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1953 Packard Cavalier Takes First Drive and Cleaning in 26 Years, It's a Time Capsule

One of the most innovative U.S. carmakers before WW2, Packard disappeared from the market in 1958, only five years after it purchased Studebaker. Come 2022, and Packard is a largely forgotten marque, but many of its cars are still around to keep the flame alive. This 1953 Cavalier is one of them.
1953 Packard Cavalier 6 photos
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Like many Packards that have survived to this day, this Cavalier spent a few good years in storage. But while some were forgotten for decades in junkyards, this one had a bit more luck and was driven until the 1990s. Parked in a barn in 1996, it was saved by YouTube's "Ol2Stroker" in late 2021. A few months later and the Cavalier was resurrected and took its first drive in a whopping 26 years.

While there's no shortage of "will it run and drive?" videos covering abandoned classic cars nowadays, this one is a bit special. Because this Packard is an all-original, unmolested vehicle. And while some of them still have rust issues, this one doesn't.

Sure, there is some surface corrosion here and there and the paint shows blisters all over the place, but there are no rust holes to talk about. And that's as impressive as it gets given that this four-door is almost 70 years old and spent more than a third of its life in a barn.

And once it's cleaned and polished, the green paint still shines on most body panels. Ignore the rough front upper fenders and the blistering on the hood and trunk, and you can picture how gorgeous this Packard was when it left the factory back in 1953.

On top of that, the interior appears to be in fantastic condition too. Sure, it needs proper cleaning and some surfaces have notable wear and tear, but it's still a very nice place to be in after so many decades. Needless to say, whoever owned this Packard took really good care of it before it was put into storage.

As for what's under the hood, the 327-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) inline-eight engine was also in solid condition. Yes, it needed new parts and a bit of work, but it eventually agreed to fire up and take the stylish sedan for a drive around the neighborhood. A great day for forgotten American cars.

Introduced in 1953 as a replacement for the Packard 300, the Cavalier remained in production for only two years. Sold alongside nameplates like the Caribbean, Mayfair, and Clipper, the Cavalier was only offered with the 5.4-liter straight-eight. The mill was rated at 180 horsepower in 1953 and 185 horses in 1954.

While it's not the most desirable Packard, the Cavalier is a unique car among mainstream vehicles from the 1950s and, in this case, also a really cool time capsule. Check it out in the video below.

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