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Packard 160 Convertible Coupe, Red, for sale in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, for $124,900.
On the road, it pulls with the urgency of an electric locomotive, with almost vibration-free operation that was a Packard hallmark.
By 1940, most luxury automakers realized that the days of massive engines hauling equally massive bodywork were drawing to a close. Packard dropped the V12 in favor of an all-new straight-8 that neatly bisected the line between the 320 cubic inch and 385 cubic inch straight-8s that they employed throughout the ‘30s. At 356 cubic inches, it would carry Packard into the next decade, and for many Packard enthusiasts, it is perhaps Packard’s finest engine; smooth, torquey, and utterly reliable. The 1941 Packards were the first to move the headlights into the fenders, giving the cars a striking, modern look that was suddenly the height of fashion, and in the senior 160 and 180 Series, the cars were large, impressive, worthy additions to the Packard legacy.
This 1941 Packard 160 convertible coupe is a registered Full Classic with the CCCA, and is one of the best driving Packards of all. With thoroughly modern brakes, suspension, and that wonderful 356 cubic inch engine, it embodies Packard’s finest engineering with a sporty 5-passenger convertible coupe body, making it one of the most desirable cars of the immediate pre-war era. This car received a complete frame-off restoration that was completed in 2009, and presents today with only light use since. Judging by the condition of the underbody and trunk pans, this was quite likely a solid original car, and the bodywork it received during the restoration is exceptional. Gaps are tight, the panels are flat enough to use as mirrors, and the paint is about a mile deep. The color is a deep, rich burgundy, befitting a car of this stature, yet sporty at the same time. 1941 was also the last year for sidemounts, making Packard one of the very last companies to offer them on their passenger cars, and those on this car are complete with metal covers and integral rear-view mirrors. Most of the chrome has been restored, including the upright Packard grille, bumpers, cormorant hood ornament, and stainless body trim, but other details such as the side grills appear to be original, indicative of this car’s outstanding condition.
The luxurious interior is lined in glove-soft light tan leather expertly stitched in original patterns. With complementary tan carpets and bright maroon plastic inserts in the dash, it ties the car together wonderfully with a traditional combination that will never go out of style. The seating position is commanding, and the view over that long Packard hood makes it seem like the hood ornament is a quarter-mile away, but there’s no other view like it in all of motoring. The steering wheel is beautifully recast in tan plastic that is surely worlds more durable than the original stuff, but the red dashboard trim pieces appear to be original, again suggesting that this car was exceptionally well preserved before the restoration. Accessories like the heater and radio are fully functional (I can personally attest to the heater’s potency), but sadly the clock does not appear to keep time. Overhead there’s a fitted tan canvas top stretched over a fully restored and chrome plated top frame, and it folds into its well with the touch of a button. The trunk is fully finished in matching tan carpets that have been artfully bound and likely fit even better than the originals.
Under that long, 2-piece hood lives a fully rebuilt 356 cubic inch straight-eight. Rated at 160 horsepower, only Buick’s Century could match the Packard’s performance on the road. It starts quickly and easily thanks to an electric fuel pump upgrade, and it idles almost noiselessly. On the road, it pulls with the urgency of an electric locomotive, with almost vibration-free operation that was a Packard hallmark and one of the 356’s strongest attributes. The engine bay has been nicely detailed with correct Packard Green on the block, a massive oil bath air cleaner, and proper accessories, including the Auto-Lite generator. Exact reproduction wiring harnesses with cloth insulation have been used throughout, and all the lines, hoses, and fasteners appear to be new. The 3-speed manual transmission shifts easily without the need for double-clutching, and the big engine loafs along at highway speeds without apparent effort.
There is a growing group of enthusiasts for whom these are the ultimate Packard. With Full Classic status, modern performance, and handsome, sophisticated styling, these are quite possibly the ultimate tour cars, and they are welcome on virtually any show field in the world. Representing the last of the great Packards, this lovely 160 convertible coupe is open-air motoring at its finest.