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(1) 2 »

1954 Packard on eBay
#1
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

QMopar
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https://www.ebay.com/itm/125204031345? ... nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

It's been featured on the Classic Auto Mall website as well as the other major classic car sites for a while and most recently been on offered on an eBay auction 3 times.

I'm not in a position to grab it but I find it interesting that this clean 68 year old car first topped out at $9100, but only around $6000 the last two times. The buy-it-now was more than twice as much as the last two highest bids. I love everything about this car – 327 straight 8, 3 speed w/overdrive, wide whitewalls, cormorant, dual spot lights, driving lights, and neat-as-a-pin cloth interior. It has all I need (and even want).

Packard was already in the history books during my formative years. I came up being hauled around in American-made station wagons (mostly Chryslers). As I became able to drive in the mid-1980’s, I first owned a Mercury and two Chryslers. All were big, torquey-but-thirsty 400ci or larger V8s. Japanese cars were cheap, fairly easy to maintain, and good on gas so I owned several. I still drive one today (even though my Fuji Heavy Industries example was made in Indiana).

With that said, my appreciation for all things American-made has grown and, for the last 20+ years, my for-fun cars have been Mopars. Currently, I play with a cheap, nothing-special 1974 Dodge Dart Sport. Even with something as mainstream as an A body Mopar, these things can be expensive! Thankfully, enough were made that you can generally find what you need affordably. It’s a good thing because I’m one of those people who enjoy driving around in a nearly 50 year old car! Especially when I can use it on a daily basis when the snow and foul weather go away for about 6 months here in northwestern PA.

When I learned that my grandpa owned a 1955 Packard Clipper, my intrigue with the company grew. And not just for Packard, for all those decades-gone American brands. Now, projecting into the future, I can't help but think: will the Packard marque fade just enough for someone like me to afford and enjoy one? Maybe never, and that’s fine – I’m not necessarily complaining. I reason that if prices are high, demand is still there. The name is still on the minds of enough folks that it remains alive.
I also believe the market dictates their value. But, in this case, the market is people. I venture to say car enthusiasts mostly. If in the years ahead, the new up-and-coming auto aficionados turn their attention toward what they came up with, will Packard prices remain up or go down? Will I get my shot when those folks with disposable income turn toward their age-of-dominate-influence-automobiles such as Honda V-TECs, Hyundai Tiburons, Tesla Model 3s, or even a Toyota Prius?

I don't even know what point I'm trying to make other than as time continues to move along, these beautiful cars (and the make’s rich history) continue to lose their admirers. Is it possible we get to the point where Packard gets lost to history? Selfishly, will I get an opportunity to own and operate one or will they become so exclusive that my opportunity has likely already passed?
This musing wasn’t to elicit pity on my financial position, rather, it was just an off-the-cuff thought – dread, really – that a car company – once so vibrant and full of life – could fall so far that it could fade into oblivion. I certainly hope the Packard name and story don’t get enveloped into the passing years.

And, finally, I can also hope to experience looking over the long hood, up over the glorious hood ornament, while the velvety–smooth straight 8 shifted through a 3 speed overdrive transmission pulls me and my family down the road to get ice cream some summer’s evening.

And having someone ask me what it’s like because I’m a man who owns one.

Posted on: 3/22 16:10
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Re: 1954 Packard on eBay
#2
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PackardDon
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It does look nice but the bids are going up to around its value while the seller seems to think it’s worth far more. The seller also thinks that the 1951 hood ornament (1954’s was totally different) is a goose so possibly leery of other things stated too. I didn’t read it all but the photos show a bad enough transmission leak to have covered the muffler with oil, leaking brakes and who knows what else.

Posted on: 3/23 1:57
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Re: 1954 Packard on eBay
#3
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Ross
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It is a very nice car: the body is way better than one could expect for an east coast car. There is no structural rot. Plus the interior is way better than one could hope for a west coast car. Freshening up the mechanicals with some new seals would cost only the tiniest fraction of welding up a rot box.

With the 327 and OD I can guarantee that car will run big lazy circles any 53-54 Caribbean, and probably a 55 as well.

And they ride well, and handle well and.....nobody cares.

You are correct in your predictions. Almost all of my customer base are in their seventies and as the depredations of time take their inevitable toll a lot of very nice cars--and even more cars that "I never got around to" will be sold by uninterested children and executors. No way I can imagine there will be enough interested parties to absorb them. Sure the big ticket restorations and rare models will find homes, but more prosaic models like this '54 will lag.

I find the 51-54 models are wonderfully good at being cars but that motivates only few collectors.

Posted on: 3/23 6:34
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Re: 1954 Packard on eBay
#4
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

QMopar
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Quote:

PackardDon wrote:
It does look nice but the bids are going up to around its value while the seller seems to think it’s worth far more. The seller also thinks that the 1951 hood ornament (1954’s was totally different) is a goose so possibly leery of other things stated too. I didn’t read it all but the photos show a bad enough transmission leak to have covered the muffler with oil, leaking brakes and who knows what else.


Totally agree about the bidding matching its value, how the car was marketed (or lack of marketing), as well as the leaking of pretty much anything that can leak. There wasn't even a mention of one of it's greatest assets: overdrive.

It even more drives my point that no one really knows about these things...nor, I'm guessing, cares to know. Makes me melancholy.

Posted on: 3/23 13:30
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Re: 1954 Packard on eBay
#5
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

QMopar
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Quote:

Ross wrote:
It is a very nice car: the body is way better than one could expect for an east coast car. There is no structural rot. Plus the interior is way better than one could hope for a west coast car. Freshening up the mechanicals with some new seals would cost only the tiniest fraction of welding up a rot box.

With the 327 and OD I can guarantee that car will run big lazy circles any 53-54 Caribbean, and probably a 55 as well.

And they ride well, and handle well and.....nobody cares.

You are correct in your predictions. Almost all of my customer base are in their seventies and as the depredations of time take their inevitable toll a lot of very nice cars--and even more cars that "I never got around to" will be sold by uninterested children and executors. No way I can imagine there will be enough interested parties to absorb them. Sure the big ticket restorations and rare models will find homes, but more prosaic models like this '54 will lag.

I find the 51-54 models are wonderfully good at being cars but that motivates only few collectors.



Agreed! Living on the east coast certainly has my eyes peeled for rust and corrosion. This example is much nicer (body-wise) than many counterparts of the era.

I also wonder with this particular example if the 3 speed manual transmission is viewed as a hindrance to owning. Obviously, I feel it's one of its greatest strengths. The irony is the R11 overdrive makes this manual transmission very automatic!

While my grandfather owned a 55 - and I think them to be beautiful and stately 50's cars - I have a certain attraction to the 51-54s - in large part because of what you can't see: the flat head 8.

Also because by this time, it certainly appears that Packard had perfected that straight 8. Yes, holding on to the flathead had a hand in their demise, but that 1954 body style with those tail lights does it for me.

Posted on: 3/23 13:49
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Re: 1954 Packard on eBay
#6
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kevinpackard
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There is a lot to like about that car. The body is straight, the paint is nice (way better than mine), the interior is in great shape, weather stripping is all there, no rust, chrome is in great shape, etc. There are some things that need to be addressed, but those look like mainly mechanical, which isn't nearly as expensive as redoing the interior or repainting the car.

I wonder if the breather is plugged up on the rear axle? Looks like both axle seals are leaking, as well as the pinion seal. Plus the seal on the rear of the transmission. I've done axle seals, and if I can do them anyone can.

Bottom line is that this is a great car for someone who wants a nice driver, basically ready to go. I would definitely pay 10K for something like this.

There are younger guys who are interested in old cars, though many aren't at the point in life that they can afford one. I've wanted one for years, but it wasn't until a couple years ago that I could actually do it. Many of the younger ones aren't familiar with Packards because they didn't grow up around them. I find it satisfying to help educate about these fine cars when I go to shows or cruise-in's. If we don't get out and let people see the cars, how will they know about them?

-Kevin

Posted on: 3/24 0:04
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Re: 1954 Packard on eBay
#7
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

QMopar
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Quote:

kevinpackard wrote:
There is a lot to like about that car. The body is straight, the paint is nice (way better than mine), the interior is in great shape, weather stripping is all there, no rust, chrome is in great shape, etc. There are some things that need to be addressed, but those look like mainly mechanical, which isn't nearly as expensive as redoing the interior or repainting the car.

I wonder if the breather is plugged up on the rear axle? Looks like both axle seals are leaking, as well as the pinion seal. Plus the seal on the rear of the transmission. I've done axle seals, and if I can do them anyone can.

Bottom line is that this is a great car for someone who wants a nice driver, basically ready to go. I would definitely pay 10K for something like this.

There are younger guys who are interested in old cars, though many aren't at the point in life that they can afford one. I've wanted one for years, but it wasn't until a couple years ago that I could actually do it. Many of the younger ones aren't familiar with Packards because they didn't grow up around them. I find it satisfying to help educate about these fine cars when I go to shows or cruise-in's. If we don't get out and let people see the cars, how will they know about them?

-Kevin


Agreed - well said Kevin.

Thanks all for indulging me,

~Q

Posted on: 3/24 11:26
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Re: 1954 Packard on eBay
#8
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

cortes121
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I must echo Kevin's sentiment about interest vs affordability for us on the younger end of the spectrum. I still can't reasonably afford this one. I'd love to own it though.

Posted on: 5/4 20:36
- Anthony

1955 Packard Clipper Custom
1951 Kaiser Deluxe
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Re: 1954 Packard on eBay
#9
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Wat_Tyler
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Remind me to chime in on this conversation, as I have only recently started Packarding, as it were. Known them for years, had a couple, took a three decades + break, and then bought 2 which turned into 9 - and 10 tomorrow. Plus parts. I'm not sure I can explain the thinking, but I get the disposable income part of stuff.


It did get better with a brighter light at the end of the tunnel when I finally pried open my wallet for a driver/survivor.

Posted on: 5/20 18:42
If you're not having fun, maybe it's your own damned fault.
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Re: 1954 Packard on eBay
#10
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humanpotatohybrid
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I'm always surprised how how the vlaues are for the hardtops even compared to their purchase price new. Adjusted for inflation (1955 models):
Clipper Deluxe (+ Ultramatic & Radio): $31,100
Patrician (+ Radio): $44,400
Caribbean: $64,000

Then "high retail" prices on NADA:
Clipper Deluxe: $20,100
Patrician: $21,800
Caribbean: $109,600
And "Average retail" is roughly 1/2 of that on all of those.

Quote:
I also believe the market dictates their value. But, in this case, the market is people. I venture to say car enthusiasts mostly. If in the years ahead, the new up-and-coming auto aficionados turn their attention toward what they came up with, will Packard prices remain up or go down? Will I get my shot when those folks with disposable income turn toward their age-of-dominate-influence-automobiles such as Honda V-TECs, Hyundai Tiburons, Tesla Model 3s, or even a Toyota Prius?

I don't even know what point I'm trying to make other than as time continues to move along, these beautiful cars (and the make’s rich history) continue to lose their admirers. Is it possible we get to the point where Packard gets lost to history? Selfishly, will I get an opportunity to own and operate one or will they become so exclusive that my opportunity has likely already passed?


To me it seemed like 15 years ago 50's-60's cars were in vogue, and no one cared about 80's cars. Now it seems like 60's-80's. Tastes are cyclical and I don't doubt that 50's cars will gain a reasonable amount of value in the next decade or two.

Historically, cars have never been a better financial investment than normal index funds or such. That being said, if you want one I think now would be a good time to pick one up compared to a decade from now or some other classics, as the 50's market (at least for Packards) seems depressed right now.

Not even getting started on the pre-war cars... they also seem to be losing popularity overall, yet great examples sell for 6 figures. It's a little strange.

Posted on: 5/22 9:28
Owner of '55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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