This beautiful old Packard 180 drove into our shop under its own power in the winter of 2003-04. Though a bit down on its post-depression-era luck, the bones were all there and it was very lucky to have an owner who fully understood its needs and valued its special qualities. What better foundation for a proper restoration could there be? Though the task always looks to be a bit daunting at the onset, owner Murray Smith and the Automotive Restorations crew were of like mind, and the project began in earnest.
It was decided that this car was meant to be used, not fussed with to such an extent that it would come out only for occasional show viewings on nice days. It is the sort of car that should be used, very capable of keeping up with today's traffic with a style that only a senior Packard can embody. And so Murray's Packard was soon in bits amidst a beehive of restoration activity.
Oh, there were surprises, a bit more rot in the original woodwork especially at the tricky curved rear 1/4-panel sills, a few bits of non-original wood that were clearly late additions, and all the usual component reconditioning. All were overcome in a timely fashion and in less than nine months after work commenced, this grand old Packard was motoring onto the show field at the Lime Rock Connecticut Fall Festival Concours among a superb field of pre- and post-war Woodies. It might well have won something, but for the association of its owner with the event; he graciously passed on the judging to defer to other entrants. It did, however, do exactly as its restoration was undertaken to allow, and motored around the Litchfield hills perfectly for that first weekend of its new life.
It has since logged a good number of miles on Eastern Long Island and points beyond. It is a delight to drive and functions just as it should, as Classic & Sports Car magazine attests in its July 2005 edition.
We are very appreciative of Murray Smith's patronage, patience and dedication, allowing us to do our job properly. It is rewarding to see a lovely old car like this Packard preserved and working "just right," while motoring confidently down the road, delighting all some 65 years after it came to be.