1952 Packard Mayfair 2-door hardtop coupe Straight 8
Packards RULE!!! THE soft-spoken boss of the road!
Clutch pedal is stiff, otherwise no other problems so far.
I'm a Packard fan from way back, and have always known these cars to be the absolute highest quality products to ever come out of Detroit. I have had several Packards of different years, but have always heard that if you want a reliable, rock-steady road car that gives good performance and is a great long-haul cruiser, find a 1951-54 model with manual transmission and overdrive, (and wind-up windows -- NOT power. They can be troublesome). So, that's what I did! My Packard is a two-door hardtop 1952 model called a Mayfair, and I found it on eBay.
This car just plain HAULS. The previous owner rebuilt the engine and installed solid lifters, hardened valve seats and a hardened cam, and bored it out 30 over -- a very mild "stroking" that added a bit more horsepower, and it runs fine on regular 87 octane unleaded gas. Otherwise the car is completely stock, right down to its wide whitewall tires and proud Cormorant hood ornament. (I have had this car up to 90, with plenty of pedal to go -- and it wasn't even breathing hard).
I recently drove the car from Southern California to Phoenix, and averaged 20 mpg, on regular gas, at speeds around 65-75. Not bad AT ALL for a big, heavy car! I got out of the car feeling like I could drive for many more hours without fatigue. This baby is just awesome, feels great on the road, is supremely comfortable, has great visibility all around, and gets tons of attention -- and thumbs up from other drivers all the way.
Mechanically, it is refreshingly simple compared to newer cars, even cars of the late 50s. The previous owner had installed a new wiring harness, and I would recommend everyone to do that -- it solves headaches, and makes you feel much more assured that the car isn't going to have electrical maladies on the road -- or God forbid, catch on fire. I have never had problems locating parts for this car or other Packards -- but it's a good idea to join a good club like Packards International, because it's good to know others who have these cars, to get advice when you need it.
Collector cars and the true enjoyment of the hobby, through actually driving and ENJOYING them, is what it's all about. It just doesn't get any better than this!! Though the company is unfortunately long gone, "long live Packard".
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th January, 2009
31st Jan 2015, 16:27
I know what you mean. One of the cars in which I learned to drive was a 1952 Caribbean. It was amazing in so many ways: Rock solid, excellent handling for its time, comfortable at high speeds, well thought out and just plain beautiful. We had much more powerful cars with features that were more advanced in some ways (more auto transmission gears, for instance), but given the chance, I always wanted to drive the Packard. My grandparents had a driver and several cars, but when they drove themselves, it was always in a Packard. What great cars we would have now, if only they had been able to survive.