Classic DREAMCARS Mount Dora, Fla. (352) 385-1945 www.classicdreamcars.com

           

      

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SOLD IMMEDIATELY TO A PENNSYLVANIA FUNERAL DIRECTOR

  1954 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) , SURPRISINGLY 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, FUNERAL 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 HEARSE". 
SOLD

THE STORY:
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 ( o.o.b 1965), Comet became Cotner Bevington, and Superior, 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 also built::


The Highpoint Estate - now a Bed & Breakfast inn in Freeport, Ill.


Several Henney Presidential Limousines for the Harry S. Truman White House


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 Ambulances 1942

The First Air Conditioned Ambulance for a Texas Firm.

WHEN HENRY FORD PASSED: HE WAS TAKEN TO HIS FINAL REST IN A PACKARD HENNEY HEARSE

OUR SINCERE THANKS TO GEORGE HAMLIN OF THE PACKARD CLUB FOR HIS ASSISTANCE AND HELP WITH SOME OF 'THE HARDCORE FACTS'

 

SCENES FROM "THE HEARSE" (1980) GEORGE BOWERS: DIRECTOR ( "PRIVATE RESORT", "THE DUKES OF HAZZARD" AND "MY TUDOR"). FILM STARRED JOSEPH COTTON, TRISH VAN DEVEER.