Originally posted by amcramblermarlin
Packard's straight eight was envied by most other auto people at the time for it's large 327 displacement.....
Flat head inline engines were made to keep the vehicle's center of gravity lower, and to reduce the engine height for a lower profile hoodline, all component parts in the historical evolution of US automobile history.....
Do you really think so?
When you look under the hood at a car such as this Packard, you see a foot and a half of clearance between the top of the head and the underside of the hood. The engine is 'right down there!' in all its innocence.
The principle reason for making flathead engines was undoubtedly cost of manufacture. Most things in manufacturing boil down to this. No pushrods, no rockers, no oiling to the cylinder head, so much simpler to contain everything in the block.
Getting to the point, it does seem like the engine in the Packard needs a rebuild... I think this is why the word 'resuscitate' is used in the opening post. That might be an expensive proposition, I guess, and the OP is planning to use the car regularly in everyday traffic (another guess). So I think the idea of going with a more modern inline six of reasonable proportions and putting the original power package in a corner of the garage for posterity is a good idea.
The engine that comes immediately to mind for me is the Hemi 6 that Chrysler Australia built from 1970 to 1980. It came in 215, 245 and 256 cubic inch versions with power among the common varieties ranging from 140hp to 218hp, 200lbs/ft to 273lbs/ft of torque. You can bolt a Torqueflite 727 up to it and it's a simple pushrod engine with all the porting on one side.
An interesting proposition all round. Seeing as there's a Mercury with a 3-litre Nissan (inline or V6?) in the garage already, it's not beyond our OP to look beyond the square.