Tree Hugger: 1948 Packard Custom Eight Victoria

Seeing a very, very rare car that has been sitting outside in the elements for who knows how many years (decades?) is a crying shame. I could see if it was a non-descript commuter or economy car, but one like this 1948 Packard Custom Eight Victoria convertible really makes it a shame. The seller has it listed here on eBay in Saugerties, New York. There is an unmet opening bid price of $2,000 and no reserve after that.

This car is in rough shape, and that’s like saying that it gets fairly chilly in Minnesota sometimes. Parts of this Packard, reportedly 1 of 1103 made, look like they could be cleaned up and restored to like-new again. But, then there are the other parts, the totally rusted-out parts, the parts with big, gaping holes in them. This car would have cost $4,295 when it was new, that’s the equivalent of $46,321 today – barely in the middle-of-the-pack SUV price range today.

The seller isn’t giving us many photos which is somewhat unusual for an eBay listing and also for such a rare car. If I were a serious bidder I’d want to see every square inch, at least what’s visible without having to jack the car up for underside photos. You already know what those underside photos may look like since it appears that this Packard convertible has been sitting outside for a long time. The egg-crate grille was exclusive to the Custom series and you can also see the exclusive egg-crate panel on the rear above the bumper.

The Packard Custom Eight was the top-of-the-line for the 22nd Series Packard. The “1948” models were built from mid-1947 until mid-1949 which is a little confusing. It wasn’t until 1951 until Packard conformed to the normal model year naming convention. You can see some major rust in the engine bay photo above but hopefully, this rare car can be saved.

The engine would have been the most powerful offered by Packard at the time, a 160-horsepower 356 cubic-inch straight-eight, and, of course, it doesn’t run. Hopefully, it isn’t stuck, but if it is, the seller is including another engine and transmission with the sale. The interior would have been nice cloth and leather but we don’t see any photos of it, or what’s left of it. Can this rare Packard Custom Victoria convertible be saved?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    If you plan to restore this, you’d have an easier time raising the Titanic.Lots of great parts, though. Heck, that “Electro-matic” clutch on the spare engine and maybe an O/D too is a tough find today. I hate to keep bringing up “years ago” prices, but in the early 80’s, I bought 2 Packard “parts cars” (sedans) for $300 bucks just to get a visor on one. Both cars could have been restored by todays standards, but to me, they were just parts cars.
    Btw, I’ve been to Saugerties, NY., cool place.

    Like 15
    • Leland

      Yes Howard, I too paid little for what today so much is asked for. We are not old, we are vintage, like fine wines.

      Like 7
    • Matt G

      Saugerties was home of Woodstock 94 and boyhood home of Jimmy Fallon- go Sawyers!

      Like 5
  2. Maverick

    Junk.

    Like 7
  3. Sherminator

    Bring a dumptruck

    Like 6
  4. Rodney - GSM

    “Pack-A-Parts”

    Like 4
  5. Mark C

    It looks to me from the way this car sits the rust likely ate through the frame after it was done with the floors. I suppose it could just be the flat tires in the mud and open doors. It may be as rare as hen’s teeth, but I think this car is just parts. Shame.

    Like 7
  6. Classic Steel

    I hope this car can save fuel ⛽️ after recycled into a Hyundai hybrid vehicle.
    It could also make a nice Chevrolet pickup.

    Careful loading this car as it will probably split in half as it sits.

    I get its rate but…its junk…it may be able to donate the drivetrain or chrome script to rechrome..

    Like 3
  7. Rick bb

    A basket of parts – but easily $50,000 restored

    Like 1
    • sirlurxalot

      But it might take $100,000 to get there.

      Like 6
  8. Charles Sawka

    I love all Packards, but unfortunately I have to say this one is for taking pictures of. She gone .

    Like 2
  9. Rex Kahrs Member

    I guess it’s all about desirability. If this were a 356 or 911, it’d be up to 10 grand by now. I’m afraid Howard is right, there is going to be a steady stream of unloved old cars coming down the pike.

    Just today I looked at a nice 35K miles ’74 Toronado, perfect interior, ran nice, AC worked. The seller was only asking $4500. Even I couldn’t bring myself to buy it with the intent of flipping it…I just couldn’t see the upside potential. I found a Toronado forum online, and it was stone quiet…..

    Like 4
    • Bill McCoskey

      Rex Kahrs,

      This IS a 356. All Packard Custom Eights came with the big 9-main bearing, 356 cu. in engine!

      Oh! You mean the other 356 . . .

      Like 4
  10. Isaac Preston

    It is very restorable. It will just somebody who is very skilled in custom fabrication. I have seen less restored into a perfect car

    Like 3
  11. Paolo

    BringADustpan.

    Like 5
  12. luke arnott Member

    This is NOT restorable!

    Like 3
  13. Little_Cars

    This is really strange to see…based on the rarity. Only because I’ve seen a similar basket case 48 Custom 8 convertible show up somewhere in exactly the same condition but with a sedan parts car to go with it. Unfortunately I can’t remember if it was Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or maybe even Barn Finds from a few years ago. I’m not shocked that a convertible can deteriorate being left outside for years, I’m shocked that another of 1100 made is still around and for sale.

    Like 1
  14. lbpa18

    At this point, it would make a nice planter.

    Like 1
  15. DON

    Yikes , ,this car has been sitting on the east coast for way too many years – figure like since 1958 , as thats about a cars life expectancy here . Old time junkyards are full of rusty hulks sitting in the woods just like this , some rarer than others . Before the internet you really wouldn’t know whats rare and whats just seldom seen .Its a shame, but after all these years in the dampness there would be little left for a restorer . The spare engine and spare top bows are likely the only value .

  16. Bill McCoskey

    I was in the Packard parts business for 40 years. The following are the only serious value pieces;

    Front fenders & hood, doors [mostly for the vent and door windows], 1/4 windows, top assembly, both engines, as they are the big 356 9-main bearing types with overdrive.

    Considering the cost to move the car [if you can find a guy with a rollback tow truck willing to put this up on his truck], pull it off the truck with a chain, and take the parts off that you want, and then only if you REALLY NEED the parts for your car, This ain’t worth the opening bid price.

    If it was local to me [and I was still selling Packard parts], due to the difficulty in removing many of the parts due to corrosion, I, like all the other Packard parts guys I know, would only give the owner a token $ amount to be able to pull off what I wanted, before the car is hauled away for scrap. Most of the exterior chrome pieces that are exclusive to the Custom Eight are either missing or damaged beyond use.

    Most of the parts, while quite rare, will sit in a parts inventory for years until another “not so rough” 48-50 Packard convertible owner needs a few parts. On the car, these parts are only worth a fraction of what they retail for.

    If the owner doesn’t get a bid, I would suggest he contact the Packard Club {PAC} and let them know the car is available.

    Like 4
  17. Kh4fan

    Maybe Dr. Emmit Brown can use it for parts. It’s a shame that this car was let go to this extent. Packard was one of finest automobile companies to ever produce vehicles. Poor management after ww2 and the purchase of Studebaker and supplier problems did them in. Very sad

    Like 2
  18. Steve RM

    In the e-bay ad it calls it a “very rusty survivor”. Survivor? The meaning of a lot of terms in the old car hobby are misused but this is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Like 2
    • Kh4fan

      Survivor of what? This car is unrestorable, A survivor to me is a car that needs a battery, the fuel tank flushed, all fluids changed and maybe new tires because of flat spots. And you’re good to go

      Like 1
    • Plathead Phil

      Agreed. PIn my 🌏 a “Survivor” car is something you can put back on the road, or something that just needs a re-licensing, or new something-what have-u to be operational. This car (IMHO) has no hope of being resurrected from its degenerative state. Call the Packard boys from the club, say a few words and bury the carcass.

  19. William Dolan
  20. chrlsful Member

    even the ‘vert hasa great style. These cars have my fave engine – the straight 8, fergedda bent8!

  21. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey chrlsful, your English is getting better, we can almost understand you!

    Like 4
  22. Don P

    There is a Cord convertible near me sitting outside, no top, another couple years it will be dissolving into the ground much like this one.
    I let Dave from the Guild know about it, he was aware an said the owner has big dreams and priced it as though there are gold bars stashed in the trunk.

    Like 2
  23. Little_Cars

    In the minds of a lot of custodians of rusty hulks, there are indeed gold bars loaded into the trunks of many of them! Someone will probably submit a Barn Find now that has actual gold bars stacked inside….it could happen! (But not as often as we hear some old codger price their crap like it’s a museum piece).

    Like 1
  24. Glenn

    47 years our lead car in our wedding was my father in-laws 48 Packard custom convertible, it had two chrome strips down by the rockers, Plus my 49 Ford Custom Club Coupe and my 51 Ford Victoria, with my father in-laws 28 Hudson following up as the in and out laws car! I still have my 49 Ford coupe and my brother in-law still has the Hudson! The Packard and Victoria went to good homes and hopefully still exist!

  25. Kenn

    What a pleasant change of pace! No one mentioned “numbers matching” or “is the mileage substantiated?” Finally some reality here.

    Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey

      Kenn,

      Somehow I don’t think the aluminum VIN plate on the firewall is gonna be there at this point, to prove either way if it’s a matching numbers car or not!

  26. Johnny

    Oh but if it was a CHARGER –MUSTANG OR COMARO——–People would be saying its a steal. I know of two men. The highest grade of education they had was 4th grade. One took a 29 Ford–in worse shape then this Pachard and the other man took a 57 Chevy in real bad shape–and when they got done .The cars looked brand new. Their cars–when they started–looked worse then this Packard. . Some people have talent and they can and will surprise you. Don,t judge people buy their looks–step back–listen and see what they actually can do.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      There’s been a 29 Ford sitting in the front yard of a local farmer with a flower pot where the back seat used to be. Slowly fading into the ground, the grille prominently displayed upon a rotting corpse. Over the years, it’s gone from a tudor Model A to a possible truck conversion. LOL I often reflect back on another neighbor of mine — when I was a kid I watched him resurrect a Model A from sandblasting to show winner. I guess those “labors of love” still happen but it seemed more prevalent when the restorer was from the depression era when every machine had to be made to work and brought back to life if it fell into disrepair.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Johnny,

      I agree . . . One of the best workers in my restoration shop was Mecene, he was from Haiti and could neither read or write, but his woodworking abilities were such that we were asked to provide assistance to the Smithsonian woodshop on occasion. [My shop was local for them, only about 10 miles north of the DC line in Maryland.]

      Mecene had always dreamed of becoming a US citizen. When he was in his early 70s, I made it possible thru a translator and helper, to pass the tests & finally gain his citizenship. To say thank you, he created an incredible hand carved solid mahogany chair in the form of a federal style bald eagle. Not a square inch of the chair was left uncarved. The 2 eagle wings swept forward on either side of the occupant, giving new meaning to the term “wing chair!”

      It was so impressive that when one of the Smithsonian curators saw the chair, they asked to borrow it for a year long display called “Black Mosaic, immigrant artists to America”. It was the centerpiece at the entrance to the exhibit, in it’s own glass case. I still have the chair to this day.

  27. Paul Gross

    Say what you want about this gem in the woods I’m looking for a 356 for my 1942 clipper .

  28. Bill McCoskey

    Paul,

    Do you have ’42 160 or 180 series Clipper? Those are fairly rare. I ask because the “Junior” Packard Clippers for 41-47 have a 7″ shorter wheelbase & front sheet metal that makes it almost impossible to shoehorn the 356 into one.

    If you want specific block & casting numbers that match a 1942 Senior Packard, that’s gonna be a hard search because they are so rare. If you don’t care about matching numbers, it’s a lot easier to find a post-war 356 engine, as all the 46-47 Clipper Super and Custom cars had them, as did the 22nd series Custom eights [so did the 23rd series Custom cars, but they have a different crank, as those cars also came with the Ultramatic trans as standard equipment].

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