CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Built to last

The President of Iceland (he is the one who is waving) is pictured as he is about to get into his official vehicle, a 1942 Packard Touring Limousine, with body by LeBaron.

5 Likes

I store many things in the freezer to keep them fresh… Maybe it works on Packards, too!

4 Likes

Almost any car can last forever…just depends on how much money you want to put into it. I know of one 60’s Mustang that’s had a frame off rebuild at least twice.

The museum I volunteer for has a generally unrestored 1896 Panhard et Lavassor car that still runs. All 6 mph of it. It has no spark plugs and the heat tube igniter system needed to be recreated but even the upholstery is original.

Pre-war Packards were some of the highest-quality cars on the market at that time, very conservatively designed and engineered, not flashy or ‘cutting edge’. “Ask the man who owns one”

1 Like

Speaking of beautiful old Packards, a couple of years ago, NY State paid a little under $11k to restore FDR’s 1932 Packard, and shortly after the restoration, Governor Cuomo drove it over the new bridge named for his father, Mario.

1 Like

That is why Packard was selected as the US contractor to manufacture the incredibly-complex Rolls Royce Merlin engine for aircraft during WW II.

4 Likes

One mistake Packard made was producing a lower priced model and calling it the Packard Clipper. In my opinion, it should have just been called the Clipper. The lower priced line rather hurt the prestige of the senior Packards.
After WW II, the senior Packards were dropped and the Packard Clippers were just called Packards. Many of these postwar Packards so service as taxicabs.
I still believe that the vehicles that were built to last were Checkers. I wish I had had the money to have purchased the used 1960 Checker I looked at in 1964. I bet I would still be driving it today. Unfortunately, I was a poor graduate student in 1964.

There is a 1975 Checker Marathon listed at Hemmings. While it’s yellow, the owners report that it has never been a taxi. Less than 48,000 miles. It’s at a classic car dealer in Michigan. Must be in consignment. A steal at $7950!

Reminds me of “The Godfather”, but it’s not like it’s taking long road trips. Might be hard getting some parts.

The few times though I had a ride in a Checker taxi, it reminded me of a bare bones 55 Chevy. Rubber floor mats, no fancy upholstery, etc. but a very solid car and no rattles. Wish I could say the same for the driver. Just not something I would have longed to buy though.

@jtsanders and @Bing. Not only were the Checkers built to last but they were built to be repaired easily. These, to me, are important qualities in a vehicle. The Checkers, at least those built for taxicab service, had interiors that could be hosed out. Some big city ordinances required that taxicab interiors be hosed out at night. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to wash car and the windows rolled down?
Today’s cars for me should have a message stamped on the hood that reads “CAUTION DO NOT OPEN. NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS”.
About all I am able to do these days is check the fluid levels and the air pressure in the tires.

1 Like

Dude, the one at Hemmings has a 350 engine. SBC. Parts will be plentiful. Just right for your driveway. The Mrs wouldn’t let you have the Sprite, but surely you can have this one. Tell her I OK’d it.

I‘m always happy to spend other people’s money. :wink:

The last line is the joke, but the rest is serious.

1 Like

@jtsanders. I would go after the Checker, but I am looking at a $7000 Alexander French horn. I have room in my music room/home office for another horn, but we don’t have room in our driveway for another car.
However, with this pandemic and concerts cancelled this fall, the Checker is tempting…

3 Likes

Jt… Is that the one with the stunning woman in front of it?

My memories of the Checker Marathon (remember Checker Cab Company?) were of a large, slow, very utilitarian car with lots of room (didn’t need to remove your fedora), fold down jump seats and a lowly straight six under the hood.
Hardly the stuff to light up teenage auto passion like a '57 Chevy Bel Air.

… or not…

From Wikipedia:

The engines used were originally Continental-built L-head inline-sixes (OHV units for the wagons), but these were exchanged for Chevrolet sixes and small-block V8s for the 1965 model year.[4] These continued to change as Chevrolet introduced modifications, peaking with the 1969 L-48 350 V8 which produced 300 hp (224 kW) (gross).[5] In 1969, a Perkins 4.236 L diesel nonturbo engine was available as an option for all models, but for only one year. By 1973, power for the 350 had decreased to 145 hp (108 kW) and in 1975 catalytic converters were introduced. For 1980, the engine lineup was changed entirely, with a 3.8-litre V6 replacing the old inline unit, and a smaller 267 ci (4.4 L) standard V8. The big news was the Oldsmobile LF9 engine, a 350 cu in (5.74 L) diesel V8.[6]

Driving a 1982 Checker Marathon:

1 Like

Nope. That one is done up as a taxi and the asking price is much higher than the one I mentioned above. I didn’t notice the woman (what?!). The picture on my iPad is too small to see more than that there is a person in front of the door of the cab. She’s an attention grabber for sure, though.

I tried to get @Triedaq to buy that one ( the car, not the woman) since he loves those Checkers so much.

I will have to admit that as much as I really liked the Checker, the minivan is more suited to my needs. I have been in large cities and have seen different makes of minivans in taxicab service. As I am often transporting people, the power sliding doors are a real asset. I also would bet that the gasoline mileage on the Toyota Sienna I drive is much better than a Checker no matter what engine was installed in the Checker. The acceleration of the Sienna I am sure is better than the Checker. However, the Checker was certainly easier to work on than any of the minivans I have owned.