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|March 25, 2020 - Bella's previous owner generously included a nice set of original 1941 Virginia plates which I transferred over to my name. The car only uses a rear plate, which is in very good shape. The 'spare' was badly creased and chipped up, so I sent it off to Wayne Tyler in Richmond to be restored. The 'new' plate arrived today, actually looking way better than it ever did. He managed to get the crease out so well you have to know where it was to see any trace, and the paint is prettier than that of some cars I have seen at shows!|
|March 23, 2020 - As expected after 79 years, some of the switches are getting a bit tired. The instrument light switch has a rheostat spring that increases brightness over three positions. Bella's only works in the full on position, indicating a bad spring. Happily, I was able to pick up a NOS switch (far right) for $20. The starter switch is hanging up a bit, and one of those showed up in the original box (left) on eBay for $39! And last but not least, a brand new overdrive kickdown switch (center) was also provided by eBay for $29. It may take a while before they all get installed, but when you are dealing with a classic Packard you snag parts when you can find them! That includes the period, and possibly dealership Packard key fob which also arrived today.|
|March 22, 2020 - I took Bella on a one-car tour of Norfolk today. We visited the Chrysler Museum, explored the parking lot of the Harrison Opera House, made a circuit of Norfolk Park and the Zoo, and toured some of the old waterfront neighborhoods. Only one classic car, but plenty of waves and smiles (including my own). With the concerns about contagion, it was a great way to get out and enjoy the car and nice weather without putting anyone, including myself, at risk.|
|March 19, 2020 - A little time in the garage tonight took care of a couple of annoying issues and netted a surprise. First of all, the passenger side mirror has been useless, offering a view of the ground well off to the side of the car. I cut a slot in the mirror head base with a Dremel tool, added a round spacer, and was able to get the mirror showing the lane just beside the car, like it should. Another oddity was the modern radio antenna on the right side of the cowl in a car that has no radio. I installed a plug for the hole that looks much better. Lastly - while checking out the back of the dash in preparation for future panel light wiring, I discovered that Bella has a battery cutoff switch on the firewall!|
|March 17, 2020 - Some minor tinkering after work tonight. I bumped the idle up a bit as it has dropped down to about 500 or so. It idles much better at about 800. Then I swapped out the clamp-connected Battery Tender plug for a hard-wired version. I cleaned up the left side instrument panel light bulb and got it working, only to have the power lead fall off the light switch! I need to get the car outside so I can open the door all the way and worm my way under the dash to get things hooked back up. I had some issues with the starter pushbutton switch hanging up Saturday, and was lucky enough to find a NOS unit on eBay.|
|March 14, 2020 - A car club activity about 35 miles away not only provided a great road test for the adjusted brakes and accessory port, but also allowed the discovery that the overdrive unit is working after all! The shift point is set so low that the car is already in overdrive speed by the time I shift gears. I was able to confirm this by engaging the lockout, which immediately dropped the car into normal second. The brakes are great, and the accessory port kept the Garmin GPS happy. Better yet, the displaced Studebaker was there with its new owner, as was Bella's former owner. Everyone was happy, making it a great time out for all.|
|March 12, 2020 - Bella's parking brake wouldn't hold the car on any sort of incline, so I put her up on the lift tonight for a brake adjustment. First thing was amazement at how clean the underside is - remember, she was restored about 27 years ago. There is no doubt the car had a frame-up restoration. It took a few tries to figure out the right way to turn the adjusters (down, in case you are wondering), and the car turned out to be in real need of the effort. What had felt like decent brakes for a 1941 car now work like power disc brakes - I have never owned an old car that stopped better. I also got a chance to check out the overdrive relay, which is mounted on the side of the battery box. The main power point (circled in red below right) is getting power, so the trouble is somewhere in the system. At least with the lift, I can get underneath pretty easily. It's been a good week for Bella - I got the window crank fixed properly, installed the accessory port, and have the brakes all working great!|
|March 10, 2020 - Bella will be a great tour car, but for longer trips I still prefer to have a GPS handy. The 1941 Packard, like most US cars before 1955, has a positive ground 6-volt system that doesn't play well with modern 12-volt negative ground accessories. I put together a converter setup using three pieces available off Amazon and/or eBay for cheap and installed it last night without making any modifications or drilling any holes. The power outlet assembly (1 - bought from Amazon for $13.69) has two USB ports for phones/tablets and a standard cigarette-lighter socket. That is zip-tied securely to the front seat frame so it moves with the seat, and cants forward for easy access. It is nearly invisible unless you look for it, and no holes were drilled. The outlet block is wires to the 12-volt output side of the voltage converter (2 - 10-amp unit bought from Amazon for $28.99 - lower-power units are available for half that, but I wanted the greater power just in case.) The converter is also zip-tied to the seat frame where it has plenty of cooling and also moves with the seat. Connection to the battery is through a Battery Tender plug-in connector (3) that was extra with one of my Battery Tenders, but they are available off eBay for cheap. This works great because I can disconnect the outlet when I am not sing it, and it uses the same connector to the battery that I already had in place for the Battery Tender. I tested the output with a multimeter and had exactly 12 volts. As the final test, I put the seat cushion back and hooked up a GPS - success!|
|February 25, 2020 - One of the very few flaws Bella has is a badly warped plastic waterfall grille in the center of her dash. New replacements can be had as a set for $2000, which for now is a bit steep to contemplate. However, a full set of very decent 1941 Packard dash plastic came up on eBay today and ended up mine for the not-so-princely sum of $75! Granted, it will have to be cleaned and painted the correct dark blue, but it even has the metal trim. The ashtray border is $150 just by itself, and not even part of the $2K set. It is a bit of a gamble, but really worth the risk to see if I can get a nice center for less than 5% of the cost of repops. Besides which, I can probably sell what I don't use and recover most if not all of the $75!|
|February 24, 2020 -
When I went out to hook up Bella's battery tender, the driver's window
crank fell off! The handle is held in place with a hardened pin, which
in turn is retained by the handle escutcheon that is usually under pressure
from a spring. Both the pin and the spring were missing, so I made a
temporary pin from a nail, and found the correct hardened pins and springs
at Max Merritt Packard Parts. Two of each costs $12 plus postage,
which should be cheap.
March 9, 2020 - I am not impressed with Max Merritt Packard Parts - the springs they sent are incorrect and had to be cut and reshaped. Still, I was able to make it work, and also mixed up some dark blue paint that let me recolor the knob where it had turned grey-white!
|February 22, 2020 - My antique car club had a tour of Downtown Norfolk and I took Bella for her first official outing. She started up without complaint despite it being 31 degrees outside, and ran beautifully. Overdrive is not cooperating, but that should be a minor fix. She got a lot of waves, honks, and 'thumbs up' from other motorists, and served as a limo for friend Linda Pellerin at the end of the tour. The only complication was trying to find the car again in the enormous parking garage - she was not alone when I went back to get her!|
|February 20, 2020 - The rush of eBay purchases is starting to arrive - some practical and some frivolous. Roughly from left to right are a dated 941 children's Three Little Pigs story set, a 1941 Junior Series folder, 150 1941 pennies, two factory shop manuals for 38/39 (one for work and one to show) as 40/41 just referred back to that one, a 110 DeLuxe brochure, a Junior series (110/120) brochure, Life and Look magazines from 1941, and just visible on the Look magazine, a new decal for the air cleaner.|
|February 15, 2020 - And home! I picked up Bella today after delivering the Studebaker to its new owner, which freed up space in the garage. As an added bonus, the trunk was full of parts he ahs gathered over the years - new water pumps, tune-up parts, a new fuel pump, and many other items. There is also a logbook of fuel and service, plus a real find - the 1941 Packard Facts book, a spiral-bound factory publication used by salesmen. I have also started to get eBay purchases - sales folders and a factory shop manual. A couple of minor repairs today - the clutch pedal pad was coming off and I got it reinstalled, the clock needed a fuse, and the license plate light power wire needed a new connector.|
|February 9, 2020 - It has been a busy week, with me out of town for most of it. The Packard is expected to be brought to the house by this coming weekend, and I got back from a trip to Philadelphia this afternoon in time to paint a rebuilt water pump that will be installed as soon as it arrives. In the meantime, paint, brochures, and other items have started to appear.|
|February 3, 2020 - Despite being the first business day of the month, I was able to walk right up to a DMV window and take care of the title and tags! With that done, I added the Packard to my insurance. So now Bella is legally mine and ready to drive!|
|January 26, 2020 -
Although my garage is full, this was one of those cars I couldn't pass
up: FOR SALE: 1941 Packard 110 Deluxe 1900DE Touring Sedan, A driver
with 80K plus miles that was given a frame-off restoration nearly 20 years ago and
still shows well; for sale at book value. Most recent round trip was from
Chesapeake to Blacksburg this past spring. Owner looking for a good home
with garage to preserve this six cylinder w/ Overdrive, all original Packard
Blue, pristine example of Packard quality.
As a bonus. I've known the Packard for a very long time - the owner is a member of my antique car club, and he takes wonderful care of his cars. I was lucky enough to find out about the ad before anyone else saw it, and decided to take a look. The Packard was even nicer than I had remembered, the 27 year-old off-frame restoration (The work was done 1991-93) still looking very good. It needs some minor cleaning and detailing of the engine bay and dashboard, some touch-up of the steering wheel, and that's about it. The engine is smooth and strong and the car drives great. There is some noise that sounds like the water pump going bad, but a new one is included.
Of course, there is a price to be paid - not including the purchase price. I had to make room in the garage, so the 1951 Studebaker I have owned for 16 has been sold to another friend in the club. Once the Studebaker is moved, I will be bringing the Packard to its new home!
|KNOWN HISTORY - This 1941 Packard 110 Touring Sedan was purchased new from Packard Portland, Inc. at 1333 W. Burnside Avenue, Portland OR (shown at right). From there history jumps to May 14th, 1991, when Mr. Charles H. Wood of Vancouver (1915-2003) contracted with Mr. Kenneth R. Huber (1937-2018) to perform a complete restoration of the car from 1991 to 1993. The Packard, with 54,181 original miles at the time, was completely disassembled, the body removed from the frame, and all components restored to as-new condition. Mr. Huber dealt with the body and chassis, while mechanical work, upholstery, brakes, and other work was sent out to other local businesses. The car was sold about 2004 to Mr. Earl Bellamy of Bainbridge Island WA, who owned the car until October 13, 2009, when it was purchased by a local car club friend Jere Avenson. Jere had a refurbished Packard overdrive unit installed, and also had the dashboard and door panel inserts beautifully re-grained. The car has been lightly used for touring and pleasure driving by all of the previous owners, resulting in a total mileage at time of my purchase of just over 74K original miles.|
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