1951 Packard Henney 'Nu-3-Way' Hearse
Chassis no. 24132277
Engine no. U411733
Packard Thunderbolt, L-head eight cylinder in line, 327ci
180bhp at 4,000 rpm
Automatic, 'Selective-silent' synchronized
Front suspension by coil springs, rear by semi elliptic leaf springs
Four wheel drum brakes
Packard and Henney
Packard was the most prolific of America's prestige manufacturers, with Peerless and Pierce-Arrow comprising the "Three Ps" of upper crust automobiles. Of the three, only Packard emerged from the Depression, largely on the strength of a line of medium-priced cars introduced in 1935. Dramatic new "Clipper" styling in 1941 bolstered Packard sales, such that the more traditional "Senior" series were dropped after World War II. By 1950 Packard slipped behind rival Cadillac in sales. New president James Nance had a strategy for success, the seeds of which were sown soon after his arrival in 1952. Nance's plan was to distinguish the entry-level series from the larger Packards, both visually and in prestige.
Re-introducing the Clipper name, he applied it to the least expensive Packards, although his desire for a separate marque name was never fully implemented. Clippers had simple trim, smaller engines and fewer amenities, while the uppermost Patrician series featured longer wheelbases, more elegant trim and a line of executive sedans by professional car builder Henney Motor Company. Alongside these, Henney were also known for their work in designing commercial and professional vehicles including ambulances and hearses.
The Motorcar Offered
This is an example of the 'Nu-3-Way' side-servicing Henney Packard Hearse, a vehicle which the company would proudly proclaim as being 'For those that want the finest'. We leave you to learn from their marketing materials which described their product as: 'yesterday's traditions of HENNEY craftsmanship are joined by tomorrow's preview of advanced engineering to bring you this most distinguished and conveniently appointed funeral car. It combines a degree of individuality and serviceability not found on any other funeral vehicle.'
Residing in Lynchburg, Virginia for many years, where we believe that the car would have been in service, the Henney is reported by its owner to be in generally sound condition, equipped with original hydraulics to control seat and window movement and in running order.