The car is a top-of-the-line Patrician 400 4 door sedan.
Packard advertised it as the world’s most luxurious car.
It was purchased new in December of 1951 by Mr. Meyer E. Ponteprino of Anaheim California. He was a well-to-do avocado farmer born in Sept. of 1916, and passing away in Sept. of 1997. He was the son of Italian immigrants and a World War II veteran.
He was approached by the Country to sell some of his farmland for the building of a new highway, which he agreed to, doing very well in the deal.
To treat the family he traded in his 1942 Packard for this brand new Patrician 400.
It was purchased from Les Thompsons Packard dealership in Fullerton California. We have a “thank you” letter from Earle C. Anthony Inc. of Los Angeles, who was the Packard distributor for the west coast.
This top line model is equipped with an Ultramatic automatic transmission and features a 327 cu.in. 155 hp straight eight
engine. Also standard was Packard’s Easamatic power brakes.
It also has a pushbutton radio and power antenna.
Total production of this model was 3795 units.
Meyer put a few miles on the car before he and his family took it with them to Church one Sunday. When he came back to the car he found the power antenna had been broken off his beloved new Packard.
He was so horrified that someone would do this, especially while they were in church, that he drove it home and he put it up on blocks. The antenna was replaced, and he would start and clean the car regularly, but there it sat in his garage till he passed away in 1997. His wife still kept the car.
Amazingly the Packard still has its original General "Whiteway" tires with the spare untouched in the trunk, along with the jack still in its shipping box.
The car’s interior is absolutely like new. The chrome and stainless have held up very well, the black paint has a luxurious deep shine. The engine and undercarriage have some patina, which Judges in a preservation class show very much appreciate.
It still has attached its original black California plates and we have the war amps key tag for them. Meyer even kept registering the plates with the replacement tags till 1964 even though it sitting up on blocks.
I have for provenance, its original registration, the letter from Earl C. Anthony distributorship, a follow up survey letter from Packard, original owners manual in its envelope, the radio manual, an ad about those very special multi stripe General tires, the original stamped brochure he was handed etc.
Mrs. Ponteprino passed away on Dec. 31/97. The family kept the car until 2016.
The car was purchased by a large car collector in Montana who specialized in Packards. There was actually a film made of them taking the car out of the garage where it had been sitting for 64 years. He passed away and the family consigned his large collection to Laferriere classic cars in Rhode Island to look after selling them on consignment.
I saw one of his cars advertised and phoned him. In the conversation he mentioned this 52 Packard. I hired an old car appraiser who lived nearby to go inspect the car for me. I made an offer on the car which in a couple of days was accepted by the family and it became my car on Feb. 24/21
I had the car shipped to my door. It arrived with 1317 miles on it but I just had to drive it around the block, so it now has 1318 miles on the odometer. I have started it a few times and it shows no leaks underneath which is quite amazing.
The car has a gold tint to the grille. It was sprayed on by Packard to help protect the chrome. It is most likely the only Packard, or any other old car in existence, to still have this. I remember spraying chrome protector on customers cars at my father’s garage in the fall to help save the chrome from corrosion and in the spring they would bring the car back in and I would use steel wool to clean it back off.
In the USA this was called “Defense Chrome”. Because of the Korean War, a lot of stainless steel was used for auto trim instead of chrome as chrome was needed in the war effort. This is very true on this Packard as there is a large abundance of stainless steel trim on it. This was also true during WWII. At my father’s garage many new cars were delivered with no bumpers - just a wooden planked firmly attached. After the war people would bring in their cars and we installed the new factory bumpers that had now been shipped to our garage.
Hope you enjoy this story. I will try to shorten them up in the future but when you have a 71 year old car that has been driven an average of 27 miles per year- well, you just have to talk about it!