When someone says "Packard," most people don't think of a hot rod. They most likely think of stylish behemoths of the `30s (think Clark Gable lending a helping hand to wife Carole Lombard on Oscar night). But not everyone is on the same page.

Take Wayne Putnam, from Carthage, Missouri, for example. He still owns a Studebaker coupe he bought for $50 in 1966, and continues to tool around Missouri in it. Deep down, Wayne believes cars are fun and a great way to relax.

While at an estate sale in Bixby, Oklahoma, Wayne ran across a five-window '32 Packard, but it wasn't like any he'd seen. Packard, in addition to the opulent sedans built on a wheelbase of 146 inches, did build some coupes on a 136.5-inch wheelbase in 1932--both a three-window (what they called a two/four-person) and five-window (in a five-person layout)--but this was totally different. Upon further examination, this ride was originally a four-door sedan that had been modified in the `50s with a '49 Ford trunk and made into a coupe! The owner (it had been in the family since new) had used it as a hunting car on their ranch, but sold it to Wayne for $6,500 in 2001.

By 2003 Putnam was ready to take the car to its next level and contacted Midwest hot rod builder Rusty Jackson who, oddly enough, had already begun a '30s-era Packard for another customer. That might have also been the impetus for Rusty naming his Carl Junction, Missouri-based shop Odd Rod Creations but, as it turned out, he was the right guy for the job.

It became Rusty's job, using original Packard styling, to come up with a phantom car that looked like one Packard could have made in 1932. He started with some Plymouth quarter panels and then set out to hand-build the rest.

Rusty used the original Packard chassis (which he says looks like one found under a semi truck) and set the car up on a 127-inch wheelbase. The front frame horns were pinched to help facilitate the addition of a Heidts Superide independent suspension. And, before all you Packard owners call Heidts to order yours, Rusty used one for a '34 Chevy and made it fit. He also adapted hydro-boost power brakes and a factory Camaro clutch cylinder to work with the stock brake and clutch pedals.

The steering centers on a Dodge Omni power rack-and-pinion unit coupled with Borgeson stainless steel U-joints and out to an ididit steering column. Jackson also fab'd up a set of motor and trans mounts and used parallel leaf springs from Chassis Engineering out back with a 9-inch Ford (5.13:1) from John's Industries. Also recreated was the fuel tank, which was patterned after the original by Rock Valley, but with baffling and an in-tank fuel pump.

The chassis rolls on a set of Real Rodders 15x5.5-inch wheels up front and 17x8 Halibrand wheels out back, and shod in Firestone Indy rubber (that had the lettering removed by Diamondback Tires) on each corner. Rusty also widened the trans tunnel (which is part of the frame as Packard bodies sit above the frame) so the exhaust from the engine could run alongside the driveshaft.

The motor for the coupe is a `99 LS1, which is internally stock, but dressed up with polished (by Daniel Corle) aluminum heads and water pump, which work with the Griffin aluminum radiator cooled by twin SPAL 11-inch fans. Magnuson built the supercharger, though the polished aluminum intake manifold came from Street & Performance. Comer's Muffler created the exhaust system for the small-block and Rusty added the modified 70-series Flowmaster mufflers after everything was coated by Performance Coatings. A Camaro six-speed trans was then bolted up to the V-8 and, after the aluminum driveshaft from Inland Empire Driveshaft was added, the drivetrain was done.

Extra fabrication work was also needed on the coupe which, besides the extensive remodel done on the rear section of the body, included making a new gas apron, leaning the C-pillars forward, removing the cowl vents and side-mounts, and designing and building a new drip rail. That is in addition to smoothing out the runningboards and replacing all the wooden inner structure with steel. Alongside Rusty during the body fab was Jody Cook, Roger Ward, and Tim Bien. Jody, from Webb City, Missouri, and Tim, from Pomona, Kansas, painted the car with Standox Real Black paint.

The exterior hosts parts from different eras--from the `32 Packard headlights to the swan-shape mirror that came new from SO-CAL Speed Shop. For seating, Wise Guys bucket seats were used and covered in berry-colored leather by White's Auto Restyling (Larry and Dave) of Springfield, Missouri. Rusty also extended the dash before filling it with Classic Instrument gauges (the original Waltham 8-day clock works, too). Jackson also added a beefy Sony stereo system that uses MB Quartz speakers and equipped the car with a Vintage Air A/C system, too. After adding a Juliano's steering wheel, a modified Lokar pedal assembly, and some chrome vents, the ride was ready for its owner.

Wayne Putnam has always liked Packards, and thinks the `32 has a beauty and style unlike any other car, and he's probably right. But what Rusty Jackson and Odd Rods was able to do for Wayne was give him hot rod unlike any other out there, which makes it a very special car, indeed.