Knowing the tricks of the trade can make the difference between a well-kept car and a genuine concours winner. With less than 1000 miles of use per year, this Pacific is definitely well preserved. But over the years, the paint had lost its luster, needing more than polish and wax. Owner Tom Taylor was happy to find a restorative solution.
“These cars were originally painted in lacquer,” said Tom. “[Restoration specialist] Dave McCready wanted to see the car, so I took it out to him and he thought the paint did not look quite right. Dave said, ‘This paint will buff up’ and I said, ‘Can you do that?’ What we ended up doing was wet sanding it back to another layer of paint. It had some chips so we touched them up and now it’s just like new.”
With a bit more cleanup and some minor mechanical work, the Pacific then won a trophy for “Best Original” at the Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance in 2005.
When Tom found this car he was actually looking for a 1953 Packard Mayfair.
“I had finished restoring my 1953 Packard 300 convertible and wasn’t really looking for a car. But I was thinking a ’53 Mayfair two-door hardtop, a kind of matching car to the convertible, would really be neat! Then along came one of the National Packard magazines with an ad for this ’54 Pacific. It was in Michigan and the seller said it was in really nice condition.
“It was originally sold in Ohio and the first owner was very well off; he only used it to go to the country club a few times in the summer. He had it 30 years and put 32,000 miles on it. The second owner had it for 20 years and put just over 7,000 miles on it, so it had 39,425 miles when I bought it as its the third owner!”
Although it’s not the car he planned to buy, Tom is happy he ended up with a 1954 Pacific.
“It is the equivalent of a Mayfair; they just changed the name to Pacific,” said Tom. “This is the only year that Packard made a car called the Pacific and it is even rarer than my 300 convertible. They made 1518 of the convertibles in ’53 and only 1189 Pacifics.”
So far, the Pacific has required very little mechanical work.
“All three of my Packards have hydraulic windows. This one developed a leak in the hose on the driver’s door and I had to replace the hose. I was talking with the folks at Hydro-E-Lectric, in Punta Gorda, Florida, who rebuild the hydraulic cylinders; they recommended I switch from brake fluid to automatic transmission fluid. They said it’s okay to just remove and replace the fluid on ‘53 and newer cars. ’52 and older need to have the hoses replaced because they’re made of something different.
“The only other work that I’ve done is to repair the speedometer. It was getting old and dry and no matter how fast you went, it wouldn’t register more than 30 miles per hour. I took it to the instrument repair shop and they fixed it. While I had the dash out, I decided to also do the clock but I haven’t gotten it back yet. The radio works and so does the electric antenna. It’s an AM radio, so it works but there’s nothing to listen to!”
It’s always tempting to upgrade a show car, even one as original as this Pacific.
“I would have installed Packard wire wheels on this car, as I have on my convertible, but these are the original wire accessory hubcaps. I’ve only seen one other set of these so I just left them.
Too often collectors are at least somewhat disappointed with the cars they buy, but not in this case.
“I’m very happy with it. I think this is my favorite of the three Packards, just because of its originality and its color is really interesting because it’s so representative of the ‘50’s.”