True Barn Find! 1955 Packard Patrician

Packard leveraged an attractive redesign and exciting new technology for 1955. Thanks to Matt P. for spotting this 1955 Packard Patrician located in Cream Ridge, New Jersey and listed here on Central New Jersey craigslist.org. Last inspected in 1999, the car shows weathering from having its front 18 inches exposed to the elements for some time. The car “runs and drives very well,” and may represent an interesting buy at the asking price of $9500.

Dictionary.com defines patrician as “1. a person of noble or high rank; aristocrat,” and most Packard buyers knew that, thirty years prior, Packard primarily catered to the aristocracy. Sadly Packard struggled to maintain its identity in post-war America, and the ’55-’56 models were their last unique design. The brand continued as badge-engineered Studebakers for ’57 and ’58 then vanished.

Packard’s innovative self-leveling torsion-bar suspension went far beyond marketing fluff, providing a genuinely excellent suspension (with no springs!) and automatic load leveling. Thanks to packardinfo.com for some details. The handsome dashboard recalls fine instruments with finely polished accents. The seller reports that many features including the rear seat heater (a second heater core and fan under the front seats), power seats, power antennae, and radio all work!

The classy “Cathedral” tail lights would look right at home on a high-end custom, as would the through-bumper exhaust. The new owner might become famous after swabbing the trunk floor of this Jersey classic for DNA evidence of Jimmy Hoffa. The simply named “Packard V8” made 260 HP and 355 lb-ft of torque from its 352 cubic inches of displacement. With this Patrician already running and driving, it would be interesting to return it to safe and legal driver condition before considering a restoration. Our Australian readers will lament the diminished value of four-door classics in America compared to their (less-practical) two-door stable mates. What do you think of this mostly straight, mostly complete Packard?

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Comments

  1. Fred w.

    I think that 10 years ago this car was immaculate, and has spent too much time in the elements. A carport is not adequate protection for a classic car. Had they garaged the car they would be getting their asking price. I sold my ’51 Kaiser two years ago and cringe when I pass by the owner’s house. A car that was garaged by each owner over the last 60 years, then completely restored to perfection, is now barely under a carport and rained and snowed on regularly. The old codger has it advertised with a dealer and has been trying to flip it with no success, while it slowly deteriorates.

    • Classic Steel

      Carport what not a barn🤣

      I agree on elements but hope it gets restored!

    • Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

      Fred w. Do yourself, and everybody else a favour, and buy it back before it needs restoring again, then re sell it on e bay to a genuine collector. not an investor.

  2. Joe Cat

    Very nice car. Perhaps I am a bit too picky with definitions, but it seems that a car with New Jersey QQ plates is not a true barn find. Someone had already registered it as an antique or classic and defined it as a car to be used for shows and exhibitions. Perhaps a better description would be a forgotten show car stored under a wooden structure?

  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    Well, judging by the wording of the ad, it’s Jersey, all right. By all rights, this was the car that should have saved Packard. Compared to other 1955 cars, except for the Big 3 ( Lincoln, Caddy, and Imperial) this was as nice as it got. Sadly, it had everything going against it. The car was rushed into production and had many fit and quality problems, and the dealers ( that were left) complained they couldn’t get the cars they wanted, further nailing the coffin shut. ’56 was nicer yet, but it was too late. Great piece of history, for the new owner, just be prepared for people to say, “What’s a Packard”?

  4. jdjonesdr

    Interesting .. It’s been for sale for a month and no takers?

    • 63Comet

      Priced too high and demand dropping off. 5-6 would net a buyer.

  5. Vince H

    The Packard people are getting old. If the price was lower it would be easier to sell.

  6. PaulG

    Nice “Dagmars”!

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      HA! I got in trouble on another automotive site for calling those bumper guards that. Apparently, it’s derogatory to women to call them that, who knew?

      • ccrvtt

        Hard to believe a sexagenarian (or older) would be offended. And we’re the only ones old enough to know what “Dagmar” means.

        Or what “sexagenarian” means, for that matter…

      • RONNY

        Why……Why….oh why is everyone so uptight nowadays. C’mon now!!!!!!!!

      • dr fine

        Dagmar herself was flattered by the comparison.

  7. alan leonard

    Four doors rule!!!!

    Keep it origional…after all. it’s only origional once!!!!!

  8. Ensign Pulver

    I wonder myself about the value and interest of these 50’s sedans. I had offers (no follow thru!!) on my 54 Patrician when I listed it here a few months ago but looks like I will have to wait for Cuba to open up!

    • Dairyman

      I love the prewar Packards (and own several) and I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a senior postwar Packard. I prefer a 2 door but a nice patrician is hard to resist. It’s too bad that most older gentlemen that own them think they’re worth a fortune.

      • Ensign Pulver

        I accepted offers of $5400 a few times but nothing came from them. I thought it was pretty reasonable.

    • alan leonard

      Cuban vehicles are cobbled up messes…ever wonder why the show about Cuban cars faded shortly after it began???Remember the guy who had a kinda-nice ’56 chev but it had a diesel boat motor in it??? Kinda hard to restore a car when the Gov’t controls 80% of the economy and most people live on $20/mo..unless your car is chosen to be one of the few “taxi’s”….communism at it’s finest says I

      • Ensign Pulver

        I agree….they are 50 footers at best….in the dark!! Hence makes my Patrician a prince!!

    • Rol Walters

      I took this picture of a Packard in Cuba two weeks ago. If you want to revel in old Detroit iron you need to visit the island.

      • alan leonard

        Stay away from COMMUNIST Cuba..nothing but glazed over American cars that are now JUNK!! No NAPA, AUTOZONES there…they are cobbled together MESSES!!!!..Buy American in AMERICA!!!! Start looking- you can find what you want here in the States….

  9. Maestro1 Member

    I owned one and would have this in a minute, at a lower price, but I have no room.

  10. Lawyer George

    I just don’t get this patina fascination. The “patina” on this Packard is just dirt. If the car was shown washed it might get people like me thinking more than $1200.00 when first looked at it, or merely passed by because it looks like it needs more time than I have to “sort” (wash and detail it) it out.

    The taillights look more like a 1956 than they do 1955. Gads, am I loosing my memory too?

  11. Tony

    I’d consider it, maybe with a lower offer, but I’m saving up to build another garage. After that, I will be dangerous.

  12. TR

    The new wheels in the CL ad look a lot like Eldorado Sabre wheels. It’s cool the name emblem says “The Patrician”. Very Regal. Looks like a solid car

  13. Bill McCoskey

    I’m pretty sure I know this car! It was my best friend’s first Packard, bought in 1968 when we were in high school. It was originally a lighter blue with white top and lower section. It was painted this color about 1971, a non-Packard blue that I think was a Ford truck metallic blue. That’s why I think it’s the same car, what are the chances that 2 1955 Packard Patricians were painted the same non-original color?

    I have 3 photos of the car, the first, taken about 1970 at the Rockville [MD] antique car show, the second photo shows what happens when you let a friend [not me] with a recently obtained driver’s permit drive your car in the rain. The third photo shows the car about half way thru the repairs again. My friend and I went out to the Studebaker-Packard parts inventory in South Bend, Indiana and found all the parts needed to repair the car, all NEW, including the front fenders.

    • giorgtd

      The current color is pretty, but that original blue is just spectacular. Thanks for posting these pics. This is not the type of vehicle I’m looking for, but I’m strangely attracted to it. But the price would need to be quite a bit less to ‘follow through’.

    • Little_Cars Alexander Member

      I was at that Rockville show in 1970. I may actually have a photo of the Packard too. I remember because this was the first big show my Dad would take me too. I snapped a lot of out of focus photos with his Brownie camera. I still have an AMT 1940 Ford model purchased from a vendor there who did a fabulous job detailing the original AMT kit car.

  14. Bill McCoskey

    Here is the same car after the accident

  15. Bill McCoskey

    and during the repairs

  16. KKW

    Charles Starkweather drove one “briefly” lol.

  17. Dave

    I would love to have this car but it’s a little above my budget too. I’ve always liked the looks of the Packards. I hope someone gives it new life and some TLC.

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