the car will be going to the last bidder. Get it, got it, GOOD! If I bought this, I would keep the color white, with the upgrades done similar to the 35 humpback from engineswapdepot.

    Like 1
  4. chrlsful

    that’s 1 waya doin it Jimmy. I bet the same $/time invested could result in a restoration (my preference for all mid/late 30s – very early 50s as I see them as “classics”). I like to C/preserve “how it was done” (right down to the mechanical breaks, cloth covered wiring, etc).
    But either is way outta my space/$/time/skill/tools/experience…
    “the engine swap depot” did not rat it (yeah!), just wanted them to leave the spare’n wheels original.

    Like 0
  5. JimmyinTEXAS

    Engine Swap Depot was just reporting on a conversion done by Roosters Rod Shop. I agree to restore is a good way to go, but if the desire to drive in modern day traffic is present then “upgrades” are definitely needed.

    Like 2
    • Dairyman

      My all original 36 Packard 120 was more than able to keep up with modern day traffic, no need for an engine swap. And no you’re not going to do 80 mph on the intersate but 65 mph is not a problem. Ask the man who owns one!

      Like 5
  6. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Did it sound like someone thought Engine Swap Depot did the work? Roosters is a step above the average rod shop. Agree about the wheels staying original. Maybe vintage look but wider profile/bead.

    Like 1
    • JimmyinTEXAS

      Sounded like chrisful may have interpreted my link as Engine Swap Depot did it, maybe I misunderstood him.

      Like 1
  7. Uncle Bob

    Todd, your recollection of folks opining that “all ’30s cars look the same except for the grille” brought a smile. Before the internet, some of us that chased word of mouth leads to find the objects of our desire learned to wrangle a personal inspection to verify what the car really was. Can’t tell you how many “Model A” coupes I’ve been told of that turned out to be some other brand from roughly the same time frame. Apparently all squarish bodied cars are automatically Model A’s to the mildly informed. :)

    Like 2
    • Lance

      Uncle Bob, I know the feeling. I used to get leads on a”stepdown Hudson” only to find out it was a 47 Ford. That really got old. LOL

      Like 2
      • Uncle Bob

        In some ways it’s similar today, though people are likely playing a search game………try a general search on ebay for 1932 Ford and see how many items you come that have absolutely no connection to that vintage car.

        Like 1
  8. Hank

    I don’t see it going for more than 5K—But if I HAD 5K, I’d bid.
    It needs the talents of one of my best friends, who is a fabricator and body man as well as a mechanic—He’d have it back where it should be.

    Like 1
  9. Mark

    Just want to remind the article’s author that us rust belt folks lacking “good sense” are largely responsible for engineering and manufacuring the vehicles written about. Please exercise better judgment before insulting a large part of your audience.

    Like 3
  10. ccrvtt

    As an obsolete child of the rust belt and, more accurately, of the Motor City, I take no exception to the author’s gibe at our climate. While I dearly love my home state it is incontrovertible that the winters suck. Yes, Michiganians did the preponderance of design and building of our hallowed automotive treasures but we weren’t the only ones. There is a global brotherhood of car makers, car drivers, and car lovers who provided the fodder for our dreams.

    I had an acquaintance who built many hot rods, including one just like this Packard coupe. He painted it purple and stuffed a SBC in it. When I asked him why he didn’t keep the original engine he said that you don’t want to be driving a long distance and not be able to get repair parts. I guess getting stranded takes the fun out of the experience.

    Like 3

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