Stored For 35 Years: 1949 Packard Sedan

In the years immediately following WWII, American automobile production swung back into action, and automakers clamored for a slice of that freshly-baked automobile-sales-market pie. Packard was no exception, and by 1949 they offered such uniquely-styled vehicles as this one, for sale here on eBay out of Morganville, New Jersey, with a Buy It Now under $3000

James Ward Packard founded the company which bore his name in the late 19th century, when he was extremely dissatisfied with the Winton Motor Carriage that he had purchased and was not-so-politely challenged by Alexander Winton himself. After much ado, Packard produced its first motor vehicles in 1899. By its Golden Anniversary year of 1949, the company was sitting comfortably, offering a then-futuristic mid-market luxury-type vehicle line at prices affordable to the common man. Advertisements extolled the virtues of the cars, while appealing to the comfort and traditional sensibilities of the middle-class at the time. “Ask the man who owns one” they said, and they touted Packard fuel economy and overall value, instead of flashy or gimmicky nonsense. Packard acquired Studebaker in 1954 and, unfortunately, they both sank with the shifting tides of the American auto market a short time later.

This particular car, while in need of quite a bit of work, is not necessarily a lost cause. I’m rather unfamiliar with Packards, and the seller doesn’t give us a whole lot to work with, so I reached out and “asked a man who owns one”, Pete Grave, to help me understand this one better.

We can see from the pictures that it has some rust, and needs basically everything done to it, in order to bring it back to its former glory. It appears as though quite a few pieces of interior trim are in the trunk, as well as at least one hubcap. The body tag tells us that it was built in either late ’48 or early ’49, and I wager that it’s actually a Super, not a Deluxe.  One could choose from three different straight-eight engines at the time, but we don’t know which one this car has.  Also, someone has added the oval taillights, but the rectangular ones are correct factory pieces.

Now for the reality-check: While uncommon nowadays, these cars really aren’t worth what they used to be. Granted, the Custom Coupe, Convertible and Wagon are rather desirable, however this one is a more pedestrian 22nd-series. A quick check on Hagerty came back with a #1-condition value of about $27,000, and this one would probably take far more than that to get anywhere near #1. I dare say that this one would be much better parted out or turned into a Street Rod, as many of them have been over the years.  Many of our readers dislike the idea of it, but one could Rat Rod it if one had the resources and creativity. What do YOU think should happen to this car?


  1. Coventrycat

    Some cars look great rat rodded – but a Packard isn’t one of them. They deserve better.

    Like 15
  2. Kenneth Carney

    Reminds me of my ’50 8-passenger limousine that I owned my junior year in
    high school (1971-72) It was great for hauling the band around the state of
    Illinois playing one-nighters on weekends. That thing just floated down the
    road with that huge 356 straight eight just loafing along, gobbling up the miles as it went. Even pulled a small utility trailer with no trouble at all. Wound up selling it to keep the peace with my Mom after I loaned it to a friend of mine who took his date to the drive in movie while I was on the road playing music. Oh sure, he
    brought my car back to my parent’s house as he said he would, but his date left
    her panties lying on that big back seat just where the security guard at my Mom’s
    workplace could see them as Mom drove my car whenever her new Caprice wouldn’t start. Suffice it to say, Mom was plenty pissed off about it and I got an
    earful when I got back home! Didn’t do too bad when I sold it though. A friend of
    Dad’s bought it for $2,500 cash. I probably had $500 or so in it when I sold it
    And that included a complete engine overhaul! If I had this car, I’d find another
    356 straight eight and turn it into a factory hot rod no questions asked! Since it’s
    in Joyzee, you might wanna check that trunk for a body or two!

    Like 9
    • Paul

      I laughed my head off at the date story!! Made my day!

      Like 4
  3. Gary S.

    I think it should be restored,maybe not to a concourse quality. But at least to daily driver status. These cars are easy to work on and parts are not to hard to find. I just finished resurrecting one for a friend..a 49 eight station sedan. Alot of people don’t care for the styling of these but i like them. In my opinion it doesn’t take much to look better than the cookie cutter plastic turd boxes we have now..

    Like 10
    • JBP

      nice woodie. i also like These big ships. style? for shure

      Like 2
  4. Rube Goldberg Member

    Sigh,( caution, long post) here’s a trip for me, thanks Russel. Our ’50 Packard was almost exactly like this, same color, visor, only an Ultramatic. This car has an identity crisis, somebody put 1950 tail lights on it. It also doesn’t have the “Electromatic” shift mechanism, be a bunch of hardware on the firewall, where vacuum sucked the clutch pedal down, but you still had to move the shift lever, my grandfather’s ’48 Packard, that he bought new for $2808, a hefty price when a basic Ford was half that, had that, and while I barely remember the car, my old man said it worked rather well. In the 80’s, while restoring ours, we had accumulated 3 parts cars, and they all looked like this. I paid $300 bucks for 2 once, just to get a visor that was on one. The other was $100 bucks, and the “good” car was $500, so for under a grand, I had all I needed to restore the car, ( so you can see why I’m bitter as to where the classic car hobby has gone) one parts car even had an extra automatic, although it was never needed, the original, even after sitting for 20 years in a back yard ( with 41K miles, that the widows husband parked the car in 1959 when he refused to pay more than .25 cents a gallon for gas, she claimed) and still worked, a testament to Packards quality, although it was a lackluster automatic, but still, the 2nd fully automatic in the industry. It’s hard to tell the motor, I think the size is stamped on the head, mine was the 288 and that square hole in the inner fender was to cool the battery. These cars had a cool feature, the needles and numbers on the gauges were that glowing stuff, like on watches, and a black light behind the dash, made just the needles and numbers glow, it was pretty neat, although, I can’t help but think of the problems people contracted by working with that stuff. And it doesn’t have the Cormorant. It was one of the 3 options my grandfather ordered. It cost $18 dollars when new ( almost $300 bucks today) so it was a hefty option. My grandfather tangled with a bus in 1960, and the car was totaled, but he took the Cormorant, and we put it on our Packard. We had that car almost 30 years, took it to many shows, even a parade ( while the temp needle was pegged on H the whole way, but they were tough motors) with many asking, what is that, a Hudson? No, A Studebaker? No, a Packard, with puzzled looks, but it fell into disrepair, and we sold it in 2010 for $3,000 bucks, and was a heck of a lot nicer than this, and we took the Cormorant off. The new buyer asked about it, but we said, no way. Great cars, some folks refer to these as the “cheapie” Packards, compared to the elegance of the pre-war ones, but make no mistake, it was Packard quality all the way, and I’m glad I got to enjoy one. As the saying goes, you can ask me.

    Like 5
  5. local_sheriff

    The pregnant elephant represents the very best of 40s automotive design, and it’s also the design that comes to mind when I hear the name PACKARD…!

    I would believe someone with limited $ but with the right skills and good friends could turn it into a very nice driver. You know; the kind of driver quality resto that isn’t excactly 100% factory correct, but presents nicely at first glance.

    Given its condition after 70(!) years it definately deserves a better fate than being parted out

    Like 9
  6. Rube Goldberg Member

    Pretty frustrating, my post didn’t take. I write a freakin’ novel about my 1950 that looked just like this,, and it doesn’t come up. What gives? I thought you guys were going to look into that. The heck with it now,,,is it a non-member thing? And since I’m in now, those are 1950 oval tail lights someone added..

    Like 4
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @Rube Goldberg – One of your filters must have caught your comment. It’s live now. Thanks!

      Like 1
      • Rube Goldberg Member

        Thanks for looking into that. Seems the comments don’t take mostly early morning.

  7. JMG

    Love the weathered look! (exerted effort there to not to use the polarizing P-word!) And I love Packards, even though this is my least-favorite post-war model. If it had solid rockers/sills/floors, I would be game to make a fun driver out of it. Hmmm….

    Like 1
  8. Frank

    Love the shape,the dust mites living in what mohair they haven eaten must be vicious.

  9. Kurt Member

    These are considered “Art Deco” by hipsters here on the left coast and mine tended to overheat until I cleaned out the radiator and replaced the water pump. Kasners has all the parts you need.

    Like 3
  10. canadainmarkseh

    Nice old Packard but this one has spent the last 70 years in the rust belt. That’s not to say that it shouldn’t be restored, but buyer beware this car going to be a lot of work to restore. One thing that came to mind was the styling que’s on this Packard are very similar to the 51 Hudson Hornet it makes me think that Hudson has been influenced by the Packard styling. What’s unfortunate for this car is there are a narrow group of people that are willing to take this on, its value is not going to go up much even if you spend a ton of money. Most people are just not interested in this car. The fact that it’s a 4 door won’t help it’s desirability either.

    Like 2
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      I think you are right. One has to have a connection to these, or it has to be nice to begin with, like in my novel I wrote this morning that didn’t take,( not doing THAT again) about my grandfather buying a new ’48. It’s the only reason we got the ’50. At shows, most folks thought it was a Hudson.

      Like 3
  11. Del

    New plug wires .

    Does it run ?

    If not then parts car

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      With the lack of restorable cars today, there is no such thing as a “parts car” anymore.

      Like 4
      • canadainmarkseh

        So true and as they are scrapped that fact will become more true.

        Like 2
  12. don

    This car is sitting in a junkyard ; its likely they were called to haul it out of some old garage or backyard where it had been sitting for decades .If nobody wants this car in a reasonable amount of time its next stop is the crusher. We used to get calls to pick up old forgotten garage cars from like this from time to time, but being pre-internet and no real way to get the word out to the world, all ended up crushed .
    New England doesn’t play nice with metal , and this one looks really rough. I
    can imagine what the areas you dont see look like. .

    Like 1
  13. Stevieg Member

    Hey Rube, I have no connection to these cars but I always (even back in my high school years in the 1980’s) wanted one.
    I’ve mentioned before that I was born & raised in Milwaukee, and it sounds like you were too. Well in the 1980’s, while attending Wauwatosa East, all of my friends were into the old “beater” muscle cars, the stuff we read about on this website. I drove a 1973 Riviera & I also had a couple Pintos, Chevettes, so on. There was an old “bottom feeder” car lot on 69th & FondDuLac avenue that had a 1951 Packard & a 1969 Wildcat convertible, both back row beauties lol. I used to go up there almost daily & drool @ these prizes. Eventually that dealership closed & those cars disappeared. I wish Mom would have let me buy them. The cars I did own I had to purchase privately as my Mom didn’t want me to have a car. Dealers required parental consent when selling to a minor. Private parties never knew I was so young lol.

  14. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    In 1972 and 1973 I was stationed at Ft. Dix in central NJ. I spent my days off searching for old Packard & Studebaker dealerships, to buy whatever they had left over. And yes, it was amazing just how many people still had a parts inventory left over!

    I think I remember seeing this car parked at a super market, and an elderly lady was driving it. We spoke briefly, it was NOT for sale, but she said her husband had added the 23rd series tail lamps for better brake light visibility. [The earlier taillights were difficult to see, especially with the Super and Custom models with the split lenses as shown here.]

    I think this car had the 327 engine, and was indeed a Super, but what surprises me is the lack of the chrome strips from the front doors to the wiper arm bases. Those came standard on the Super cars. The dash panels are the light grey wood tone, and that variant was not available on the Standard or Deluxe models.

    Like 2

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