1956 400 Coupe owned by Russell & Joanne James
The Prodigal Son and his 1956 Packard 400 Coupe:
The Packard “bug” was first sown in me way back in 1962 when my dad bought a 1950 model. This was the car that I eventually learnt to drive, but the car that really got those juices going was dad’s 1956 Clipper (which I wasn’t allowed to drive).
Ron James (dad) was PACA member number 27 and I was an associate member – that was in 1967. After a long drought…, the Echuca National Rally stirred the “bug”, and meeting some of the earliest club members again was quite surreal. But it was the Toowoomba National Rally that stirred the longing to eventually put another Packard V8 back into the
family,… and this time drive it.
The stirring ended with the purchase in the US of a 1956 400 Coupe in May 2007. The car arrived in August 2007 and after some work was fully registered in Feb. 2008. She does not yet have a name, although dad’s ’56 Clipper was known as Sabrina, but this 400’s beauty extends far
beyond those particular naming qualities. As well as beautiful, clean, pillar-less lines she has
outstanding mechanical features like torsion level suspension, power windows, power seat, power steering, push button shift to a 3 speed automatic behind the biggest V8 for all 1956 cars. No wonder the Packard advertisers claimed the ’56 models to be – The Greatest Packard of them All!
These cars are really quite rare as only 3,224 were produced,none came to Australia from new and presently it is the only one of its type on the road in Australia.
Not much is known of the true history of the car as the seller was a little creative with the truth, however I have been able to get in touch with one previous owner in Arizona. There was no record of it logged on any of the roster keeper records with the US P.A.C. until now, so it is good that another one is back in the books (and in Australia). Perhaps I have some bias that has existed since family holidays, weekend drives and rallies in a 1956 Packard some 40 years ago. So it is quite a delight to hear positive comments across all generations and ages; the most common is – what a beautiful car! Glad to be able to bring her beauty to the Southern Highlands national Rally.