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Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2006
My first postwar Packard purchased in the '70s was actually a 1951 Henney-Packard combination coach which could be used either as a hearse or an ambulance and when I bought it, it had the wrong rear end installed. I was told that it was from a Jeep and have recently determined that it is a Dana rear end but otherwise I have no idea what it came from. Shortly after buying it and to get the proper rear end, I bought a 1951 Henney-Packard 3-door military ambulance and made the swap, then parked the ambulance until recently.

Having sold the combination many years ago and trying to figure out what to do with the ambulance, I decided to make it driveable once again! When I bought it I was told that the distributor was broken and indeed with the cap off, the rotor just spun but once I got it to my storage yard (I had only outdoor car storage then) I found that the reason it spun was that there was no oil pump and the gear on the pump is what drives the distributor. Pulling one out of stock and installing it, the engine ran nicely.

These long wheelbase 3-door military ambulances were based on Service Cars which were like sedan deliveries or panel trucks of the funeral trade. Typically service cars had no side windows and featured a chrome decorative wreath on the sides but they did have functioning rear side doors. For the special military orders, the doors were closed off and upholstered over as though they werenít there and and brightwork was deleted where it could be. This particular version has had windows added to the rear side "doors" but whether by Henney or someone later is unknown.

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jpg  Ambulance-Proper_Rear-Axel.jpg (60.84 KB)
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jpg  Combination-Wrong_Rear-Axle.jpg (33.91 KB)
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jpg  Ambulance-Wrong_Rear-Axel.jpg (79.77 KB)
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Posted on: 3/25 0:38:42
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Re: Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2006
When I moved all my cars to my Oregon shop about twelve years ago, the ambulance went along and now it is finally indoors after years of outside storage.

After having it always there in the background all these years both outdoors and in the shop, I kept a mental list of things it needed and when I was at my shop the last few times I took a physical visual inventory and bought most everything.

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jpg  Carrier-01.JPG (866.15 KB)
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jpg  Carrier-02.JPG (769.09 KB)
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jpg  In-Shop.JPG (426.40 KB)
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Posted on: 3/25 0:46:34
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Re: Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2006
The 4.7 rear end was sourced from a 1954 Henney-Packard but was from a very wet climate which took its toll on the steel brake lines and on one of the drums so I had to source replacements but fortunately I already had a replacement for the shoes and backing plate. Also fortunately, the other side had had a seal go bad so everything was soaked in oil which preserved it. As for the steel lines, I managed to get another set that was just barely good enough for use as a template and had another pair made.

I also discovered that the entire driveline from the clutch back was gone so that was purchased too although Iím still waiting for the transmission to arrive. I did find the original rear portion of the driveshaft but I have no idea what became of the front shaft as none of my other cars had that missing.

However, a big surprise while waiting for parts to arrive was when I went to rebuild the front brake cylinders and found nothing whatsoever inside the drums! Apparently I had borrowed the brakes from it even though I only vaguely recall doing so. Those were sourced and purchased too so I rebuilt the cylinders and installed the front brakes but did nothing to the shoes or drums as the goal is to just get it moveable under its own power and stoppable from slow speeds for now. I also rebuilt the rear brake cylinders but havenít yet sourced seals for the rear axle which Iíll do once itís been installed.

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jpg  Rear-Axle.jpg (897.48 KB)
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jpg  Rusty-Backing.JPG (717.70 KB)
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jpg  Oily-Backing.JPG (867.62 KB)
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jpg  New-Drum.jpg (802.03 KB)
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jpg  Rebuilt-Front.JPG (753.12 KB)
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Posted on: 3/25 0:53:10
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Re: Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2006
Now that this little blog has gotten more or less caught up, here are a couple more tidbits.

One of the first things I did was to pull off the master cylinder which is quite different on Henney-Packards from passenger cars. In examining it, I discovered that it was not the original cylinder and, since it would have needed a professional rebuild anyway due to its condition, I decided to put the expense into the proper one. Once I got the proper one which was from the same wet location as the rear axle, Apple Hydraulics took on the rebuild and did an amazing job considering its condition. Shown here is the replacement that it had and the proper one rebuilt.

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jpg  Old-Master.jpg (727.00 KB)
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jpg  New-Master.jpg (1,023.45 KB)
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Posted on: 3/25 1:00:45
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Re: Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2006
Although I have a couple new mufflers in stock and will install one, there is nothing behind it in this car for use as a pattern and none of the shops that make vintage exhaust systems have a pattern. I could probably have one made by guessing based on the length between the axle and the muffler and between the axle and rear bumper, using a Patrician 400 template for the bends over the axle. However, the factory blueprint was available and presuming its not missing any dimensions (as every other one I have is), one will be made from that.

While underneath I discovered that the parking brake cable had been run under the frame rather than through it but fortunately the cable itself is in good condition. Not so for the piece that connects to the rear wheels as, being the wrong axle, they are cut off and the replacement axle's were not usable either so were cut off. Fortunately I have a good one somewhere.

Also missing is the Federal WLR siren/light so if anyone knows of one from a Henney-Packard or who can even just loan me the base that it specific to 1951-1954 so that I can have one made, please let me know!

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jpg  Muffler-Rear.jpg (615.66 KB)
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jpg  Brake-Cable.jpg (513.52 KB)
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jpg  Siren_Mount.jpg (632.09 KB)
60923_5e7b94de587c1.jpg 2016X1512 px

Posted on: 3/25 10:19:41
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Re: Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Home away from home
Joined:
2015/1/16 9:43
From sw, pa
Posts: 1245
Makes for an interesting project. I assume the bore in the master cylinder is larger than standard 1" bore?

Posted on: 3/25 10:38:30
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Re: Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2006
Thank you! Everything about a Henney-Packard is larger than that in a passenger car including the massive 14" rear brake drums and 16" wheels on a 5-1/2" bolt circle. The rear wheels are also farther apart than the front making going around tight corners rather interesting.

From 1951-1954 they had a master cylinder bore of 1-1/8" in a Wagner-Lockheed FE-2539 which also has a very large fluid reservoir compared to that found in the passenger cars. Apparently this cylinder is still being made for use in tractors but has a -61 after the number so I'm not sure what the differences might be.

Posted on: 3/25 10:47:37
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Re: Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2019/2/9 11:12
From North Carolina
Posts: 68
Another really interesting project Don, thanks for posting! Will be looking forward to future reports on the progress of this unusual Packard.

Posted on: 3/25 13:54:46
_________________
Paul
www.studebakerskytop.com
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Re: Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2006
Thank you, Paul! I am also a member of a Facebook group about military ambulances and this morning I posted a link to this blog, which has generated much excitement there. My goal, though, in not to actually restore it as I collect hearses, not ambulances, and bought this only as a parts car. However, as it is it would likely get scrapped or hot-rodded so I'm trying to make it mostly complete and driveable in order to give it a better chance to survive intact.

Posted on: 3/25 14:04:18
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Re: Resurrecting a 1951 Henney-Packard Parts Car
Home away from home
Joined:
2015/1/16 9:43
From sw, pa
Posts: 1245
This is what they should have had for Ghostbusters instead of a Cadillac....

Posted on: 3/25 14:38:45
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