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Lot 44
1954 Packard Patrician Touring Sedan


From the Miller Family Packard Collection

CHASSIS NO: 54524530

• Formerly of the famed Harrah's Automobile Collection
• Equipped with rare factory air-conditioning
• Preservation class original
• Just 39,700 miles from new

327 cid OHV "Thunderbolt" inline eight-cylinder engine, single four-barrel carburetor, 180 HP, Ultramatic automatic transmission, independent front suspension with live rear axle, four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase:127”

Packard was the most prolific of America’s prestige manufacturers, with Peerless and Pierce-Arrow comprising the “Three Ps” of upper crust automobiles. Of the three, only Packard emerged from the Depression, largely on the strength of a line of medium-priced cars introduced in 1935. Dramatic new “Clipper” styling in 1941 bolstered Packard sales, such that the more traditional “Senior” series were dropped after World War II. This proved to be a mixed blessing. With the all-new 22nd Series cars in 1948, Packard again reached into the true luxury market but, aside from wheelbase and some exterior trim, there was little to distinguish the top-of-the-line Custom Eight models from the standard Packard Eight that competed with Mercury and Buick. Moreover, in 1950 Packard slipped behind rival Cadillac in sales. New president James Nance had a strategy for success, the seeds of which were sown soon after his arrival in 1952. Nance’s plan was to distinguish the entry-level series from the larger Packards, both visually and in prestige. Reintroducing the Clipper name, he applied it to the least expensive Packards, although his desire for a separate marque name was never fully implemented. Clippers had simple trim, smaller engines, and fewer amenities, while the uppermost Patrician series featured longer wheelbases, more elegant trim, and a line of Executive sedans by professional car builder Henney Motor Company.

For model years 1953 and 1954, the Patrician continued to represent Packard's highest trim level sedans and rode on the 127" chassis. For 1953, the Patrician used the same 327-cubic-inch nine-main bearing straight eight engine that was used for 1951 and 1952 but for the first time added a four-barrel carburetor for an increase in power. For 1954, the new 359-cubic-inch, nine-main bearing, aluminum head 212-horsepower engine was standard and also featured a four-barrel carburetor. 1954 was the first year to add a start-position to the ignition key - earlier years were started by a switch built into the carburetor which was actuated by depressing the accelerator pedal to the floor.

For 1954, Packard lines were further differentiated. The Clipper, while retaining the family grille, received entirely new rear quarter panels, and was offered in three subseries to compete in the mid-priced market. There were three true Packard lines, the Cavalier, offered only as an upper-mid-price sedan, and the Patrician and Henney Custom line at the top of the catalog. In between are the 5431 series, called simply “Packard.” It comprised three body styles, a Pacific two-door hardtop, the Caribbean Custom convertible distinctively modified by Mitchell-Bentley Corporation, and a standard convertible, body style 5479. The 5452 series offered here is equipped with Packard’s largest eight, the nine-main-bearing 359-cubic-inch unit, which developed 212 horsepower using a Carter WCFB four-barrel carburetor.

This unrestored original, high-line Patrician Touring Sedan is fully optioned, with Packard’s famed Ultramatic transmission, Easamatic power steering, power brakes, power windows, four-way power seat, and three-way tuning radio; rarest of all, this car is equipped with factory air-conditioning. The paint was refinished in the factory color early on; however, the interior is original and in excellent condition. Formerly part of the legendary Harrah’s automobile collection, it has been part of the Miller Family Packard Collection for over 35 years. Mr. Harrah was so impressed with the preservation quality of the car that he ordered a display placard for the car stating "Not to be restored". Driven less than 39,700 miles since new, this example will make a fine addition to any collection focused on preservation or driving enjoyment and the occasional concours competition.

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