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In the Garage: 1940 Packard 110
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1940 Packard 110 Club Coupe owned by Wayne Hedlund
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Despite stiff competition from Cadillac and effects of the Great Depression, Packard in 1940 was still known as an ultra-luxury brand, renowned for its build quality, engineering innovations and twelve- and eight-cylinder engines. Even in the troubled 1930s, these big cars could cost anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 or more at a time when average annual wages were around $1,800 and a typical house was $4,000.
In 1937, the company sought to expand its customer base by launching the “Packard Six,” a lower-priced, six-cylinder model designed to compete with the likes of Buick or Cadillac’s down-market LaSalle. As one expert put it, “The new Packard sold like the popular radio program of that era. It was ‘Gangbusters.’” By the time Packard had built Hedlund’s Club Coupe, the model was renamed the 110. “There were about 7,000 produced,” he says, “but they are quite rare today. The cost was $975 new. It is equipped with a radio and deluxe heater.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
“It was given to me three years ago by the former owner’s widow,” he says. “It had been sitting in a garage for 35 years, basically as a pile of junk.”
WHERE HE FOUND IT
“It was in Floral Park, asleep in a locked garage, rusty and mostly disassembled,” he says. “The widow contacted me through the Packard Club and gave me the car if I promised not to junk it. I brought it home in pieces on a U-Haul trailer. My wife thought I was crazy.”
The coupe needed a total restoration. “I did everything myself, except the (chrome) plating,” Hedlund says. He has all the books and manuals and the odometer reads about 43,000 miles, although he says there is no way to verify the number. “Packard parts are fairly hard to find, although the Internet has made it a lot easier than it used to be,” he notes. “Real Packards haven’t been produced since 1956, and very little is reproduced.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“I would say to do as much of the work yourself as possible, as restoration costs often far exceed the finished value of the car,” he advises. “In other words, it’s a labor of love; you won’t make a ton of money.”
Hedlund declines to value the Packard. The NADA Guides puts a “high retail” value of $50,400 on a 110 Club Coupe without options.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“The 1940 we call ‘Felix’ and is becoming part of our lives also,” says Hedlund, who owns a 1954 Packard convertible nicknamed “Lucille.”