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Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
#1
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1941Packard
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I'm new to Packards and vehicles of this vintage, so please forgive my ignorance. I saw this 120 available and always wanted an old car with a straight 8, so here we go.

Someone started restoring it some years back, but never got it road worthy. The battery was from 2010, so I assume that's the last time it was fooled with. The body/chrome is pretty nice as a driver. A lot from the dash is missing or torn up. I am told the motor turns over, but that's all the info the guy I bought it from had. He didn't know much about the car. I plan to put some marvel oil down the cylinders for a couple days and then check the crank. The water pump is totally froze, and the carb throttle plate might be as well.. The brakes don't work. It is an overdrive manual trans.

My fear is that someone started fixing this car and gave up because the engine/trans had a major issue. The oil looks a little funny and the oil pan is bright green. Is that a factory color? It looks like someone had it off and painted it...I see parts of the block that same green, so maybe it's an original color? I just hope the engine is rebuildable, if it does have a major issue.

My thoughts/plans:

Do the minimal amount of work to make it running and see how the engine/transmission work.
Take the body off the frame so I can sandblast and POR15 the frame, rear end, suspension parts, underside of body, etc..
Replace all bushings/tie rods/bearing/seals/body mounts that can be replaced.
Upgrade to power disc brakes
Switch to 12V wiring (the original wiring is a complete cluster**** and falling apart).
Rebuild/Repair the original drivetrain as needed.
The interior/dash area is such a mess, but I'm not going to worry about that until the rest of the car is roadworthy.


I'm obviously a little concerned about parts availability working on something so old. My last project was from 1972, and I was having trouble finding basic parts for it... It looks like Kanter has quite a bit for Packards, but my 1941 120 is not listed as one they have a bushing kit for. I will call them and find out.

I should add, I couldn't care less about making the car perfectly original or impressing judges at car shows, etc... I just want to make this car a safe driver that I can feel comfortable taking out on nice days.

I appreciate any guidance and suggestions!

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Posted on: 2023/11/16 0:07
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Re: Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
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Packard Don
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The engine should be Packard Engine Green which is a slightly olive shade that the pan definitely is not. As for disc brakes, unless you're planning on racing it, they are totally unnecessary and the well-engineered Bendix brakes it has will stop it nicely.

Without seeing the car in person it's difficult to advise but it looks very nice on the outside. That being the case, if it were mine I would do a triage of sorts and try to get it running, using temporary wiring if needed and I wouldn't convert to 12v as that opens a whole can of worms. Leave it 6v positive ground and just be sure that the battery cables are at least 0 gauge and preferably 00 gauge.

After you get it running and the brakes sorted out, you can put in a reproduction wiring harness and tend to the interior which in not authentic as it is.

Posted on: 2023/11/16 1:55
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Re: Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
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Ozstatman
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G'day 1941Packard,

to PackardInfo.

Second what Don says,but also invite you to include your '41 120 in PackardInfo's Packard Vehicle Registry.

Posted on: 2023/11/16 2:05
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: Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
#4
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Packard Newbie
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I went through your post, formulating some suggestions as I read and then saw Don's post and he covered about everything I was going to say. When I bought my Packard I had the same ideas to go to disc brakes and 12V, etc., but as you get to know the car and Packard, you'll see that these were very well designed and built cars, well ahead of their time. There is something 'worthy' about keeping them stock, and properly tuned and in good repair, they will serve you well as originally made. Also, if you ever go to sell the car, originality will pay dividends. To add to Don's suggestions, I would do a compression test, consider putting a carb kit or a rebuilt carb on it. You say the oil looks off and it could have some coolant mixed in with it. (the compression test might tell you that story) I'd for sure start with some fresh, clean oil and see where you end up. Does look like a nice car you've got yourself there - good luck and welcome to Packard Info. Lots of help and resources on this site, not much you can't get answered on here. Chris.

Posted on: 2023/11/16 2:24
'If you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right!' Henry Ford.
1939 Packard Six, Model 1700
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Re: Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
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bkazmer
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I agree with the advice to leave the brakes and electrics as original

I see a few details - please excuse if you already know these

The parking lights need the lenses, obviously, but also a cast metal piece that holds down the lens and little converging lenses that fit in a clip ahead of the bulb

The running board trim is missing. A set of short L shaped stainless pieces fit in the grooves on the leading edge. These are the same for 110 and 120. A stainless strip goes down the outside vertical edge. This is the same for 110, 120, and 1903 series 160. These three models share many parts (from the cowl back for the shorter 110)

You have the optional K steering wheel this is a desirable option

Other « usual suspects » for parts are Merritt, Chirco, Patrician. The interior plastic trim is reproduced but not cheap

The factory literature section of this site has a lot of good stuff

Posted on: 2023/11/16 4:40
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Re: Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
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Ross
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A '41 120 is a great driving car with surprisingly good handling, ride, acceleration and braking. With the overdrive you can roll down the interstate at 70 no probs. As grody as the chassis looks, it would not be a bad idea to sling the the body up off of it and attend to all the mechanical details at once. That will pay the big dividend of avoiding a long stream of little breakdowns.

I would for sure though try to get it to run so you have an idea what you are dealing with. After you have oiled the cylinders, try to get a wrench on the front pulley and turn it two full revs to be sure the valves are not stuck down.

Mechanical parts are not a problem to obtain for these cars.

Posted on: 2023/11/16 8:04
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Re: Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
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TxGoat
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I wouldn't remove the body, since the paint and trim and fit look pretty good. Old hard grease on chassis parts can be scraped and chipped off. A heat gun can help soften it. The clumps of old grease may just indicate that the car was once well-maintained.
Wiring can be replaced. You can expect to have gas tank and fuel system issues. There is no need for disc brakes, 12 volt conversions, etc. The only way to assess the condition of the engine is to get it running and see what you have. The engine can be rebuilt if necessary. New water pumps are available. Fuel pump and carburetor kits are available or they can be exchanged for rebuilt ones.
It's likely that the radiator will at least need to be flushed. Money NOT spent on "fixing what ain't broke" can be put toward putting in a good original interior and getting the dash and instruments in good order and dealing with things like door and window rubber items and getting the brakes and steering in order.

Posted on: 2023/11/16 9:24
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Re: Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
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TxGoat
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Cleaning the chassis will give you a good opportunity to look for loose or damaged parts. I'd drain the gas tank and look for evidence of leaks. You'll need a good, heavy duty 6 volt battery. Cheap batteries are no bargain, and neither are cheap battery cables. Your car will have a number of places that require oiling and greasing. I'd oil and grease all of them before doing anything else. Refer to the Literature Archive on this site for Owner's Manual, Shop manual, and more information on where and what to oil and grease, and much more information.

Posted on: 2023/11/16 9:31
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Re: Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
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TxGoat
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There are many pictures and diagrams on this site showing various views of the engine, inside and out, as well as views and diagrams of the chassis, suspension, and brake and ignition and fuel systems, and more. There are also many pictures of complete cars similar to yours or just like it. Original advertising and dealer sales information is also available.

Posted on: 2023/11/16 9:35
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Re: Just bought a 1941 Packard 120 - Considering a frame off resto
#10
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1941Packard
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I'll attach some more photos. The reason I want to do a frame-off is because it will make working on parts of the car a million time easier and will allow me to address any rust spots. The car is pretty clean, but it's not like a car that has spent its whole life in California in a garage. Sorta more like "lipstick on a pig" with the paint job and chrome work that was done previously. It really could stand the POR 15 treatment and all new bushings, etc.. As long as I can get those parts anyways...

I've done disc brake conversions before, and they may cars much more driveable in my experience, so that seemed like a no-brainer in my mind. Maybe I will try to get the current setup working and see how I like it, since so many of you speak so highly of it. I assume it will need a new Master and wheel cylinders, at a bare minimum.

I guess I don't really care if the car is 12V or 6V. I am just looking for the path of least resistance to make the wiring operational, safe, and easy to work on. If I can buy a 12V starter, alternator, I would probably still prefer to go that route, but I'm open to whatever. I have to research it more.

You can see the green engine paint that matches the oil pan on the valve covers. So, someone had all that apart at some point. Maybe a valve job many many years ago?

I paid $9500 for the car. Does that seem like a fair deal from what can be seen?

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Posted on: 2023/11/16 14:47
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