Going Out In Style: Malaise Packard Hearse

Leaving the 2008 Orphan Car Show last weekend, we assumed we had already seen all the cars there were to see. But then, just as we walked out through the front gate, we saw this. Our first thought? Stutz hearse! Err, no, wait a second...

It's not a Stutz, but another great American marque resurrected during the Malaise era: Packard. OK, so it's not really a Packard. Underneath it's just an '85 Buick Riviera that's obviously been stretched...a lot. That white Cadillac Eldorado you see in the background felt like a Civic Coupe next to this thing. Just look at it sitting there; you can actually see the curvature of the Earth relative to it! What's better, this wasn't just a crazed one-off creation: There's a second one that's identical! In fact, there were a bunch of these neo-Packards made, starting back in the late '70s. The guy responsible was a coachbuilder in Ohio named Budd Bayliff, who apparently liked the style of the contemporary Stutz cars but wanted to recreate that look with fewer modifications. Up close, it's blatantly obvioius that much of what made this a "Packard" was a conglomeration of chromed plastic emblems. Nonetheless, if a new Malaise era means we get death wagons like this, we're all for it.

[madle.org]