Recently a friend asked to have her 1951 Packard moved out of its winter storage. In all the years that I have been involved with antique cars this was the first time that I drove a Packard. What a treat that was!
Caught-At-The-Curb asked for some driving impressions. Well, the first impression is that the car is huge. It stands taller than most modern cars.
One sits at about the same eye level with most pickup trucks. This is a heavy car and it is not too fast off the line. It will go fast but as it was not mine to flog, I treated it gently; the car is 60 years old after all. The straight eight motor sounds like an old airplane motor, quiet but powerful. The ride is very cushy and the brakes are just a bit mushy. One needs to plan ones stops in an old heavy car such as these. They will stop this car in a hurry but too many hard stops is too harsh on the drums and brake pads. The cornering was smooth but one of the front tires may have needed some air so it seemed a bit harder to steer than one might expect. The Hydo-matic was working wonderfully in this car, very smooth.
One peculiar thing is the way that one starts this car. First, makes sure the car is in park or neutral. Second, turn the key to the on position. Third, press the accelerator to the floor to engage the starter. Four, let up on the accelerator and then drive away.
Here in Northern Illinois we usually get our collector cars out in April. My friend will enjoy her car in the coming months. This Packard is certainly a car that can be and should be driven anywhere, but gently.
The one thing I would have liked to have done was to drop the top. I've seen this car with its top down and it is even more stunning. Asking the man who drives one may not apply to me but it was fun to have had the experience.
Ed: Rick also sent along some pictures of another vehicle he helped to move. It's a 1938 International Pickup truck. No details, but he thought you would enjoy seeing it. I sure did! Thanks Rick!
Photo credits: Rick Aurora