I ran across this Packard when I was visiting family in Hannibal, Missouri, in April 1993. It was owned by a great ole fellow by the name of Dick ( Pappy ) Vance. Quite the International Harvester truck man. Guess he’s pretty well known in the International circle. Anyway I bought this truck from him in 1993 and hauled it back to Indiana.
When he was buying another International truck for himself, the guy told him he would sell him the truck, but he had to take the Packard with him. So, that’s where it all started. I think he got it sometime in 1990. It had set in this salvage yard since 1957 or 1958. Not sure exactly on that date.
Well, oh Pappy didn’t really want it, but in order to get him the International, he took the Packard too. He eventually put it out front of his shop for sale. That’s where I came into the picture.
I liked the looks of it and when I checked it out, I found this plaque attached to the cowl. On it, it stated “ Built for J.T. Dolan Packard Motor Car Co., St. Louis, Missouri, September 1939. These types of vehicles were special built. The way Pappy told me was, the Packard Dealers were getting tired of having an off brand ( Chevy, Ford, International ) truck for their service trucks. So I guess Packard would Pull a car off the line and send it out to a private firm and have it converted into a service truck, for the Dealers that did a large volume of sales. So that’s where that came into being. As Packard officially stopped making trucks in 1922.
I haven’t been able to find out much more on them then that. I did e-mail a guy in the Packard Club, and he stated about the same thing. Here is his reply.
Dear Sir: Packard dealers used Packard conversions/alterations as service vehicles. While this was not a common practice, several examples have been noted. These service vehicles were usually altered Packard sedans or coupes, with rare cases of modified station wagons noted. These vehicles were almost exclusively individual modification jobs to the dealer specifications and needs. Packard commercial vehicles (hearses, amb, service cars, etc) were virtually exclusively made by Henney on a Packard commercial chassis. A very few of these were used for 'other purposes' and were the funeral service car varient. While Packard did make trucks, they were large heavy duty trucks and Packard discontinued this business after 1922. Serial number information on Packard dealer service vehicles usually can determine the base vehicle from which the service car was made.
At this point I haven’t done any work on it, but have been gathering parts for it over these past years. Hope to get after it sometime in the near future.
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Made contact with a very nice fellow in St. Louis. He knew J.T. Dolan personally and remembers his Dealership and vaguely remembers the truck, but does remember one. He is a treasure trove of information on Packard. He has been a Packard Historian for 20 plus years. Lots of knowledge. I thought I would never run down anything on this truck, but was really pleased when I did. As I gain more information I will start posting it here.