Barn find? 1927 Packard pulled from historic Philadelphia factory

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Everyone has dreams of unearthing an incredible barn find, but this may have people looking in old factories instead: A 1927 Packard was pulled out of a historic Philadelphia manufacturing plant after being parked for more than 60 years.

The Packard was purchased by Walter Golaski sometime during the 1940s and was only used on short trips between Philadelphia and Connecticut, where his mother lived. His son, John Paul, said he believed his father stopped driving the car in the late 1950s after Walter Golaski’s mother moved to Philadelphia.

Walter Golaski then stored the car at his mother’s until she died in the 1970s. After, it was parked and left in one of Walter Golaski’s factories, which John Paul now owns. His father died in 1996.

“As far as I know, it’s never run in my lifetime,” John Paul Golaski said. “I’ve never heard it turn over.”

When it came time to remove the Packard, John Paul Golaski contacted Matt Murray at Iron Trap Garage, which specializes in vintage vehicles. In a video posted on YouTube, Murray said the car looked to be in pretty good shape, considering it hasn’t been driven since Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office.

Murray said the seats look to be well-preserved — they were protected by  aftermarket seat covers — and some interior features survived, including the ashtrays, courtesy blinds and swinging foot rest. The woodgrain dash appeared to have withstood the test of time and the steering wheel, though cracked, did as well.

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Murray found the original hand crank in the car, but the engine was locked up.

John Paul Golaski said his father always wanted to work on the car.

“It was that, ‘When we have time, we’re going to fix it up,” he said in the video. “My dad was like, ‘You, your brother and sister are going to work on it’.”

Now, the family has a decision to make: The Packard can be left as-is, under go a mechanical restoration or be given a complete restoration. Murray said he thinks the mechanical restoration is the way to go, as it would preserve the car’s history while letting the family use it.

As for the factory where the Packard was found — really, it’s an amalgamation of buildings that date back to the mid-1800s — the Golaskis are selling. But instead of being demolished, the factory will continue as a mixed-use building, but it needs far more work than the Packard.

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Get it running to driveable condition, restore interior, buff and polish and leave patina finish and don’t paint engine or drive train but do remove rust. What a fabulous find! Thanx for sharing video. Hal

  2. That car should be just be mechanically restored and clean the rest of it. It is a wonderful time capsule and restoring it would ruin the history

  3. This would be a nice addition to the Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio. I always love hearing about the great finds that are out there somewhere.

    • Your car deserves to be with me in Lubbock,Texas, regardless of the state that you want the car should be preserved. I can provide a cocoon or I can provide a semi mechanical restoration, meaning only getting the car just able to move under its own power. I would be happy to assist.

  4. Muito legal adoro carros antigos principalmente 0s das décadas de 20 e 30.
    Translation. Very cool I love old cars mainly from the 1920s and 30s.

  5. This whole thing reminds me of when we bought my wife’s 1936 Austin 7 Ruby. The car was put in storage in 1950 a we found it 30 years ago, in the same condition, but it ran. It was fun pulling it out and tracing it’s history.

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