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Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#1
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Russell Harmon
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Well, I’m starting this project blog nearly 5 years after acquiring the car. Better late than never eh?
I acquired the car in 2017 from a long time Packard collector, who has sadly since passed. The car had sat outside for some time, but luckily items like the paint and interior have held up ok and have not needed to be redone as of yet, however in the near future.

Soon after getting the car, my father and I embarked on getting the car roadworthy. He taught me how to go through the brake system, we went through the cooling system and got the car running. Plagued with chronic overheating, we pulled the head off and found multiple burnt valves and a few stripped head studs. Next embarked a full rebuild.

Some time later, everything was back together and the car was road ready. My partner and I embarked on polishing the older lacquer paint job and it was/is stunning.

We’ve taken the car on a few long distance trips, the furthest being from Southern California to the Monterey peninsula in December of 2020, just over 800 miles round trip.

It’s been a fantastic car, most recently we had the pleasure of showing it at the San Marino motor classic. Anyways, I’ll attach some photos and do my best to keep this updated.
Thanks for following along

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Posted on: 9/22 22:40
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Re: Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#2
Home away from home
Home away from home

PackardDon
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Very nice and I’m a bit jealous as my first Packard (in the ‘60s) was a 1939 but never looked that good! Good work and the Packard looks great. Looking forward to more installments.

Posted on: 9/23 1:55
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Re: Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#3
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

packardsix1939
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Russell: Congratulations on owning such a beautiful Packard. I have always especially liked the 1938 and 1939 models and have owned three, including my current 1939 Six Convertible Coupe. The other two were a 1938 Six Sedan and a 1938 Six Opera Coupe. The Opera Coupe was a wonderful original car that had not been taken apart or restored, only been given a repaint in a color that looks very similar to yours. It had a beautiful original interior and a radio that still worked. In 1986, I drove it from Connecticut to Pittsburg, PA to attend the PAC National that year. The car performed flawlessly. It is now in Finland. Here are some pictures of it taken in the mid-1980's. Notice my then daily driver 1981 Buick Skylark in the driveway. I'll bet that one is no longer around!

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Posted on: 9/23 10:32
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Re: Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#4
Home away from home
Home away from home

humanpotatohybrid
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Very nice car, guys. Reminds me of my own project, I bought it from a guy who owned 3 Packards. He died 4 years ago before he got done restoring the third and I picked it up.

My project thread is here.

Did you have to do any preparation for that long trip? I'm planning on taking mine for a trip or two, maybe not that long but if I think the car will handle it, I'd like to drive it from Pittsburgh to Boston for my brother's graduation in June.

Posted on: 9/23 19:20
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#5
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Russell Harmon
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Packardsix1939, thanks for sharing photos! Looks almost exactly like our 120!

Humanpotatohybrid, that trip was nearly 2 years and I’m trying to recall everything. Seems to me we did a chassis lubrication right before the trip, inspected drive line and brakes/suspension, we brought an extensive tool kit but nothing insane just things like fuel hose, an extra radiator hose, some spare wire. The one main component we did bring along was a water pump, because if for any reason it failed it would be hard to get one on the road. Otherwise that like one spark plug wire, points, condenser, cap and rotor.

I had to look back at photos, the rebuilt engine had 3,400 miles on it when we left for that trip. So things like having a worn out engine were not issues for us on the trip. It didn’t burn any oil, and it doesn’t leak.

I guess the main suggestion I would have would be make sure things like suspension and drive line are in good condition, as well as tires and brakes. Major safety items aren’t fun when they fail. And be prepared to break down. I’m not saying you should expect it, but be prepared so if it does happen you know what to do. Plus it’s less frustrating if you already have it in your mind that it’s possible.

I attached one of the many photos from the trip. It was most definitely enjoyable and memorable. Also probably the best way to have a cup of coffee early in the morning.

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Posted on: 9/23 22:34
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Re: Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#6
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Russell Harmon
See User information
Here’s some pictures once we brought the car to my uncles property, who also was kind enough to trailer the car there for us, so Ernie if you’re reading this, thanks again for all of your help. Pictures also show after doing some light interior cleaning

Finally a picture of what we found once we removed the thermostat housing. Obviously some cooling system repairs were in the cars near future

Pictures from October 2017

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Posted on: 9/23 23:28
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Re: Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#7
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Russell Harmon
See User information
And so as shown in the previous post, we began the task of removing the radiator from the car to have it recored

While the radiator was being repaired, I took it upon myself to restore the steering wheel. Finding tips on this website and others, I found a product by jb weld called plastic weld that would prove suitable for the repairs. Nearly 5 years later it has held up very well for an amateur first attempt

The steering wheel would get refinished one more time during the engine rebuild, as there were a few imperfections I was not 100% satisfied with

Pictures from January 2018 to March 2018

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Posted on: 9/23 23:36
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Re: Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#8
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

packardsix1939
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Russell: Amazing job on the steering wheel! About 20 years ago, I owned a 1948 Super 8 Convertible Victoria with a badly cracked plastic wheel, and I decided to have it professionally recast. It cost me over $500, and I had to wait six months to get it back. Yours looks about as good for much less money! It would probably cost over a grand today for the same job.

Glad you liked the photos of my old 1938 Six Opera Coupe. It was indeed quite a car. The trip I made from Connecticut to the 1986 PAC meet in Pittsburgh required no special preparation. My friend Jim and I just hopped it the car and off we went. We drove nonstop for over 11 hours, most of the time on interstate highways, before finally reaching our destination. Then, we drove it around Pittsburgh that week for the various meet events, some of which were miles away. The car performed flawlessly throughout. But I had already purchased another Packard, a 1932 Light 8 Sport Coupe, and had the '38 for sale at the meet. In fact, that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to drive to the National that year. It was there that the late Ole Book spotted my car and sent the information to a friend of his from Helsinki, Finland named Peter Ginman. After I got home from the meet, Peter contacted me, and we eventually ended up making a deal for him to purchase the car.

The story of how my '38 then journeyed from Connecticut to Finland is pretty unbelievable. A few weeks after we closed the deal, Peter and his wife flew to the US from Finland to pick up the car in person. They got a hotel in Mid-town Manhattan and then took a Greyhound bus to my hometown in Connecticut. I picked them up at the bus depot in the Packard, and attracted quite a bit of attention, especially as I made sure to greet Peter and his wife wearing my favorite fedora! It was then that I learned that Peter intended to drive the car back to Manhattan himself instead of having it trailered. I did not think that this was a good idea. It was late in the afternoon when he arrived, and it would be getting dark soon. NYC was at least a two-hour ride from my home over very busy roads, and Mid-town Manhattan traffic is about the worst you can imagine. Even today, I would not attempt it in a modern car in broad daylight, let alone at night in a vintage 1930's car with its original six-volt electrical system. Also, Peter admitted that he had never been in the USA before and was not all that familiar with the roads. I had to help him map out a route, and this was in the days before GPS or cell phones. No Mapquest back then, you used a real paper map from Rand McNally. But off he went. I was actually pretty scared for him, but later that evening. he called me from his hotel to let me know that the car had run fine all the way down and handled NYC traffic as well as any modern car. The next morning, he drove it from Manhattan to Elizabeth, NJ, where it was loaded onto a Soviet freighter for the transatlantic trip to Finland. I wonder if any of the crewman remembered how much Stalin admired Packards. One of the photos I posted shows Peter and his wife just before they left for their return trip to Manhattan. This is the last photo I ever took of my car. Peter still owns my '38 and from what I have heard, it has participated in numerous European Packard tours and events over the years. While I do sometimes still miss my old '38 Coupe, I'm happy that it did go to a good home with an owner who loves and appreciates it as much as I did.

Posted on: 9/24 17:44
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Re: Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#9
Home away from home
Home away from home

humanpotatohybrid
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Thank you for that great story packardsix, very nice read!

That reminds me of how I got my 55 home. I fired it right up, then drove it 6 miles home on back roads in broad daylight. Whew, what an experience.

Posted on: 9/24 17:56
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Russell & Bazil’s 1939 One-Twenty Club Coupe
#10
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Russell Harmon
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Packardsix1939, that’s a fantastic story. I had a friend that use to export cars to Finland, which is where he’s from. He has some amazing stories of buying cars out of the newspaper and driving them from Southern California to Baltimore to have them shipped to his friends, eagerly awaiting them across the ocean. Many of those cars that were exported in the eighties, are still owned by the same owners who commissioned to have them sent across.

Posted on: 9/24 21:25
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