The 1949 Packard Victoria Convertible featured in this article is representative of some of the finest post World War Two automobiles built by Packard. Packard came out with their first post war convertible for the 1948 model year. The Packard convertible is a stunning looking classic car.
The Packard Motor Car Company was well known for producing quality automobiles with excellent engineering. The company started in business in 1899 making the 1949 model year a golden anniversary. Beginning with the 1949 model year all Packard automobiles were built with eight cylinder engines.
The New Post War Packards
The immediate postwar period was a critical period for Packard and the rest of the independents.There were two main issues facing American automakers immediately after World War Two.
One was the pent up demand for new automobiles since all civilian production was halted by February 1942. The second issue or challenge was to introduce new designs and technology which had taken a back seat to the war effort. As a result, American automakers started to unveil new models, and this 1949 Packard Convertible is a fine example, mostly during the 1948 and 1949 model years. From late 1945 to the late 1940's the new cars sold to an eager public were essentially rehashed versions of 1941 and 1942 models. At the same time designers were at their drawing boards creating a whole new series of post war automobiles.
The 1948-1949 Packards
You'll probably come across observations that the design for the 1948 and 1948 Packards was non eye appealing. For sure, the "bath tub" design as it was referred to had it's share of critics, but if you look at 1949 sales and production figures the results were good.
An excellent and very well researched book on the Packard automobile is Packard 1948 to 1950, by Robert J. Neal. This is the complete history of the design, production and marketing of these Packards.
The Packard 22 Series and 23 Series
Packard produced the 22nd and 23rd series Packard Custom 8s. Most easily recognized is that the 23rd series have "pod" tailights, whereas the 22nd series are flush with the fender. The 22nd series have 2 stainless trim strips low on the sides. The Packard 23rd series has a single trim strip about mid-door level.
The Packard line of 22nd Series cars was introduced in September of 1947 as 1948 models. When the 1949 models first came out they were essentially the same as the 1948's.
It's been said that serial numbers on unsold 1948's were changed to reflect the cars as now being1949's. The Packard 1949 23rd series were introduced in May 1949. They were produced through 1950 therefore the 1950 Packards were essentially the same vehicle as the 1949's.
The 1949 Packard's had the large "Goddess of Speed" hood ornament. The chrome Goddess had arms stretched out holding a chrome tire. Also shown in this article is a photo of the Packard chrome swan hood ornament that came with the 22 Series vehicles.
Packard's Problems Not Far Away
1949 Packard production totaled 116,955 vehicles. This was an increase from 1948's 92,200 vehicles. 1949 was the second best production year for Packard. Unfortunately, the year 1950 was very disappointing for Packard while the automobile industry as a whole did very well. Much of the problem with Packard beginning about 1950 was that their automobiles weren't keeping up with the competition.
One example was their continuation of the long stroke straight eight engine. In general, Packard was rolling over the same cars from year to year during the 1948 through 1950 model years seemingly resting on their laurels while competitors were making much more significant changes. As explained above, Packard came out with two different models, the 22nd and 23rd Series, over a three year span.
Ford and GM both started offering overhead valve V-8's. In short, a lot of Packard's problems that began surfacing in 1950 was the result of slow innovation. A good many Packard historians point to the ultra conservative policies of then Packard president George Christopher as being the roadblock to adequate innovation. Dealers had a hard time with Christopher when he heavily promoted the 1948 models when they were still sitting on a very large amount of unsold 1947 models. Over the next several years Packard started losing dealers and this only made their difficulties snowball.
Packard stopped production in 1958 which means not another Packard was built after that time which adds to collector car values.
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1949 Packard Victoria Specifications
The 1949 Packard came equipped with a 356 cubic-inch inline 8-cylinder engine that delivered 145 horsepower.
Transmission on the 1949 Packards was a three speed manual and brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.
Front suspension was independent coil springs with leaf springs on the rear.
The 1949 Packard Victoria Coupe built on a 120.0 inch wheelbase had an overall outside length of 204.625 inches. Width was 77.5 inches.
The 1949 Packard Victoria Convertible sold new that year for about $4,000. As a comparison, the 1949 Packard Sedan which was the highest selling model sold new for about $3,500.
The 1949 Packard serial number can be located on the upper left side of the engine block.
See our article on Locations of VIN Plates and Stamps on Classic and Vintage Vehicles.
Popular Packard Collector Cars
All of these new post war design Packard automobiles make excellent collector cars. Some of these 1949 Packard models also made it into the movies. The 1949 Packard Eight Two Door was seen on the movie Gangster Squad with Josh Brolin and Nick Nolte.
Out of the 1949 Packard models the Victoria Convertible appears to be holding up as the highest valued survivor. A mint condition restored showroom quality 49 Packard Convertible might have asking prices into the $60,000 range. The 1949 Packard Sedans of which more were produced and sold as of this writing may have price tags into the $20,000 to $35,000 range. Difference all have to do with overall condition and originality.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)