1956 Packard Four Hundred Hardtop
The 1956 Packard “Four Hundred” Hardtop was Packard’s last-stand at luxury prior to the merging of operations with Studebaker, which would eventually see the end of Packard just two years later. These last of the Detroit-built Packards lived up to the marque’s tradition of superb quality and luxury.
This particular car was purchased new by the Packard dealer in Farmington, New Mexico, as his personal car. It was ordered with most every option available, except air conditioning. Although Packard was rightly proud of their new push-button automatic transmission, the dealer preferred a conventional column-mounted gearshift. Ordering the parts from Packard, the dealer’s service department made the conversion. The car was also fitted with dual spotlights.
This Packard was enjoyed for many years in New Mexico, first by the dealer and then passed to his son. It has always been maintained and serviced regularly. Obviously living in New Mexico, it has NO RUST. No accidents or damage. About 15 years ago the car was repainted in the correct Scottish Heather/Dover White colors, the dashboard and seats were reupholstered. Door panels and headliner are original and excellent today.
The car made the move to Oregon about 10 years ago to join the stable of a prominent Packard collector and restorer. He went through the car with a fine tooth comb and addressed anything mechanically that was not to his level of quality. The dual-range Ultramatic transmission was rebuilt by an expert in Chicago and shifts perfectly. The electric Torsion Level suspension system was entirely rebuilt and made completely operational. It also works perfectly today. Diamondback radial wide whitewall tires were fitted. The dual mufflers and resonators were replaced, making this car whisper-quiet at idle and truly, as Packard said, “the soft-spoken boss of the road.”
The engine is excellent. This was Packard’s last (and best) incarnation of their V-8 design, with a whopping 10.5:1 compression, giving the 374 cubic inch engine 290 horsepower at 4600 rpm. Combine that with the 3.55:1 Dana rear-end and this car hits the highway and goes 70 mph all-day, while delivering up to 18 miles per gallon. Engine runs smooth and quiet with no smoke or issues. SEE VIDEO. All gauges work and register accurately. Car runs cool and does not overheat. An auxiliary electric fuel pump was added for fast starting after extended periods of slumber (car runs normally on the factory mechanical fuel pump). Gas tank dropped and cleaned. New battery. The lights, heater, power windows and 4-way power seat all work. Radio hums. Clock is correct twice a day. Chrome is original and very good. Stainless trim is excellent. (Even the stainless “eyebrow” trim over the doors flip up and down properly, working as they should.) This is a great looking – and driving Packard. The last of the true Packards to come out of Detroit. Please see the photos and video, which were taken recently.
If you are looking for a wonderfully preserved and maintained car that presents beautifully and is turn-key ready, this is the one. I am confident to say you can fly-in and drive it home to anywhere in the country. You’ll be assured of a memorable journey and admiring looks wherever you go.
Under development. Coming soon.