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Re: Help identify a straight 8
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Just to offer a slight correction on 49Packard's comment on the differentiation between a 49 22nd series and a 50 23rd series, the -9- or -5- wasn't suffixed, it was inserted between the body type (e.g. 2252) and the production number (eg. 2XXX). Thus a 1948 Custom 8 sedan would be 2252-XXXX, but a 1949 but 22nd series car would be 2252-9-XXXX, and similarly for the 23rd series.

Posted on: 2007/12/27 8:41
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Re: VIN numbers
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2007/3/14 16:01
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Nice response Brian, I agree. When you're fortunate enough to obtain your original build or shipping slip and also get the engine and tranmission numbers along with various casting dates it can be very interesting though not necessarily enlightening to see how Packard handled (or mishandled) inventory control, which surely wasn't "first in, first out". Using my 56 Caribbean as an example, it's a very late convertible, one of those after the initial production of 250. The build date was June 6th, and shipped to the dealer on June 20, 1956 if I recall the dates correctly. Quite understandably it has a similarly late transmission number, #509, which makes sense with just a bit over 500 total Caribbeans built. Yet the engine number, and the engine is original to the car and has a # matching Vehicle Number, is a relatively early engine # with a December 1955 casting date. It's fun to gather these numbers from owners of similar cars (as I've done where possible) yet all it really shows is the randomness of component picks from finished inventories of motors, transmissions, etc. The correlations between engine numbers and thief-proof numbers in the 30s cars is much more exacting though still imprecise.

Brings me to asking a question that has been on my mind for some years, perhaps someone has some info. How, if at all were factory replacement engines numbered? I assume the V8 ones had the Utica Plant number but no vehicle number? Are there any extant letters to dealers instructing them to add the vehicle number to replacement engines when installed? In the 30s Packard offered factory-remanufactured cylinder bores for the 320 and 385 engines, but on these engines the engine# was on the aluminum crankcase, not the cast iron block, so no such situation existed. Thoughts or observations?

Posted on: 2007/12/25 10:55
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Re: VIN numbers
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Addressing the period from atleast 1923 thru the end, Packard used a system of Vehicle Numbers (not Vehicle Identification Numbers) stamped on a plate (except for 1938 which used a decal) affixed to the cowl. The system they used is often referred to as BTPPN, for Body Type Plus Production Number. In all cases except the sale of a bare chassis for external custom coachwork, the first set of digits uniquely defined the year, the engine/wheelbase, and the body style. For example in 1934 any body type beginning with a 7 would define 1934; a body type 703 would define a 5 passenger sedan on the 129 inch wheelbase in the (Standard) Eight series. A 713 or 753 would define a 5 passenger sedan on a different wheelbase with a different engine. An 1108-XXX would define a bare chassis sold for outside coachwork.

The second set of digits, the "production number", was just a sequence number for that particular body type. In earlier years it started with 11, and in later years with either 2001 or 1001. For the years that Briggs made to bodies and particularly 1948 thru 1950, a Briggs tag affixed on the cowl near the heater would give THEIR sequence #, not always the same as the sequence in which the cars were finally assembled.

The large embossed numbers often found on cowl (except for parts of 1940) were 'thief-proof" numbers which, since the Vehicle Numbers are on removable tags, were sort of a last resort number to be used in cases of stolen cars, etc. There is only a rough correlation of these to approximate year of production (1956 should begin with a "D") but nothing else can be determined by these numbers.

Posted on: 2007/12/24 11:05
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Re: How much money did GM have during the Great Depression?
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This all has nothing to do with Packards, but interesting history none-the-less. Another great read is what happened to the VW plant and design after the war. VW ended up in the British sector and was somewhat complicated by the fact that much of the assets were paid for in the form of deposits (for undelivered cars) by the German public. Eventually the Brits hired Humber to evaluate the factory and engineering, and Humber (who apparently wasn't all that sharp) decided it was all pretty much worthless; thus the Brits decided not to take it and turned it over to the Germans to manage and try to restore their shattered economy. Doesn't say much about Humber does it! There is a really good book on this, I just don't remember the title and author.

Posted on: 2007/12/21 6:49
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Re: EXTERIOR COLOURS/ RESTORER OR COLLECTOR
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2007/3/14 16:01
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I actually find those colors rather attractive on that body style, though it's well known that Packard used colors in advertising materials that were never offered when the cars actually went into production. Artistic license I suppose. I also find that I'm often dissaspointed by the colors that some restorers choose for their cars, it's like they believe they have a better sense of color and style than the professionals that Packard used to select colors and color combinations. It's rarely possible to find better combinations than those originally offered.

Posted on: 2007/12/20 6:41
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Re: Wanted: 1956 Patrician ignition switch
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2007/3/14 16:01
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Did you try Joel Ray (Patrician Industries)? Mike Dulinski? Bob Stolzfus? Seattle Packard? Tuscon Packard (Sandy Chirco)? How about the eBay store of NOS Packard parts? These are all pretty much the standard sources for such an item and I'm certain you'll find one, either used or perhaps NOS.

Posted on: 2007/12/19 15:15
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Re: Senior & Junior
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2007/3/14 16:01
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The 18th series "120" was only available on a 127 inch wheelbase and the "160" was available on 127, 138 and 148 inch wheelbases. So there are the obvious differences between the longer wheelbase 160s and the 120.

Posted on: 2007/12/18 13:28
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Re: Wanted: 1956 Patrician ignition switch
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2007/3/14 16:01
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I presume you've tried the usual Packard vendors? They are reasonably easy to find NOS.

Posted on: 2007/12/18 8:55
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Re: How much money did GM have during the Great Depression?
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The $66 million was in cash? Or stock? Or both?

Posted on: 2007/12/18 8:54
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Re: Senior & Junior
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2007/3/14 16:01
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Peter, just to keep the record straight I think it was Packard itself who made the distinction between "junior" and "senior" cars at least as early as when then-President George Christopher made his famous statment complaining about all the labor he was lavishing on "that god dammed senior stuff". I agree the juniors a wonderful cars, they just weren't the kind of car that had established Packard's reputation in the luxury market.

Posted on: 2007/12/17 5:50
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