DREAMCARS Mount Dora, Fla. (352) 385-1945
on Photo to Enlarge)
SOLD IMMEDIATELY TO A PENNSYLVANIA
PACKARD HENNEY "NU-3-WAY" SIDE LOADER HEARSE
OUR HEARSE WAS A
TWO-OWNER CAR USED BY A LARGE FUNERAL HOME ON THE SOUTHERN TIP
OF IOWA LOCATED ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. IT IS ONE OF ONLY 205
PACKARD HENNEY HEARSE'S BUILT* THAT YEAR AND, IS ONE OF ONLY A
HANDFUL CUSTOM MADE AS THE "NU-3- WAY LANDAU"
VERSION WITH MOST EVERY OPTION. THIS IS NOT THE 'JUNIOR' VERSION
ON A 127" WHEELBASE BUT, A 'SENIOR BODY STYLE ON THE 156"
WHEEL BASE...CONSIDERED THE TOP LEVEL OF PROFESSIONAL FUNERAL
CARS. JUDGING BY THE V.I.N. NUMBER WE BELIEVE IT IS, INDEED,
ONE OF THE VERY LAST
PACKARD HEARSES MADE BY HENNEY*.
IT IS VERY UNUSUAL BECAUSE IT CARRIES NEARLY EVERY FEATURE INCLUDING
FACTORY' INLINE' L HEAD 359 CUBIC INCH / 212 HP "THUNDERBOLT
EIGHT" CYL. MOTOR, WITH NINE BEARINGS, UPGRADED HEAD FROM THE PROBLEMATIC ALUMINUM CYLINDER
HEAD, HYDRAULIC VALVES & CARTER 4V CARB. IT ORIGINALLY CARRIED
THE PACKARD 'ULTRAMATIC' AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION' WHICH WAS RECENTLY
CHANGED TO C6 AUTOMATIC FOR LACK OF CORRECT PARTS. IT IS ALSO
OPTIONED WITH THE "3 WAY- AM RADIO" (JUST REBUILT),
HEATER / DEFROSTER, WIDE WHITEWALL TIRES, ULTRA-RARE "NU-3-WAY
SIDE SERVICING CASKET TABLE" , WINDSHIELD WASHER, SUN VISORS,
CURB SIGNALS, BACKING LIGHTS, 'LEVELDRAULIC' ADJUSTABLE CURBSIDE
SUSPENSION, SOLEX SAFETY GLASS, POWER 4-WAY SEATS, POWER BRAKES,
HYDRAULIC POWER WINDOWS, TWIN EXTERIOR MIRRORS, FUNERAL NAMEPLATE
HOLDERS, AND DASH MOUNTED CHROME "FUNERAL COACH" SIGN.
ALTHOUGH AIR CONDITIONING WAS AVAILABLE SINCE 1938 FOR PASS. CARS
( WE PERSONALLY WITNESSED ORIGINAL A.C. IN A WOODIE WAGON) ,
PACKARD DISPENSED OF THAT OPTION IN 1942 AND REINSTATED IT,
AS A $625 OPTION (ON 4 MODELS), AGAIN IN 1953. THE FIRST TWO BEING
WHITEHOUSE FLEET CARS ON MAY 19,1953). REGARDLESS,
COACHES SELDOM EVER RECVD. THAT OPTION.
MOST FUNERAL COACHES AREN'T DRIVEN VERY FAR UNTIL THEY ARE 'RETIRED'. WHEN YOU
STOP TO THINK ABOUT IT...THEY WERE ONLY DRIVEN FROM THE FUNERAL HOME TO THE
CEMETERY, AND FOR OIL CHANGES & SERVICE. OUR CAR CARRIES DOCUMENTED MILEAGE OF
38,204 (THAT'S ONLY 721 MILES PER YEAR). IT FEATURES AN ALL ORIGINAL INTERIOR,
ONE RE-PAINT AND IS HAPPILY ACCIDENT FREE (NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE 'REAR-END' A
HEARSE! ). THE INTERIOR IS FACTORY ORIGINAL; MADE IN MAROON / BEIGE LEATHERETTE
WITH CHROME ACCENTS, WHILE THE 'TABLE' AND CARPETS ARE COVERED IN LOT'S OF
CHROME & MOHAIR FABRIC. THIS IS SIMILAR TO THE ONE (1952) SEEN IN THE MOVIE "THE
Most Hearses are
built on a Limited Build or Commercial Chassis which is ordered
direct from the Factory, though later Henneys were manufactured
in Freeport on Henney's own chassis using 'kits' bought from Packard.and
most were quite expensive new....typically double the price
of a new, loaded luxury car, though there were a few economy conversion
shops known to offer lower-priced versions. This particular Coach
is a Landau Style, Side Loader w/ End-Loader capabilities. It
has no Center Partition or Center Divider Post, which was always
the case with Side Loaders, as the seats had to be tilted forward
to move the Manual or Electrically Operated Casket Table. Some
models offer 3-4 door capability, may have full Center Posts and
may have Center Partitions. The casket usually rolled out the
back in those models. Other Hearses were built as Combination
Ambulances and Funeral Cars, for economic reasons, for those that
could not afford two vehicles.
When researching: Hearses normally fall under "other chassis"
in the Production Books. Based on personal taste, the astute funeral
coach buyer then narrows it down to one of 10-12 of the 51 or
so, Professional Car Body Builders: Sayers & Scoville (S&S),
Henney (o.o.b. 1954),
Eagle, Federal , Eureka ( went
o.o.b. 1964), Miller- Meteor, National , Flxible
1965), Comet became
Cotner Bevington, and
just to name a few. One or two names usually surface as the most
respected of the hearse line-up: Henney Motor Company of Freeport,
Illinois was always one of the Top Players. In business since
1868, they lived up to their 'handbuilt' promise and were known
for their Quality, and Model Selection. Henney signed Packard
in 1937 to an exclusive agreement and, from that date forward,
Packard supplied it"s chassis' to no other Professional Car
Manufacturer. If you're not old enough to remember, Packard was
considered the 'Rolls-Royce' of American Automobiles. Henney even
built Chauffeured Limousines for Lincoln and were highly respected
as the Premium Coach Builder. One Limo was built by Henney for
Pres. Harry S Truman with a Gold Appointed Interior. Henney was
the World's Largest manufacturer of Hearses and Ambulances for
many years. The Henney and S & S nameplate will normally attract
slightly higher resale in the long-term.
After introduction Jan. 15,1954, Packard sold 31,291 cars that
year ranking them at 16th in the U.S. Sales Roster. At the close
of this model year, Packard acquired Studebaker Oct. 1, 1954.
Many consider that the demise of Packard Motor Cars. Just
two years later (June 25 1956) they would build the last 'true'
Packard nameplate. Henney Motor Co. couldn't compete with the
other manufacturers and after several financial setbacks in 1953-54
they floundered. Their decision to build the Packard Junior was
the most serious mistake as they hemorrhaged money on each one
sold. So, after a massive heart attack in 1946, several unsuccessful
attempts to mend burnt bridges with Cadillac (who was now the
only supplier of Commercial Chassis), and the sale of the
company to Charles Russell Feldman the Henney factory was closed
for good in 1954. What is well known* that the last assembled
Packard Chassis built was the 1954 Packard Commercial Chassis
shipped in pieces to Henney at Freeport, Illinois but, since the
chassis' were scrambled at the closing bell, we can only surmise
this is ONE OF The Very Last Custom Built Packards. Not only of
the 205 built in 1954 but, due to it's chassis number, more than
likely very close to last.
FACT: John Henney
The Highpoint Estate - now a Bed & Breakfast inn in Freeport,
Several Henney Presidential Limousines for the Harry S. Truman
The Henney 'Pan American' Sportscar which won 1st Place at the International
Sportscar Show in N.Y. 1952
Two Packard Monte Carlo DeVille Specials in 1953
The World's First
Television Remote Car for WOW-TV
The First Modular
Conditioned Ambulance for a Texas Firm.
HENRY FORD PASSED: HE WAS TAKEN TO HIS FINAL REST IN A PACKARD
OUR SINCERE THANKS
TO GEORGE HAMLIN OF THE PACKARD CLUB FOR HIS ASSISTANCE AND HELP
WITH SOME OF 'THE HARDCORE FACTS'
FROM "THE HEARSE" (1980) GEORGE BOWERS: DIRECTOR ( "PRIVATE
RESORT", "THE DUKES OF HAZZARD" AND "MY TUDOR").
FILM STARRED JOSEPH COTTON, TRISH VAN DEVEER.