1951 Packard El Paso Wagon - $42,900
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Based on a top-of-the-line Packard Patrician sedan, a skillful woodworker created a beautiful real wood body that emulates the construction of actual factory-built woodies—no stick-on veneers here.

Awesome one-of-none wagon built based on Packard factory sketches. Real wood bodywork, cool western-themed interior, functional tailgate. 327 cubic inch straight-8 with Ultra-Matic automatic. A very cool ‘50s wagon that will always stand out in a crowd!

This awesome Packard wagon was built about 15 years ago by an enterprising Packard enthusiast in Eureka, California. It is obviously based on factory sketches and advertising of the period and the story board that accompanies the El Paso suggests that all three Packard “dream cars” pictured in the sketches were built at the same time, and it obviously took a lot of time, money, and skill. Based on a top-of-the-line Packard Patrician sedan, skillful woodworkers created a beautiful real wood body that emulates the construction of actual factory-built woodies—no stick-on veneers here. The superstructure above the beltline, including the roof, is all steel with clever woodgrain painting to help it blend seamlessly with the real wood below. They even fabricated a custom steel roof, complete with roof rack, and a brilliantly clever tailgate that’s fully functional, just as if the factory did it. We suspect that it was built in the 1990s, so the paint is probably 30 years old, but it’s holding up nicely with a great shine and no real signs of coming undone—the sheetmetal underneath is in great condition with no evidence of half-hearted bodywork. The Patrician’s chrome fender ornaments and stainless steel spears made the transition intact, and the chrome mini-fins on the quarters are the perfect ‘50s touch. If you didn’t know better, it would be easy to believe this was a factory-built wagon.

The interior is a funky mixture of tan Naugahyde and cow-print fabrics that reinforce the El Paso’ s western theme. And yes, that’s how it was in the sketches so it was faithfully re-created here and looks great. The rest of the front seat area is standard Packard, with a simple dashboard housing three round gauges, all of which appear operational. There’s also an AM radio in the center of the dash (not operational, which isn’t surprising) and heater controls just to the right of the steering column. Durable low-nap carpets are a great choice in a wagon that might see some outdoor work and sitting on the long 127-inch wheelbase, there’s expansive room in the back seat as well. The custom cargo bay is neatly finished with matching carpets and that cow-pattern fabric for just a bit of fun, and you can see that the detailing on the tailgate and D-pillars is very OEM. The spare tire remains in its original location with no rust issues in the well underneath and the matching headliner is in great condition.

Packard’s durable and eminently smooth 327 cubic inch straight-8 provides plenty of torque to get the big wagon moving and keep it comfortable at modern highway speeds. It’s nicely detailed with correct gray engine enamel, a big oil bath air cleaner, and a variety of decals to help it look OEM. Power steering is included, so the big wagon is easy to handle even in tight spots, and there’s a big radiator up front. It starts easily and generally works like it should with the 2-speed Ultra-Matic automatic transmission providing unobtrusive shifts. The undercarriage and floors appear to be original, suggesting that they chose a clean, solid, original car for the build and there are no nasty surprises hiding underneath. The frame is unmodified and is robust enough to handle wagon duties, and it’s been outfitted with new shocks so it rides nicely. Big drum brakes feel confident on the road and original steel wheels wear Packard hubcaps and recent 225/75/15 wide whitewall radials for superior ride and handling.

Documentation includes a variety of show boards advertising the El Paso and its siblings, the Parisian and the Pacifica. It also includes a set of cowhide print pillows, just for fun.

The more we look, the more we like this Packard wagon. The craftsmanship sure looks like the factory could have built it, and the clever engineering is far better than most one-offs. Add the warmth of real wood, the appealing western-themed interior, and traditional Packard road manners, and you get a car that does everything well. It will always draw a crowd and has a fantastic story to tell, so you’ll enjoy owning and showing it. Call today!

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

Vehicle: 1951 Packard El Paso Wagon
Price: $42,900
Stock Number: 121042
Odometer Reading: 79,991
VIN: 24522401
Engine: 327 cubic inch straight-8
Transmission: 2-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.54
Wheelbase: 122 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 225/75/15 wide whitewall radials
Exterior Color: Green
Interior Color: Tan leather
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