The Milestone Car / 1955 Packard 400

The Packard 400 is a rare automobile and a beautifully restored one like the car 1955 Packard 400 featured here is even more rare.

1955 packard 400 hardtop

1955 Packard 400 Series

The Milestone Year of 1955

The year 1955 signaled a design change for Packard. It was a milestone year. The car was considered a technological marvel.

Ushered in was an elegant design which included a new more modern styled grille. Included were hooded headlight housings and cathedral styled taillights. The new trim allowed for both two and three tone paint schemes and also made it appear that the car had a new roof line.

A new wrap around windshield also gave the car a more modern appearance and looked more like what the competition was producing. All in all the 1955 Packard 400 had a very impressive presence and was also considered a very well engineered automobile. Packard's 1955 models gained a new sharp look.

Available accessories included power seats, power locks, power windows, air conditioning and wire wheels. Packard's were considered one of the American automobiles representing the ultimate in luxury and comfort.

1955 packard hartop

55 Packard new grille and headlight hoods

The 1955 Packard Models

The Packard Patrician was available as a four door sedan. The Packard Clipper came a  Deluxe and Standard trims. The Packard Caribbean was a convertible offering and the Packard 400 Series was it's hardtop model.


The Packard Motor Car Company was one of America’s luxury automobile manufacturers known for quality engineering. Packard, as an independent automaker, stayed in business much longer than many of it’s peers. The company which actually built it’s first car in Warren Ohio in 1899 as the Ohio Automobile Company had outlasted several of their competitors during the 1930′s.

Packard bought the Studebaker company of South Bend Indiana in 1954. Studebaker was actually larger than Packard at the time but it's financial position was not as strong as Packards. In fact, at the time of the merger it was reported that Packard was unaware of just how bad Studebaker's financial position was.

packard wire wheels

Custom Packard wire wheels

This merger created the fourth largest U.S. automaker. It made a lot of sense for Packard by reducing it’s production costs. This was necessary for any automaker trying to compete against Detroit's Big Three. Regardless, overall sales were disappointing and Studebaker lost a good portion of their dealer network and production ended at the Detroit plant in 1956. The last car rolled off the South Bend Indiana factory in 1958. The Packard nameplate was pulled from the market by 1959. Interestingly enough, because of their precarious financial condition, Packards of 1957 and 1958 were basically Studebaker President models.

1955 Packard 400 Specifications

The 1955 Packard 400 came with a 352 cubic inch Overhead Valve V-8 delivering 260 horsepower with a four barrel carburetor. This was a switch from the straight eight engine of 1954.

The 1955 Packard offered the Twin Ultramatic automatic transmission. Ultramatic was a trademark name for Packard's transmission. This hydraulic torque converter transmission was produced from 1949 through 1956. In 1956 a touchbutton Ultramatic was unveiled. Probably the biggest problem with this transmission was having it serviced when the Packard dealer network started to disappear.

1955 packard 400 series hardtop

Another view of 1955 Packard headlight and grille design

The 1955 Packard was built with torsion level suspension which many feel offered superior handling and an excellent ride. Torsion level suspension has the vehicle floating on four points of two long torsion bars. Essentially bumps or potholes the car encounters on a road are transmitted from that wheel to the opposite wheel and not the frame.

The Packard 400 Series was built on a 127.0 inch wheelbase. Total outside length was 214.8 inches, width was 78.0 inches and height 62.0 inches. The automobile's weight was 4,250 lbs.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

The new car price for the 1955 Packard 400 series Hardtop was about $4,500. As a comparison, a 1955 Cadillac Eldorado sold new for about $6,900 and a 1955 Buick Roadmaster had a price tag of about $3,500.

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1955 packard dashboard

1955 Packard dashboard

1955 Packard Production

For the 1955 model year production for the Packard 400 Series totaled 7,206 vehicles. Packard Caribbean models totaled 500 units, Packard Patrician's totaled 9,127 units and the Clipper model accounted for 6,670 vehicles.

1955 Packard Collector Cars

As mentioned above, 1955 was a milestone year for Packard. The 1955 Packards received both a styling and engineering change. The new high output V-8's were just one of the changes for 1955.

Because of the low production figure of 500 units for the 1955 Packard Caribbean it is the rarest of the 1955 models. This was also the top of the line model in 1955. The new car price for the 1955 Packard Caribbean was about $6,000. Today, you may run across a fully restored, mint condition 1955 Packard Caribbean with an asking price tag approaching $90,000 and more.

Packard 400 original models might be found in the $30,000 range, plus or minus, depending on condition and degree of restoration.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

MG’s TD Series / The 1952 MG TD Roadster

The MG TD Series from 1949 to 1953 were a more modern version of the TC models. The 1952 MG TD Roadster featured in this article is a beautiful representation of the wider and lower design. They were also considered to have better handling than the TC''s and a major selling point for this automobile was that people liked the way it looked. Add to that the fact that most buyers liked the way they looked driving it.

1952 mg td

1952 MG TD Roadster

The TD's outsold their predecessor TC's by about three to one. It's estimated that 29,664 MG TD models were sold. More than three-quarters of these were shipped to the U.S.

For U.S. imports these cars of course were built with left hand steering and they sold very well. In addition, the they were raced fairly regular in the U.S. although the car's aerodynamics were not the best for racing.

The MG T Models

The first of the MG T automobiles appeared in 1936 when the TA model replaced the PB model. The TA model was both wider and with a longer wheelbase than the PB. Similar to the PB's it replaced, the MG TA was a two seater with a steel body on an ash frame. In 1939 MG unveiled the TB Midget which was followed immediately after the war in 1945 with the TC. The MG TC was very similar to the prewar TB which was normal since almost all immediate postwar automobiles were basically 1941 and 1942 models rehashed slightly. Some will say that it was the MG TC model that did the most to get Americans interested in British sportscars. The MG TD introduced in 1949 was at the time that most automakers were unveiling their true new postwar models.

52 mg roadster

52 MG TD

The MG TD Design

The MG TD was said to have been designed with the American sporstcar buyer in mind. Design credit for the MG TD models goes to Syd Enever and Alec Hounslow. The story here is that both of these designers built the mock up for the TD Series in just two weeks. They cut up an MG YA chassis and set a TC body on it. By doing this the TD was able to keep the basic MG appearance but technical improvements and some dimension changes were worked in to the mock up. Part of the appearance change from the TC models were smoother more modern lines.

The MG TD kept the same engine and transmission as the TC and a good amount of the TC body with the exception of the widening as mentioned above. Also added on the MG TD's were larger front and back bumpers for the U.S.

1952 mg dashboard

1952 MG TD dash

The MG TD featured a stiffer welded chassis that was taken from the MG Type Y saloon with box-section side rails, a fully independent front suspension and precise rack-and-pinion steering.

The MG TD such as the 1952 MG featured here is an "open car". Driving your MG TC or TD in inclement weather conditions could be daunting. Some owners wouldn't take them out if a chance of rain was 30 percent or greater. A soft top did fit over a metal frame along with snapped in place curtains. These curtains were in place of windows. It's been said that if you're driving your TC or TD and it rains you have to be able to act fast.

The MG TD Mark II

In 1952 there was also a MG TD Mark II model available that offered a higher compression engine with two fuel pumps delivering 60 horsepower (some sources report 57 HP), slightly more than the standard model. The MG Mark II was in response to British competition (mainly the Triumph TR-2 with it's 105 MPH top speed) that was offering higher performance engines. Top speed for the MG Mark II models was claimed to be 83 MPH. The MG Mark II was marketed as the sportscar for the buyer that wants just a little bit extra.

mg td grille

Classic MG vertical grille

1952 MG TD Specifications

The 1952 MG TD was considered state of the art for it's period although the engine wasn't high horsepower. . The car was built with a 1.3 L inline four cylinder engine delivering 54 horsepower but with the car's light weight this was considered enough to offer a lot of zip. Top speed was claimed to be around 70 MPH +.

Transmission on the 1952 MG TD was the normal four speed manual gear box.

Front suspension was coil and wishbone independent with rear suspension comprising semi-elliptic leaf springs with a sold axle.

Brakes on the 1952 MG TD were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Wheelbase came in at 94.0 inches and the overall length was 145.0 inches. Width was 58.625 inches.

The MG TD used 15 inch tires which was a result of the lower stance. This was in place of the former 19 inch tires.

New car price for the 1952 MG TD was about $2,000.

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A Service Manual for the MG Series TD is a 1952 publication that was published by Scientific Publishing Company Rockdale Australia. It will occasionally be seen for sale on the internet.

mg td design

Classic MG open car design

MG TD Collector Cars

Today there are replica kits available for the MG TD built on a VW frame. You'll find several of these on the market today at a variety of prices, as of this writing many seem to be in the $10,000 to $14,000 range with some depending on the kit quality up into the high teens. The MG TD's can also be reasonable cars for restoration with relatively low  asking prices for non restored models. Parts are fairly easy to locate among several suppliers.

A restored original 1952 MG TD might have a price tag in the low $30,000 to $40,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

The Luxurious 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S Sedan

The type of Mercedes-Benz 220S Sedan featured in this article were produced only from 1956 to 1959. The car shown is a 1959 Mercedes 220S Sedan built on the W 180 II chassis. The 220S models are also referred to as Mercedes-Benz Ponton's.

1959 mercedes 220S

1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S Sedan

The Mercedes-Benz 220S Ponton Sedan

The 220S model is distinguished from the 220Aa which was produced from 1954 to 1956 on the exterior by the chrome trim. The chrome strip running along the fender and door is seen on the 220S Ponton models. Mercedes-Benz also offered a 220 model coupe and cabriolet which sold far less than the sedan.

The word Ponton is derived from the German language word pontoon. The term was used exclusively by Mercedes-Benz from 1953 through 1962 and is thought of as being Mercedes' first true post war series.

The Mercedes 220S had unitized body and frame construction and front and rear independent suspension. Two advantages of unitized construction is that generally more weight can be handled and the body/frame itself weighs less and can offer better fuel efficiency. Prewar Mercedes did not use unitized construction.

1959 mercedes grille

59 Mercedes-Benz grille and front end

The interior of Mercedes-Benz vehicles have always been expertly appointed. You'll notice the carved wood on the dashboard of the 1959 220S model featured in this article. Hand carved wood and soft leather were big selling points.

During the entire production cycle from 1956 through 1959 there were about 55,000 sedans produced as opposed to 1,250 coupes and 2,175 cabriolets.

Advertising the Mercedes 220S

Mercedes-Benz called their 220S models a vehicle for discriminating buyers. The company claimed that for anyone who would drive one it is an automobile of extraordinary performance. The car was said to offer relaxation and security on every trip. Another slogan used was "Quality and what is behind it".

If you run across advertisements for the 1959 Mercedes models you'll notice that the Tristar emblem is in the foremost position of each ad. In general Mercedes-Benz promoted their automobiles as comfortable, practical, reliable and affordable.

mercedes 220s dashboard

Mercedes-Benz 220S dashboard

1959 Merceds-Benz 220S Specifications

1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S came with an inline six cylinder engine.

Transmission was a four speed manual with a column shifter. Mercedes also offered the Hydrak automatic clutch. This optional device actually served as a bridge between a manual transmission and an automatic. The driver would engage this Hydrak clutch by using push buttons in the column shift lever. This eliminated the foot clutch pedal.

The 1959 Mercedes 220S had a relatively short wheelbase at 111.0 inches. Overall outside length was 187.0 inches, a width of 69.0 inches,a height of 61.0 inches and a dry weight of 3,000 lbs.

Front suspension included coil springs, double wishbones and a stabilizing bar. Rear suspension was comprised of coil springs and a swing axle.

Brakes were power four wheel drum.

New car price in 1959 was about $4,500 to $5,000.

1959 mercedes 220s sedan

1959 Mercedes 220S rear

Personalized Ownership Certificate

The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center offers owners the opportunity to purchase a Personalized Ownership Certificate  confirming the identity of the vehicle and identifies one's vehicle's features when it rolled off the assembly line. Thus Individually issued certificate by the Daimler Corporation Archives in a professionally bound black case. For more information about this and the costs see website

There is a Mercedes-Benz Classic Center located in Irvine California. Per their website...The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California, is the ideal place for owners, collectors, and enthusiasts to connect with this legendary brand. In addition to meticulously restoring and selling classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the Classic Center offers appraisals, provides Genuine Mercedes-Benz Classic Parts

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Mercedes-Benz 220S Collector Cars

All postwar 1950's Mercedes-Benz automobiles are collector cars. From the 220S models the Cabriolet is the most valuable. As mentioned above, there were only a little over 2,000 of these produced during the production cycle so they are rare. You may find 220S Cabriolets with asking prices of anything from $60,000 into the six figures.

For the 1959 Mercedes-Benz Sedans, non restored very good conditioned models may be found in the mid teens into the $20,000 range. Restored sedans may be in the $40,000 to $100,000 range all depending on condition and how much of the vehicle is original equipment.