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Lot 52
1956 Packard 400 Coupe
OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVE

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From the Miller Family Packard Collection

CHASSIS NO: 56872458

• Owned for 30 years by the Miller Family who are the second owners from new
• Last year of the “true” Packard
• V-8 engine with pushbutton automatic transmission
• Less than 40,300 miles from new
• Original interior and factory air-conditioning
• 1 of only 3,224 400s built in 1956


352 cid OHV V-8 engine, four-barrel carburetor, 290 HP at 4,600 RPM, Ultramatic automatic transmission, torsion bar suspension, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes


When veteran industrialist James J. Nance became president of the Packard Motor Car Co. in 1952, he immediately set about rebuilding the storied automaker's prestige and profits, which had eroded in the years following World War II. Although its cars continued to be built to exemplary standards, Packard in the post-WWII years failed to match the pace of styling change that its customers, and the rest of the US auto industry, had come to accept as the norm. Nevertheless, Packards of the late 1940s and 1950s are amongst the most collectible of post-war U.S. automobiles, representing as they do the final flowering of that magnificent straight eight. For 1954, Packard introduced a trio of luxury sports models - the 'Packard Line' – comprising a hardtop coupe, convertible, and custom convertible, all of which were favored with a new nine-bearing 359-cubic-inch straight-eight engine. However, by this time even Packard could no longer ignore the need for a V-8, which duly arrived the following year.

For 1955, the entire senior line of Packards received an extensive design update that freshened the last restyling that was done in 1951. Under designer Dick Teague, the Senior Packards received a more modern grille design, "Cathedral"-styled rear taillights, hooded headlight housings and a new exterior trim layout that afforded Packard the ability to offer two- and three-tone paint combinations with the simplest of masking patterns. While Packard could not afford a whole new greenhouse for the passenger compartment, new trim at the base of the rear pillar made it look like it had a redesigned roofline. The cars were also outfitted with a wraparound windshield, thus bringing it in line with American automobiles of the era. Inside, upholstery and brightwork was also freshened, and the cars received a new dashboard layout. 1955 and 1956 instruments and controls were similar, but the 1955 dash featured a warm, bronze-like surface, and in 1956 were faced with a machined-look stainless steel facing. The lightly revised 1956 Packard lineup comprised the Patrician four-door sedan and Four Hundred two-door hardtop coupe, both of which came with the new overhead-valve V-8 engine in its 374-cubic-inch, 290-horsepower incarnation. As with the Patrician, the Packard 400 was a standalone model in one body style. A 1956 Packard brochure, in discussing the 400, stated that “Traditional elegance is spiced with youthful flair in the new Packard Four Hundred. Let your eye capture the quick sweep of line and the forward-motion profile of this great car. Or let your eye linger on the little things – the new hood ornament, the wraparound parking lights, the shrouded headlights.” Sadly, it was a case of 'too little, too late': the Packard Line was discontinued after 1956 and the company itself lasted just two more years; its final models being rebadged as Studebakers.

With an interior reported as being “virtually 100-percent original;” this is a very rare and stunning example of Packard’s last great year and has been part of the Miller Family Packard Collection for over 30 years. The odometer reads just over 40,275 miles and the family reports that these miles are actual. It is very highly optioned and runs smoothly with its powerful V-8 engine with pushbutton automatic transmission. Desirable amenities include power steering, power brakes, power windows, dual power antennas, power seat, factory pushbutton radio, padded dash, rare air-conditioning, whitewall tires, rear fender skirts and full Solex tinted glass. 1 of only 3,224 built in the 1956 model year, this Tangier Red and Dover White example is in exceptional condition throughout.

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