1955 Packard Patrician - $19,900
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  • Overview & History
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The quality of Packard’s construction shows in good panel gaps and doors that close like the proverbial bank vault.

Big, handsome Packard sedan great for touring. Attractive period colors, lots of options, drives very well. Period aftermarket A/C, power windows, working self-leveling suspension. New WWW radials. A lot of Packard luxury for not a lot of cash!

By the time this 1955 Packard Patrician was built, the writing was on the wall for one of America’s most famous automakers. But the guys building the cars didn’t seem to notice, because there’s a tangible feel of quality in this big sedan that you wouldn’t expect from a company on the brink of going out of business. The engineers and assembly line workers ignored the signs and instead built one heck of a car that feels substantial and looks impressive from any angle. The colors are called Agate and Topaz Metallic, and the combination works rather well on the long, sleek Patrician. There’s still a hint of the original Packard grille up front and it proudly wears both ‘Packard’ and ‘The Patrician’ emblems just in case you didn’t recognize the shape. This car has never been fully disassembled for a restoration and the body has never been off the frame, bit we believe it was repainted perhaps 30 years ago and still looks quite good. The quality of Packard’s construction shows in good panel gaps and doors that close like the proverbial bank vault. THUNK. And as a high-end luxury car, there’s plenty of chrome and other brightwork, all of which is in remarkably good shape. Even those fluted castings that form the side panels between the two colors are in great shape, and they’re notorious for pitting. Beautiful gothic-looking taillights make the rear end as distinctive as any of the period, and those unobtainium taillight lenses are in excellent condition. It isn’t a perfect car, but the basics are quite good.

The interior was redone at some point, probably when it was repainted, and while it doesn’t replicate the original funky brocade fabrics, it remains a comfortable place to spend some time. Open the door and cool splash lights built into the exterior trim light up the entry and the wide bench seat is comfortable enough for all-day touring. The two tone steering wheel with horn ring looks and feels great and the big Packard is shockingly easy for anyone to drive thanks to the automatic transmission and power steering. The power seat adjusts properly in all four directions, the power windows zip up and down (the right rear binds slightly but is operational) and all the gauges work like they should. The radio powers up and the power antenna works properly, but the clock is sadly offline. Heck, even both heater fans and the vintage 1950s FrigiKing A/C unit are operational. Nice! The gauges all work properly and have a lovely golden glow with the instrument lights on at night. The back seat is cavernous and features a footrest and robe rail—a callback to Packards of yore. That’s probably the original headliner overhead and it’s in great condition with no sagging or tears. And the massive trunk is nicely finished with gray carpets and carries a matching full-sized spare that’s never been used.

Packard’s 352 cubic inch V8 was a muscular brute, easily able to cope with the Patrician’s considerable curb weight. A thoroughly modern overhead valve short-stroke V8, it starts easily and idles nicely with good oil pressure and no signs of overheating issues. There’s a lot of recent work, including a full tune-up with cap, rotor, points, plugs and wires, new belts and hoses, and a freshly rebuilt generator. The A/C has been converted to R134a refrigerant so it’ll be easy to maintain in the future, but other than the bright green battery, the engine bay is quite original. Packard’s 2-speed “Twin Ultramatic” transmission shifts crisply and without any drama, and with 3.54 gears out back, it’s a great highway cruiser. Of note, the automatic leveling torsion bar suspension is fully operational, keeping the Patrician on an even keel no matter the load. Recent work includes fresh brake hoses, new tie rods, and a rebuilt power steering valve that makes this big Packard just effortless to drive. The dual exhaust system features new mufflers, so it has an appropriately hushed tone with just a hint of muscle behind it. The floors are quite solid with no rot or structural issues and it rides like a luxury car should. And since this is a car made for touring, it’s outfitted with fresh 235/75/15 Diamondback wide whitewall radials that look exactly right.

Documentation includes the original owner’s manual.

This is one of those old cars that pleasantly surprised us with its quality. This was a very expensive car when it was new, but today it is eminently affordable while still delivering the true Packard experience. Add in the long list of comfort and convenience features and it becomes a no-compromises hobby car that can be enjoyed right away. It isn’t designed to win trophies, but it will most certainly put a smile on your face as you aim that famous Packard grille down the highway. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1955 Packard Patrician
Price: $19,900
Stock Number: 120130
Odometer Reading: 38,143
VIN: 55827134
Engine: 352 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 2-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.54
Wheelbase: 127 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 235/75/15 wide whitewall radials
Exterior Color: Agate and Topaz Metallic
Interior Color: Tan cloth
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