Packard never built a pickup truck — if they had, maybe they’d be in business today — but that didn’t dissuade the enterprising folks at Speedwell Garage in Parkton, Maryland. The result is this custom-bodied conversion created from a 1956 Packard Patrician sedan, and it credibly imagines what might have been.
Today, the concept of a luxury pickup is firmly established as a feature-laden version of a standard pickup, but in the 1950s, the budding notion of a premium hauler was different. Automakers thought the way to do so was to combine the ride and comfort of a passenger-car body with the cargo-hauling capability provided by a pickup bed — think 1957 Ford Ranchero and 1959 Chevrolet El Camino. This El Packard-ero takes that same tack.
What keeps the project firmly in period is that its creators resisted the urge to resto-mod this Packard. Granted, they snuck in a backup camera and a Vintage Air system, but this pickup otherwise looks just as ’56 Packard pickup might have, had the factory turned them out.
The pickup bed, with a polished wood floor, slips neatly between the sedan’s rear fenders, and the factory taillights and bumper-exiting dual exhaust outlets are preserved. The sedan’s rear doors also are retained, and they still open, providing access to storage beneath the cargo bed. The two-tone copper-and-cream color scheme is absolutely fittingly Fifties.
Under the hood, is a Packard 374-cubic-inch V8 paired with the company’s two-speed, pushbutton-drive Twin-Ultramatic transmission. Even the wheels appear to not deviate from stock, color-matched steelies with full-face chrome wheel covers wrapped with wide-whitewall tires.
This Packard pickup has been listed at Motor City Classic Cars at an asking price of $68,500 but is now scheduled to cross the block at Mecum’s Kissimmee, Florida, auction this coming weekend. The 1956 model year marked the last of the “true” Packards, as the ’57 and ’58 models were grotesquely restyled Studebakers, after which the brand was euthanized. It was an unfortunate end to the brand’s story, to which this Packard pickup adds an interesting, albeit fictional, chapter.