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Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
#1
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Stewart Ballard
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Starting my project blog now before I forget things. My 1955 Model 400 is currently inside my small garage. There isn't a lot of room in there but this location is only temporary. I have a new 30x40 building due to begin construction in April. For this reason I'm not going to jump into this project to fast or it would be harder to move the car later. Not sure yet what I'll do until April.

I found my Packard on Craigslist in Southhaven Mississippi. I'd been searching every city within 500 miles on craigslist for several weeks for a 400. I wanted a fixer upper and I got it. The car was actually parked about 20 feet from the MS/TN state line on HWY 51. That's about half mile south of Graceland. A buddy and I went down on February 2nd to bring it home to Kentucky.

The car appears to be all original. It's been sitting for a while and has some rust but so far it does not appear to be anything I can't handle. I'm not sure of the engines condition. The whole car does appear to be about 99% complete. All the chrome, trimmings, buttons and knobs are in place.

The floor and trunk pans do have some serious rust but I've not cleaned it all up yet so they are still unknown. The fuel tank is gone. At first I figured the straps had rusted and the tank was left were it was parked but I found the straps and the float device in the trunk so I am sure it was salvaged. The brake lines are rusted and broken in multiple places.

I am planning a complete frame off restoration for my Packard. I'm not sure there is any other way I could do it, having no idea how long it's been sitting or the engines condition. Frame off just seems the smartest way to go. I did pull the oil and transmission dip sticks today and both were showing good fluids levels and in good condition so that's another mystery. Below are some images I took today of some parts that I'll be eventually looking for.

By the way I am a photographer so you can expect many pictures once I actually begin restoration. I hope I can keep this blog up-to-date for both you and me. There are some blogs here (like BigKevs) that inspire. There are also many that got lost along the way. I hope I can rank up there among the former rather then the latter.

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Posted on: 2013/2/12 21:47
Stewart Ballard
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Re: Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
#2
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Ozstatman
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Stewart,
Great that you're doing a Project Blog, I for one will certainly be following along. And for including your '55 Four Hundred Hardtop Coupe in the Registry.

Posted on: 2013/2/13 1:04
Mal
/o[]o\
====

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: Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
#3
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Stewart Ballard
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Here are some more pictures that I took yesterday. The odometer is showing 72706 miles and the brake pedal look like new so I'm thinking the miles are correct. Looking at the speedometer there is no needle and it's not laying on the bottom. How on earth does the needle break off and fall out?
I'm hoping some will tell me that it's actually behind that center spot and will appear when needed.

Was reading here about swap meets and wondered it there might be any in my area. I looked just in time. A couple more weeks and I might have missed this www.kyanaswapmeet.info/

The other pictures are of items found in the car.

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Posted on: 2013/2/13 18:23
Stewart Ballard
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Re: Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
#4
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HH56
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Quote:
Looking at the speedometer there is no needle and it's not laying on the bottom. How on earth does the needle break off and fall out?


A sad but fairly common malady. Several here have been afflicted with it. The needle is large and the shaft end where it attaches is tiny. When either the cable needs lube or the speedo itself is gummy and starts to stick, the oscillation and jerking starts. When the movements get so bad the cup and shaft makes a rapid jerk and hits the internal stop a few times, the needle keeps right on going and finally comes off.

There is a fairly large open cluster space behind the speedo. Unless someone has already taken the speedo out to remove the needle, I expect you will find it has slipped under the edge and is laying in the bottom of the cluster.

While it's possible a repair shop might be able to fix it if you find the needle, I more expect the shaft end has twisted off & you will have to find another speedo.

Posted on: 2013/2/13 19:53
Howard
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Re: Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
#5
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Craig Hendrickson
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You're still looking at quite a project there, especially with a frame off. Just ask KevinAZ who posts here on the site and beautifully restored a 1955 400 a few years ago. His didn't "look as bad" as your pictures indicate, but of course that doesn't mean that it didn't need EVERYTHING!

Craig

Posted on: 2013/2/13 20:21
Nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure! Ellen Ripley "Aliens"
Time flies like an arrow. Frui
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Re: Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
#6
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Kevin AZ
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Stewart,

All things are certainly possible in this life of ours. Grit, determination, guts, faith and good friends here at Packardinfo will help you with many issues that will arise during this ambitious project you've now undertaken. I wish you well and will encourage you to pace yourself! My project took close to TEN years to complete. I hope also that you have a partner or loved one that encourages along the way too. My bride was my biggest cheerleader and I can honestly assert that my 400 would not have been completed without that support.

Look forward to watching your progress.

Posted on: 2013/2/13 20:57
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Re: Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
#7
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Stewart Ballard
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Thanks guys, I've no illusions about what this project is going to take... well maybe a little. I've got plenty of time and soon will have plenty of room to work. My 400 looks really rough in pictures but it's pretty solid.
This Packard was, in part, my wife's choice. Her father owned numerous Packard including the 400 below. He's gone now but for her he'll live on in this car. Just for kicks we call it Bill after him. She wants to see this car completed as much as I. Maybe I'll get her to help me from time to time.

Once my new shop is built I can get started. On a side note, my wife wants to have a barn quilt put on my shop (they are real popular in this area). I suggested a Packard logo for it but that's not going happen I'm afraid.

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Posted on: 2013/2/13 22:11
Stewart Ballard
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Re: Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
#8
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PackardV8
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I'm 30 miles west of Nashville. Does not seem to be any good swap meets anymore. I'm interested in going to them tho. Prefer 150 miles or less one way.

How far is Brandenburg KY from Nashville Tn.??? From Land between the lakes Ky.??? I've hung around Grand Rivers (Land Between the Lakes area) in years past and plan another trip there sometime soon.

Posted on: 2013/2/13 22:16
VAPOR LOCK demystified: See paragraph SEVEN of PMCC documentaion as listed in post #11 of the following thread:f
http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/mod ... ewtopic.php?topic_id=7245
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Re: Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
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Kevin AZ
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Great picture.

Posted on: 2013/2/13 22:50
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Re: Stewart's 1955 Packard 400
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patgreen
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Do you prefer B&W as a photographer??????

Posted on: 2013/2/14 0:13
When two men ride the same horse, one has to be in the back...
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