Exploring the 1954 Packard Convertible – A 50s Time Capsule with a Mighty Straight Eight Engine

It’s quite rare to see classic cars from the 1950s still running on the streets like modern ones, with fresh looks and a good sound. Most cars from this decade find themselves in museums, collectors’ garages, or junkyards. However, this 1954 Packard convertible that YouTuber Lou Costabile chanced upon is a true rarity. After all, it’s a 1950s time capsule from a brand that was once the pinnacle of American luxury

Finding A Dream Treasure From The 1950s

This great-looking 1954 Packard convertible belongs to Rich Janis of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. While it might seem like Janis owned this classic car for decades, the fact is that he only acquired this red Packard convertible in 2020, or around three years ago. He wasn’t the car’s original owner, but it seems that they have been together for the longest time.

In an interview with Old Cars Weekly, Janis disclosed that the original owner restored this classic convertible in 1996. A few years later, the original owner sold the Chariot Red car to a Massachusetts couple. Then, Janis’ neighbor acquired the Packard convertible nearly 20 years ago. When it came up for sale in 2020, Janis couldn’t pass up the opportunity, as he had always wanted to own a Packard convertible.

Restoring A 1954 Packard Convertible And Its Straight-Eight Engine

1954 Packard Convertible straight-six engine
Via: Lou Costabile on YouTube

In Lou’s YouTube video, Janis’ 1954 Packard convertible looks so pristine that it appears to have jumped through time, straight from the factory. However, this wasn’t the case a few years ago. Its engine wasn’t running well, and the exterior of the Packard convertible was far from desirable. Janis knew he had to address these time-inflicted flaws.

Janis first needed his Packard convertible to look great by repainting various sections. However, it was difficult to find someone who could accurately match the Chariot Red paint color for the car. Eventually, he found an auto shop worker who repainted sections of the Packard convertible to its correct color.

Then, Janis needed the car’s 359-ci straight-eight engine to work. This was one of the reasons why he purchased the Packard convertible, and he wasn’t willing to give up on it easily. Originally rated to deliver 212 hp of output and 330 lb-ft of torque, the engine wouldn’t run due to a defective flywheel. Despite Packard closing shop decades ago, Janis still managed to replace the flywheel. Before he realized it, he had already replaced several engine parts and related components.

A Classic Car With Pristine Looks, A Good Engine, And A Smooth Ride

red 1954 Packard Convertible side
Via: Lou Costabile on YouTube

Janis’ 1954 Packard Convertible now looks spectacular. If it weren’t for its classic design, some people might mistake it for a new car. Lou invited himself for a quick ride in the Packard convertible, and Janis obliged. During the short cruise, Lou discovered that with the classic convertible driving so smoothly, it wasn’t hard to understand why Janis fell in love with it.

Source: Old Cars Weekly, Lou Costabile on YouTube

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