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Lot 311: Packard Four Hundred Coupe Project

Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia, Bonhams (3 March 2012)

From its inception in 1899, Packard had forged a reputation for building cars of exceptional quality that evolved relatively slowly, a strategy that suited its position in the marketplace as a maker of high-priced, exclusive automobiles. After WW2 however, that market began to change; frequent re-engineering and annual styling facelifts became the norm as buyers became ever more fashion conscious. And while the USA's 'Big Three' motor manufacturing corporations - Ford, General Motors and Chrysler - could afford frequent re-tooling, independent Packard simply did not have the necessary resources. Unable to satisfy the public's insatiable appetite for new designs, Packard lost ground to its chief rival, Cadillac and by 1951 had slumped to 16th in the motor manufacturing league table. Nevertheless, there was an all-new line-up for 1951, albeit one that still lacked a modern overhead-valve V8 engine. For 1954 Packard introduced a trio of luxury sports models - the 'Packard Line'  comprising a hardtop coupe, convertible and custom convertible, all of which were favoured with a new nine-bearing 359ci (5.9-litre) straight-eight engine. However, by this time even Packard could no longer ignore the need for a V8, which duly arrived the following year. Mildly restyled, the '56 Packard Line comprised the Patrician four-door sedan and Four Hundred two-door hardtop coupe, both of which came with the new overhead-valve V8 engine in its 374ci (6.1-litre) 290bhp incarnation. Sadly, it was a case of 'too little, too late': the Packard Line was discontinued after 1956 and the company itself lasted just two more years, its final models being re-badged Studebakers. One of the last true Packards, this Four Hundred coupe is offered in partially restored condition with what appears to be all of the removed trim present. The car was re-sprayed approximately ten years ago and the interior has been refitted in part. The engine runs well. There are no documents with this Lot, which is sold strictly as viewed. No reserve.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Bonhams, Oxford
TypeCar
Lot Number311
Estimate£10000-£12000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£2000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£2300
Year1956
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number5687-3921
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2