In 1953, Brooks Walker transformed a Packard Cavalier sedan from his California-based business, Walker Research, into one of the most renowned postwar Packards.
Using hydraulic pumps, lines, gears, and the Packard’s left rear tire and continental spare tire, he devised a distinctive system to simplify parking. Unfortunately, his concept didn’t gain traction, leaving Walker’s personal 1953 Packard Cavalier as the sole known example with this patented system.
Even as late as the 1970s, Walker continued to develop a parallel-parking system for cars, with his last known effort involving a Saab sedan. During that time, he owned several 1950s cars equipped with variations of his self-parking device, including an early-1950s Ford station wagon, a 1957 Oldsmobile station wagon, and a 1951 Cadillac Series Sixty Special. Each car underwent modifications to hide a tire beneath it for parking, such as cutting out parts of the car’s underside and extending rear fenders for the gas tank.
What distinguished the Packard Cavalier was its use of the continental kit’s tire to move the car sideways. This innovation brought Walker closer to his goal of creating a bolt-on self-parking kit applicable to any car without altering its basic structure.
Since Walker sold the unique Packard in the 1980s, it changed hands only twice. It was discovered in a barn by a friend of Willie Mehn of Berlin, Wisconsin, who convinced Mehn and his grandson, Michael Mehn, to purchase it together.
The Packard, having remained in Walker’s California collection, was remarkably well-preserved. While it needed a new coat of light blue paint due to chipping, all chrome and stainless trim were carefully restored. The weatherstripping, in excellent condition, was reinstalled after the fresh paint job.
Mechanically, the car was in good shape except for the hydraulic components of the self-parking system. The Mehn duo meticulously rebuilt the hydraulic pumps, installed new belts and hoses, ensuring the system’s functionality for years to come.
Today, the Packard’s unique hydraulic self-parking setup allows the car to execute circular movements, just as Walker originally intended.