how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

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Johnpaul215
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how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Johnpaul215 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:00 am

How hard (and expensive) is it to get replacement keys made?
It's a long story, but i will now have the opportunity to start working on what was my Dad's 1927 Packard sedan. I haven't ever been able to find his keys, and I'm in the process of sorting through his thousands of keys from years of owning a machine shop, old cars etc etc.
Basically i am wondering if i should keep looking, or should i save time and get a replacement? I sat in the car yesterday with bags of keys listening to a podcast while trying them.

It's going to be a long process to get this car on the road again, and the doors are unlocked, so i don't need keys tomorrow. it hasn't run in my lifetime (i'm 44). it was squirreled away in storage at his old machine shop, and we are finally moving it, which means i can get into it and see what's what (I'm obviously excited). I've basically been wanting to work on this as long as i can remember, so I want to proceed the right way, not the impatient way. I have plenty of other projects if i just feel a need to turn some wrenches

Am i correct that the ignition and door key would be the same? there is a door lock on the passenger side

Dave Czirr
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Re: how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Dave Czirr » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:24 am

Perhaps your best bet is to first continue trying the keys you have on hand, Packard used a relatively small number of different keys and repeated them for years. Next option would be to remove the ignition key lock and either disassemble it and rework the tumblers for a substitute key, or take the lock to a locksmith and have him do the same. I don't think you can assume the door and ignition keys are the same, as of a couple of years later they certainly were not.

If you initially are just interested in turning on the ignition so you can prepare the car for staring, then you might try "picking" the lock. I've got a very basic lock pick kit, Southord, kit PXS-05, which I've used successfully on automotive locks a few times, and with some practice you should be able to do likewise.

Richard Kirkman
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Re: how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Richard Kirkman » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:30 pm

Just a couple of observations here: 1.Your ignition switch and coil were built as a unit,which may complicate the matter of dismantling it. I urge you to proceed very cautiously. 2. The switch housing was made of pot metal, and few if any have survived in usable condition. I hope yours is one of the few. I've been told that reproductions are available, but I can't verify that.

Dave Czirr
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Re: how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Dave Czirr » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:06 am

Excellent points by Richard - yes - be gentle!

Another thought; for some years up thru the middle 1930s Packard stamped the number of the keys on the reverse of the patent or vehicle number plate. You might remove the plate and see if you can find the key numbers. If so, a good locksmith should be able to make them. You also might consider speaking with Jesser Lock & Key who specializes in antique car locks and keys.

http://jessersclassickeys.com

Johnpaul215
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Re: how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Johnpaul215 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:31 am

Dave Czirr wrote:Excellent points by Richard - yes - be gentle!

Another thought; for some years up thru the middle 1930s Packard stamped the number of the keys on the reverse of the patent or vehicle number plate. You might remove the plate and see if you can find the key numbers. If so, a good locksmith should be able to make them. You also might consider speaking with Jesser Lock & Key who specializes in antique car locks and keys.

http://jessersclassickeys.com
oh! I will keep digging, and i will check behind that plate. do you mean the plate on the firewall with the car number etc?
thanks! I will check that today or tomorrow!

Johnpaul215
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Re: how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Johnpaul215 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:38 am

Richard Kirkman wrote:Just a couple of observations here: 1.Your ignition switch and coil were built as a unit,which may complicate the matter of dismantling it. I urge you to proceed very cautiously. 2. The switch housing was made of pot metal, and few if any have survived in usable condition. I hope yours is one of the few. I've been told that reproductions are available, but I can't verify that.
ah ok, i will be careful. the ignition seems to be in ok shape, but it hasn't been used in a while. i've never seen the key that ic an remember, but my dad had a few machine shops over the years and a billion keys. still digging.
the car was last inspected in 1954. I know they kept registering it for a while (I still have the old annual plates in the envelopes from the DMV). I believe it was parked in my grandmother's garage for a while? There was an issue (maybe brakes?) that were a problem and my Dad stopped driving it, but stored it to work on it later. This was around the demise of Packard and he was swamped with his business, so it sat. Eventually when we were kids, we were all going to work on it together, and that never happened. Now I'm looking to take this on. I have a guy int he area with a lot of antique car knowledge (he owns a few) that's going to help me move it while we really give it a good looking over and come up with a plan. The paint looks pretty good, but mechanically it's a mystery. I'm pretty excited to have it back on the road some day.

my understanding is that in 1927 they switched from "Packard" keys to Briggs and Stratton ones? I'm trying ones that look approximate. A lot of the old keys have old paper tags, but I've never seen a Packard one, which is odd.

Dave Czirr
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Re: how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Dave Czirr » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:19 am

Though Briggs and Stratton locks and keys, the keys were marked Packard Motor Car Company, as the attached. These keys, in the P1251-P1500 range, were used 1935 thru 1956. A Briggs & Stratton replacement key would have BASCO and the key number, also as pictured.
Attachments
Keys.jpg
P 1251 key.jpg

Adam
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Re: how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Adam » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:57 am

These people are very helpful for keys and have done several different ones for me. Very rapid turnaround.

https://wwv.replacementkeys.co.uk/vehicle/classic-car/

I am quite surprised that you have an key operated ignition switch. My 1928 car has a knob, not a lock, located behind the steering wheel. You will have spotted that the ignition switch is on the end of the ignition coil, which is located under the dash. On my 1928 533, I believe that the coil must have failed at some stage (at least 50 years ago) as a new coil is mounted to the bulkhead inside the car and a separate on/off switch is fitted under the dash just under the speedo. It is a simple switch, not a key barrel, but it works.

I say all this because you might consider two things, firstly the original coil may be no longer working, and secondly, you may be forced to fit an alternative ignition switch in any case. It might be worth getting the engine running using a temporary switch/coil/ low tension circuit and see what you have before going to great lengths to find a key for a unit that is faulty.

Just a thought.....
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pic 1.JPG
pic 5.JPG
"Do not underestimate the English cousin.....they are not as stupid as they look!" - Signor Altabani in The Italian Job.

Johnpaul215
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Re: how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Johnpaul215 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:26 pm

Interesting. Ours has a key in that same spot behind the steering wheel.
I removed the vehicle ID number plate and there’s a sticker on the firewall I can’t read. Nothing stamped on the plate. I’ll keep searching for a key.

Johnpaul215
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:46 pm

Re: how hard is it to get keys for a 1927?

Post by Johnpaul215 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:29 pm

Good point about testing before worrying too much. I’m moving the car to a spot with better light and it’ll be easier to work on, and go over.

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