Founded in 1899, Packard was one of the biggest luxury car manufacturers in America. The carmaker became well-known around the world in the 1920s and, in contrast to other high-end manufacturers, managed to weather the 1930s Great Depression. Packard had $33 million in assets at the end of World War II, which translates to almost $556 million in 2023.
Unfortunately, the firm was compelled to combine with Studebaker, another independent carmaker having financial problems, as a result of multiple management errors and the emergence of the Big Three. Due to the alliance’s failure, Packard had to close its manufacturing in 1956. Following a further two years of selling rebadged Studebaker automobiles, the Packard brand was discontinued in 1959, and the name was completely removed in 1962.
The company left a few iconic models behind, including the Eight, the Twelve, and the Caribbean. The latter is perhaps the most sought-after Packard built after WW2, unlike the Cavalier, Clipper, and Patrician, which don’t get much love. But these nameplates still offered the comfort and reliability that made Packard famous.
The Patrician also stands out as the last of the “senior Packards.” Launched in 1951, it remained in production through 1956. A four-door sedan rolled off the Conner Avenue assembly line in June 1956 as the last Packard-designed car. The final-generation Patrician, produced in 1955 and 1956, is also a rare classic.
Just 12,902 of the 84,082 cars that Packard sold in those model years were four-door Patricians. That is a mere 15% of the overall output. With just 3,775 produced, the 1956 final-year variant is the rarest of the lot. Furthermore, the sedan you’re looking at may be the lowest-mileage example of an original Patrician ever found.
nearly the years, numerous mid-1950s Packards were left in barns and junkyards, but one particular Patrician managed to survive for nearly 60 years in amazing shape. And the odometer reads just 4,850 miles (7,805 kilometers). That isn’t a typo, I promise. In 67 years, this stunning car traveled less than 5,000 miles on public highways (as of 2023). That equates to just 70 miles (113 km) year!
That’s mainly because the vehicle was parked for about 45 years. But it wasn’t locked up in a barn or forgotten in a shabby garage. This Packard was pampered its entire life. And that’s precisely why it looks spotless even though there’s no restoration to talk about. Additionally, every single thing works as it should on this rig.
A two-owner California car, this Patrician hides a 374-cubic-inch (6.1-liter) V8 engine under the hood. Packard’s only overhead-valve V8, the 290-horsepower lump mates to a Twin-Ultramatic transmission with the one-year push-button gear selector attached to the steering wheel.
In addition to being an incredible survivor that looks like it just left the assembly line, the sedan also comes with a ton of documentation. It’s exactly what you want from a car in this condition, and it turns it into a proper museum piece. The kind that could win awards at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
I know it sounds too good to be true, but you can see for yourselves in the video below.