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Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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As the title suggests, this vehicle will be used for vacation duty and needs a lot of work before it gets there. I told the old man (my dad) the last time we were in Disney World Orlando that the next time we come, we would bring the patrician. Unfortunately he passed away February of this year. But, I WILL make that happen.

Car's History:
The car came into the dealership my dad worked at in the 60's. I heard it was used as a parts hauler, but have heard differing stories on that. But regardless of what it was used or not used as, it had transmission trouble and was parked. The inspection sticker expired in 1968. It sat in storage until the 90s when the owner of the dealership tasked the old man with making it a reliable runner for car shows and such. So the old man went about redoing the suspension, engine, brakes, and installed a 3 speed over drive that they parted out a rotted vehicle for. He got it to the point of driving it up and down our road. This was also around the same time the dealership was finishing up restoring a Caribbean for a car collector. They ran into issues with the rebuilt engine for the Caribbean so they yanked the one out of the patrician and it sat ever since. Come 2010 the dealership told the old man he could have the car, so he moved it into storage closer to home. Thanksgiving of this year I got the car back to the family garage.

Car's Condition:

So it has the 3 speed manual currently, it will keep it for now. Power windows, power locks, power seat, AM radio, rear seat speaker, and A/C. I was informed it has the twin traction rear end. I dont know if it originally had it, or if it was installed when the rear end was changed during the trans swap in the 90's. I have not investigated that yet. I was told no seniors came with a 3 speed manual from the factory even though the old man says the rotted out parts car was a patrician. I have to see if it has all the proper senior components.

I was informed the body was perfect... are they ever? It appears the passenger side rocker had some work done to it and still has some holes coming through. The passenger side rear wheel arch looks fishy, but wont know more until I take some paint off and see whats hiding there. The paint is garbage, but still has a shine. The interior is, smelly, but in overall nice shape. the underside just has surface rust.

What Needs Done:
Research. And a lot of it. This is my first time traveling into the packard realm. I hope I can connect with people here and on facebook that would help guide me on parts and how too's.

The suspension will need to be researched and gone over. What I am reading the bushings commonly went out on these vehicles, especially if they were the standard rubber bushings. So even if the old man rebushed it (doesnt look like anything else was touched under the car), it will probably need new bushings after sitting all these years since replacement. I read an article by Dwight Heinmuller regarding some suspension maintenance that suggests replacing them with some modern materials. Ill have to see if any of the other joints should be replaced.

The transmission will be gone through. The engine out of the old mans Caribbean will be gone through as well and installed. The engine was removed due to leaking freeze plugs and a rod knock on start up. So those will need to be addressed. But he rebuilt it back in the 80's so if anything it will need at least new seals and probably bearings. Not to sure on rings. The brakes will be inspected and potentially the cylinders rebuilt. The master cylinder will be rebuilt.

The interior will need scrubbed. But other than a new carpet, im not to sure it needs much else. I will want to repaint the painted interior trim and dash board. Even though the lacquer looks good now, I am not to sure I want to leave it like that. If I have to take most of it off for cleaning and inspection, might as well paint it before installation. The front door glass will need to be replaced. The drivers is de-laminating, and the passenger side is cracked.

The car will be painted. As much as I like the Scottish heather, the car will be white, black, white. Thats what the old man wanted. During painting I am not to sure if I should replace the front and rear glass seals... I believe I can source those gaskets, but I am not touching that curved glass and I dont know if I will be able to find someone who will. But the door seals will be replaced. The trunk seal seems to be in good shape, so not sure if that will be replaced. Replacing the seals may be over kill, but if this is going to be used for vacation duty it will see rain at some point. And it would be nice for it to not leak.

As the car sits it is missing parts. I was told time and time again we have all the parts to put it back on the road. So far I believe that to be the case with what I found in the basement and in the vehicle. Only thing I am a little concerned about is trim. But I know where I need to dig before I say I am missing something.

Then there is the issue of the title. I dont have one. I have a salvage certificate. In PA there are a couple ways that involve going from a salvage certificate to title. One way is going through an enhanced vehicle inspection, which is okay, but I want to make sure I can get an antique title and plate for it so I dont have to trust some mechanic to inspect a vehicle he probably never heard of or how to work on.

So that is where this project sits. Most if not all work will be done by me. The old man did his own work and I will carry that on. If the old man can figure this out for himself and through local sources I can definitely figure this out using the internet.

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Posted on: 2019/12/12 16:08
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Re: Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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Looks like a very worthy project, especially considering the family history!

Will be looking forward to progress updates (and of course pictures ).

Posted on: 2019/12/13 7:33
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Re: Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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Wish you all the best on this project. These are terrific road cars when all sorted out and a lot of fun to drive. To whet your appetite check out some old road tests and be sure to see the different videos about torsion level from back in the day that are on you tube.

Really do recommend a comprehensive inventory before you begin and lay out all the pieces around the car. Endless searching for doodads kills motivation. Yes, you can remove the curved glass or you could commit suicide with a dull butterknife. Both equally enjoyable. Likewise the stainless strips on the roof rails.

A fun field trip might be to stop by my place --about 4 hours away- and we can wander around my 56 400, put it up on the lift, take it out and flog it so you have a good idea what you are undertaking.

Posted on: 2019/12/13 7:55
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Re: Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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Its great you're taking on this project to return another Packard to the road for your family to enjoy, congratulations!

Although its a '55 Patrician, this rough parts car is for sale up in Greenville, PA for a while:

https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/pts/ ... arts-only/7029273834.html

If you don't mind a 352 rather than a 374, maybe here's an engine for your project. Good luck and please keep us posted on your progress.

Or, a bit further away, this rusty '56 Patrician parts car in Alabama:

https://bham.craigslist.org/pts/d/sagi ... patrician/7019464661.html


Posted on: 2019/12/13 12:59
.....epigram time.....
Proud 1953 Clipper Deluxe owner.
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Re: Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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G'day Carfreak,
to PackardInfo. A very interesting history, for sharing it. I'll be following along as you progress your Patrician returning to the road. Additionally there are knowledgeable and experienced Packard people here who are more than willing to advise as your Packard journey continues.

And....I invite you to include your '56 Patrician in the Packard Owner's Registry.

Posted on: 2019/12/13 18:46

Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

1938 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

1941 One-Twenty Club Coupe - SOLD

1948 Super Eight Limo, chassis RHD - SOLD

1950 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

What's this?
Put your Packard in the Packard Vehicle Registry!
Here's how!
Any questions - PM or email me at ozstatman@gmail.com
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Re: Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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Thanks all for the support!! I quite havent figured out how to quote multiple posts with in one reply, so Ill just do this manually:

r1lark - Ill be posting updates when movement on the car happens. In the next couple months I am going to have a family friend come over and help me evaluate the vehicle and see what all it really needs. In the mean time I am going to reach out to kanter and some restoration shops to see what all would need to be done to the suspension to make sure it operates as it should.

Ross - thats what I exactly plan to do. take the trim that was sitting in the car, lay it around it to see what it doesnt have, then going up into the "Packard Shed" (the old man's storage shed that houses all spare parts for the old cars) and see what I can find. Sometimes the gratification of searching and finding the part always adds enjoyment of a task completed. I figured the glass removal and those trim strips would turn my hair grey...

I did look up the old videos on youtube and watched the 25,000 mile run around the track in the 55 Patrician back in the day. All those videos got me thinking that the old mans 56 Caribbean never really had the suspension tuned properly, because that car never acted/reacted like the cars in the videos. So I may take you up on inspecting your 56 400 to give me an idea on what to work towards. Right now the Caribbean is out getting an engine swap and is currently up on a lift. I was checking out the underside and everything appears to be fairly straight forward. so this should be a fun undertaking.

58L8134 - are you sure that is a 55 Patrician in Greenville? It looks like it has the 55 front fenders, but it has the reynolds wrap that goes all the way down the quarter panel. I was under the impression the 55's reynolds wrap stops at the rear door? I could be wrong... However, I wouldnt be opposed to getting a 352. Reason being as the information I could find suggested really the only major differences between the 352 and 374 block was the bore. So if I could get a 352 block, bore it out to the 374 dimensions I would essentially have "perfect" bores as opposed to 60 year old cylinder bores that who knows what happened to them.

Ozstatman - Ill have to check the data plate information and add it to that list, if I havent already

Posted on: 2019/12/16 10:58
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Re: Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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Hi CarFreak

It was somewhat common for dealers to add the rear fender 'Reynolds wrap' to left-over '55 Patricians and 400's during the '56 season to help sales.

Easiest tell-tale whether a Patrician is a '56 is the C-pillar, a fillet was added to accommodate a different rear window shape. The '51-'55 are the same shape.

The '56 trunk lid surface was squared up but swapping lids is a bolt-on. The '56 hooded headlight fender ends were welded onto and leaded in smooth, not new stampings.

Hope that '55 parts car yields some useful parts maybe even a good 352 block. Good luck with your project, we'll all be following with interest.


Posted on: 2019/12/16 17:54
.....epigram time.....
Proud 1953 Clipper Deluxe owner.
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Re: Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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This past weekend I was able to make it to the family garage to do a further inspection of the Patrician. Thankfully I had help, which made the process go quicker as well as get into the disassembly phase:
Body: it shouldn't need much (see pictures below). The driver's side rocker looks great, the lower doors look great, the trunk lid looks great, the hood looks awesome. The lower side and eye lids on the fenders look great. The passenger fender does have more than its fair share of dents from I guess people leaning over it, so some metal repair there is needed. Not too big of a deal. Truck floor looks awesome. The underside just has surface rust in areas and a ton of under coating that is flaking off in places. So that means a lot of on your back work getting that stuff off for POR15. I would like to replace the rubber inserts on the body mounts, the rubber is shot. I would love to get the biscuits made out of aluminum (if anyone knows a source?).
The quarters appear to be okay. There is some dents here and there but no where near as bad as the passenger front fender. Above the wheel arch on the passenger side does look fishy. I don't know if there was a previous repair done that started to fail or just bad paint, but sanding the paint off completely is needed. Both quarters have had work done to them behind the wheels in the past (see the pictures). Not too sure if this was something the old man did or someone else did but it appears to be brazed in and not welded. Repair seems to be okay, would know more when I get the paint off.
The worst parts of the body is the passenger rocker (as I mentioned above). That has had work done on the inner and outer (see pictures). The inside had a piece riveted in and not too sure what is hiding under the body filler. But there was a couple of holes noticed. So there is patch work that is needed.

Trim: it would appear that I have everything. More digging is required obviously, but not the most pressing issue at the moment.

Interior: As mentioned above, it appears to be in okay shape. Some of the mole skin is thinning out in areas that will need addressed. Besides the much needed deep clean, overall, its great!

Engine bay: there is a lot of things missing in there, obviously haha. But again I was told I have everything. The car appears to have been converted to manual steering. The manual cross link is there, but the power steering pump is tied off to the side. So haven't decided if I will leave it manual, or put the power back in (the power cross link is in the Packard Shed). I located the fly wheel, pressure plate and clutch for it. The clutch looks brand new! However the clutch is only a 10"... I was informed the clippers got the 10" and the Packards got the 11", but I was also told you couldn't get a Packard with the 3 speed manual. So not too sure what to do there.
The trans does have the over drive on it, and it does appear to have 2 sets of drain/fill plugs, one set for the main transmission and one for the overdrive unit? Am I understanding that correctly? The Trans and OD tail shaft have their own "reservoirs" of gear lube?

Rear End: this probably has to be the most concerning part of the investigation. I got the back end up on jacks and made a mark on the rear wheel and drive shaft. I rotated the wheel one rotation and the drive shaft barely got two revolutions, which tells me the rear end has not been converted to the different gearing as I was lead to believe (if I did that test right). So the lowest gear according to the service manual would be 2.87's where the 3.54 and 4.09s were had with the manual. So if I am correct, that will need to be addressed. Is removing the rear axle with the torsion ride suspension difficult? The only tag on the housing is one that has a "T", not one that listed the ring and pinion gear tooth count (like the service manual says). So if I want to indeed be sure, that inspection cover needs to come off.

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Posted on: 2020/1/28 8:27
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Re: Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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After the inspection was done some disassembly was done by all, first was getting most of the interior out. The painted trim came out first, as well as the door cards and rear seat. All came out easily. The power bench seemed a little more involved to separate the seat from the track, so that will be saved for another day. But the floor looks good! And is covered in under coating. Which is good, less painting and sound deadening I have to install.
I got the rear bumper off and started to bag and tag some of the electrical components under the hood. I marked where the components came off the car, but I want to go back and mark the wires as well. Some components I knew what they were, others I had no clue, so next time I want the wiring diagram near me so I can accurately mark what they are.

There is a lot of work to be done... it is kind of overwhelming at times when looking at this through my timeline. Hope I can get it done when its needed by!

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Posted on: 2020/1/28 8:29
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Re: Vacation Car - 56 Patrician
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The brass tag under one of the differential cover cap screws with the "T" stamped was to indicate Twin Traction differential. There were other ratios available in addition to those you mentioned including 3.31 and 3.07.

Posted on: 2020/1/28 11:31
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