1952 packard mayfair front view

The little-changed 1952 Packard Mayfair dropped the 1951 Packard lettering on the hood but added a Packard crest at the top of the grille.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Though the 1951, 1952, 1953 Packard Mayfair wasn't the most successful hardtop in automotive history, it did steadily improve from. Packard's Mayfair production figures for 1953 indicated 5,150 units, the highest volume to date. The improvement probably came about because, without a price hike, Packard managed to make the 1953 Packard Mayfair look more like a senior model.

Bold, chrome finned housings highlighted the taillights on the Packard Mayfair, and a full-length strip of bright metal enlivened the body sides, as did the standard fender skirts. Six choices of nylon, leather, or nylon-and-leather enriched the interior, while options like Easamatic power brakes, power steering, power seat, electric antenna, three-way radio, underseat heater, hydraulic windows, and air conditioning helped make life a little more agreeable.

And for a little more flair, one could order a Packard Mayfair with chrome wire wheels and a "continental" exterior spare carrying either a disc or wire wheel. Finally, one could overdo things entirely by ordering bright metal "venti-ports" for the bodysides -- dummy vents which Packard collectors liken to bottle openers.

Thus, without much effort, the $3,278 base price of a 1953 Packard Mayfair could be run up to nearly $5,000. But however bedecked, the result would still be a Mayfair, not a Coupe de Ville. That remained a problem. Cadillac, it might be noted, pushed out 14,550 Coupe de Villes that year.

1951-1953 packard mayfair instrument panel

Featured inside the 1951-1953 Packard Mayfair was a "Tele-glance" instrument panel.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Packard could not survive at volume one-third that of Cadillac -- certainly not as an independent, probably not even as a cog in a multi-make corporation. Actually, Packard's total 1953 production came to two-thirds that of Cadillac, which was reasonable perhaps, but it fell to a third the following year.

The hardtop Packard Mayfair carried a "Pacific" badge for 1954 and was given another ration of luxury, but fewer than 1,200 left the factory. It wasn't until 1955 and the Four Hundred that Packard finally produced a genuine luxury hardtop.

Check out the specifications of the 1951-1953 Packard Mayfair on the next page.

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