Under The Hood

Klassic Kenny: A man, a Corvair and a quest for ’55 Packard parts

1955 Packard Parts Hauling in a 1963 Corvair

Retired Old Cars Weekly Research Editor and resident prankster Kenny Buttolph of Iola, Wis., is a man of many stories, most of which revolve around cars. As I comb through his photo file with him, I will share some of his most notable tales here on this blog. Here’s the first in hopefully many stories. Unfortunately, Kenny did not recall the year of this story, but he figured it was the 1970s or possibly even the early 1980s.

“I had a 1955 Packard and the transmission went out. I took it to (a friend’s) place to fix and it just sat. It sat forever. Finally, I got after him to fix the Packard.

“On a Friday morning, my friend called to say the Packard transmission was fixed and I could get it. When I arrived that day to get it, I found it way up in the back. I thought, ‘What did he do now?’ When I got up to the car, I found out his kid had tried to jump another car with the Packard and the Packard’s brakes went out and it hit a cement wall. I thought, ‘I’ll get the parts for it because it was just wrecked in the front.'”

Now, you should know that Kenny is famous among his friends for being able to find rust-free replacement panels for his vehicles that perfectly match their color, saving him the expense of repainting the parts to match. While some people think this is a gift or dumb luck, Kenny said that he simply drove to junkyards until he found the parts he was looking for. Sometimes, that drive took him from Wisconsin all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Regardless of the distance, he always found the parts. The Packard parts search was no different.

Kenny with his loaded-down 1963 Corvair coupe. He, a friend, and loads of parts fit in the car in the drive from Wisconsin to Oregon.

Kenny with his loaded-down 1963 Corvair coupe. He, a friend, and loads of parts fit in the car in the drive from Wisconsin to Oregon. There are four 1955 Packard fenders on the roof of that Corvair.

“John Julius and I decided to go to get parts for the Packard. We drove in my 1963 Corvair coupe and went clear to Oregon before we got the stuff we needed to fix my Packard. We actually found enough parts to fix two 1955 Packards, plus a 1941 Buick and all kinds of stuff. The 1941 Buick grilles were perfect and the Packard fenders were even the right color (red and white), but we looked for the right color. All that stuff was not much money. We were gone for a couple weeks.

“To get the parts home, we loaded them on the roof, in the passenger compartment, in the front and even jammed parts around the engine compartment. We got all that stuff to fit.”

Kenny said that when they returned to Wisconsin with their impressive haul of parts, they decided to take these pictures to illustrate how many of those big car parts fit in that little Corvair coupe.

When you get done looking at how many parts fit in that little Corvair, remember there was also two men and two weeks worth of their gear in there.

All of the parts on the ground fit in the Corvair trunk, passenger compartment and even around the engine (as well as on the roof).

All of the parts on the ground fit in the Corvair trunk, passenger compartment and even around the engine (as well as on the roof). How many parts can you identify?

A close up view of all the parts that fit in the Corvair. Note the primo 1941 Buick grilles, which would be worth a fortune now.

A close-up view of just some of the parts that fit in the Corvair. Note the primo 1941 Buick grilles, which would be worth a small fortune now.

 

....And more parts.

….And more parts.

More parts that were wedged into the Corvair. All of these parts would have fit cars Kenny owned at the time. How many parts can you identify?

More parts that were wedged into the Corvair. All of these parts would have fit cars Kenny owned at the time. How many parts can you identify?

 

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