In last months D.O.C., we began bringing you up to date on our restoration project cars: the 1941 Packard LeBaron Sport Brougham, 1946 Packard Standard 8, 1948 Packard Custom 8 2 door Club Sedan, 1949 Buick Roadmaster Sedanette, and 1951 Packard Mayfair 2 door Hardtop. We had begun describing the '48 Packard Custom 8 2 door Club Sedan (see www.southernwheels.coms Archives for the July 06 article).
1948 Custom 8'1 s History: The classic Clipper design had been introduced in 1941, and by 1947 was considered datedas Packard pushed hard to get a new car on the market. Their answer was to re-work the existing Clipper dies by adding more sheet metal to the sides and lowering and rounding out the front end. Ed McCauley, Packards chief stylist, drove an experimental car called the Phantom which became the basis for the new '48 bath tubdesign. The traditional hood sweep spear side chrome was eliminated, as was most side chrome and all name badges, leading the advertising headlines of the day to challenge, "Guess What Name It Bears?" Implying that, of course, you know it is a Packard. With all of our mechanical and most of the body work done, we look forward to finishing this rare old fastback.
1949 Buick Roadmaster Sedanette. This is one of my favorite 40s fastbacks--lean styling and FAST! We found this car outside the car corral at the Corvette Expo in Knoxville in 1992. It was complete, except for the side stainless, (and it ran!) for only $1900, but it needed a complete rebuild. We have made a lot of progress on this car, doing a body-on restoration, completing all mechanical work, brakes, glass, chrome, gauges and body work. The interior is out and at the upholstery shop. We have already detailed the engine compartment and painted the firewall an original color Royal Maroon I like to do this. It gives you an early view of how the color looks on the car. We cant wait to finish it with original Blue-gray interior with dark Blue pinstripes on the seats and wide whitewall tires.
1949 Buick Roadmaster Sedanette History: Harley Earl, head of Design at GM, really hit his mark on this one! It has his body-length fenders, Panoramic curved windshield, P-38 dual fuselage-inspired rear fenders, gunsight hood ornament, 320 straight eight, with Dynaflow and portholes. Just about everything he had conceived in his studio for the all-new post-war cars. Ours is an early '49 with the portholes vented via hoses from the engine compartment, to expel engine heat. In mid-'49, this was done away with, and the portholes became merely ornamental. The instrument panel is, as Buick called it, Pilot Centered simplified version of the WWII fighter/bomber planescockpit. I have been in the cockpit of a B-17, and you really do get the same feeling with this instrument panel. It must have helped to sell a lot of cars. This '49 is a piece of history, and will be great fun to put back together!
1951 Packard Mayfair 2 door Hardtop: This is one of the best-driving cars I have ever owned. The '51 was Packards first hardtop. We were fortunate enough to find this car locally. It has only 36,000 documented miles, with nice, original interior. We removed all of the chrome and stripped the body, and now have it in primer and ready for paint (Packard Ivory with a Cavalier Maroon top--original colors). The engine needed nothing but a tune up, and a carburetor rebuild. We also rebuilt the brakes, replaced all fuel lines, cleaned and sealed the gas tank, put on a new set of Firestone gum dippedwhite walls, and are doing some interior work.
1951 Packard Mayfair 2 door Hardtop History: By 1949, the public wanted lower cars that were easier to drive, with more glass area. Packards bath tub design was out of date and a new lookwas created by Packard designer John Reinhart. When the new '51s were introduced, they were an instant hit with the public, available in both 2 and 4 door sedans, a convertible, and the all-new Mayfair hardtop. The Mayfair started as a mid-priced Packard, but management decided it would be better to move it up into the Senior series to compete with the Cadillac Coupe deVille. It would receive the Senior seriescoveted hood Cormorant. It also had the rear fender ventiports or bottle openers(similar to Buicks front fender port holes). Another major change for '51 was the engine. The big series 9 main bearing, 356 was deleted and replaced with the 327, leaving Packard with only 2 straight 8s: the 327 and the 288. Their Ultramatic (automatic) transmission was being fitted into more of these cars, and ours has one in excellent working condition.
As you can see, we have many yearsworth of projects coming up as we bring these great old cars back to their former glory. We look forward to sharing them with you. Good luck on your projects. Keep em driving!