Fastback Form: 1948 Packard Super Eight Club Sedan – Sold?

by | Dec 2021 | Classifinds, Free For All Friday

January 13, 2022 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Some of the more successful automotive designs over the years have been those which convey movement even when standing still. Achieving this is no small feat, especially in a 1940s vintage ride such as this 1948 Packard Super Eight Club Sedan originally listed in December 2021 on Craigslist in Troutman, North Carolina (Charlotte) conveys the illusion of speed from its rare two-door fastback body style. A project car reported to run and drive, this postwar Packard is likely one of only six hundred produced.

The private seller is currently asking $10,000 for their “80% Complete” project car.  Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Super 8 optimistically priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $8,600 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $17,700.  Similarly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $9,800 and its #2 “Very Good” appraisal of $15,800.

The Hagerty Insurance Valuation Page also provides this overview of the Super 8 for 1948:

“Packard had survived the Great Depression by doing what major “Three Ps” competitors Peerless and Pierce-Arrow could not do, and that was to build a new factory, design a new car from the ground up and introduce mass-production techniques for a mid-priced automobile to be built alongside the “senior” cars introduced as the 120, as 1935 cars.

Paradoxically for Packard, the savior “cheaper” cars became the millstone over time by diluting the prestige of the marque. Before the Second World War, Packard was still building senior 356 cubic inch inline-eight cars separately from the smaller cars, which ran much smaller inline-sixes and inline-eights of 245 and 282 cubic inches, respectively. To further their competitive condition, Packard commissioned Howard “Dutch” Darrin to develop a new line for mid-1941 introduction known as the Clipper. Bodies were not produced by Packard but contracted to Briggs Body in Detroit in order to save costs. They sold very well, and the cars were brought back postwar and ended up as the basis for all Packard cars, both “junior” and “senior”, with larger cars having longer front ends for the massive 356 inline-eight. This meant that all Packard bodies were now sourced by Briggs, except for commercial hearse and ambulance.

As with all other manufacturers, Packard was able to sell any cars they were able to produce in the immediate postwar years. Utilizing the more modern and better-looking Clipper styling for all cars saved money and modernized the styling of the senior cars at a minimal cost. It also allowed for all cars to be produced on one assembly line.

By the time these Eights came along, the competition was bringing out new cars with new styling, and Packard was at a disadvantage. Packard therefore reskinned the cars below the greenhouse to eliminate the vestiges of fender sweeps. The cars looked bulbous, yes, but the massive look was definitely in for American buyers. These 1948-50 cars gave Packard financial breathing room until all-new cars could be developed for 1951, but even though they were a stopgap measure, they are respected now.

The Eight and Deluxe Eight lines had 288 cubic inch engines throughout the three-year production, rated at 130 hp in 1948 and 135 hp thereafter. These cars rode a 120-inch wheelbase as used on the prewar and postwar Clipper cars which preceded them. The Super Eight line had 327 cubic inch engines throughout the same period, rated at 145 hp for 1948 and 150 hp thereafter. These cars utilized a 120-inch wheelbase for 1948 and 127 inches from 1949 on. A long-body seven-passenger sedan and limousine was offered on 141-inch wheelbase.

The senior Custom Eight line had the massive nine main bearing 356 cubic inch engine, rated at 160 hp. The 127-inch wheelbase and long nose was used out of necessity. 148-inch wheelbase seven-passenger sedans and limousines were also supplied to order for 1948. 1949 was Packard’s Golden Anniversary year, and the company produced 2,000 cars in custom gold paint.

Top-of-the-line Custom Eight convertibles ran an eye-popping $4,295 for 1948, with prices gradually moving up to $4,520 by 1950, when a mere 77 examples were built. 1,013 were built in 1948, 213 were built in the first series of 1949 cars and a mere 68 were built in the second series of 1949 cars. Another rare Packard built from 1948 to 1950 was the Eight Station Sedan, a station wagon that sold new for $3,425 in 1948 and featured mostly metal bodywork with some wood structure in the upper rearmost body and tailgates.”

A real find was this 1948 Packard dealer training film posted on the Matt’s Car Videos YouTube Channel:

With very little money possible in restoring this car back to like new, it simply makes much more sense to make this 1948 Packard Super 8 Fastback a hot rod or restomod.  In a few more years, we would not at all be surprised if an enterprising builder swaps the original straight-8 for electric power.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1948 special edition 2 dr fastback Packard.
Matching numbers less than 600 produced. runs and drives 80% complete needs interior Fabric straight 8clinder engine 3-speed custom black paint calls only for appointment no text or email

Restore or Restomod: what would you do with this 1948 Packard Super 8 Fastback?  Comment below and let us know!

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