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View Full Version : Golly, I like 1955 & 1956 Packard V8s, but....



BobPalma
03-29-2013, 09:54 PM
...I'm afraid there are times when you have to consider letting them go to provide parts for more solid cars. :(

Seen Friday, March 29, in Putnamville IN along U.S. 40:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/DSCF4383_zps17863e72.jpg

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/DSCF4386_zps6f33bfe8.jpg

Sadly, we probably know the function of the strap from door handle to door handle across and through the car :eek::

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/DSCF4384_zpsa7d0f54d.jpg

Finally, the big question: Could it possibly have a PALMA IN PARIS oval on the deck lid? :D This isn't all that far from Paris IL, our destination for some Good Friday R&R, and Dad did sell two of these. But, alas, no oval or remnants of same :(:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/DSCF4385_zpsa0bb1873.jpg

The car is a 1955 Packard Clipper Super Hardtop, known as a Panama. The lowest-priced Clipper DeLuxe series and the middle-priced Clipper Super series like this one, had conventional suspension (coil springs front, leaf rear) standard equipment.

The revolutionary Torsion-Level suspension was standard equipment on the highest-line Clipper Custom series, and on all "Senior" Packards; Patrician Sedan, 400 Hardtop, and Carribean convertible. In 1955, Torsion-Level Suspension was a $150 option on Clipper DeLuxes and Clipper Supers, and many Supers got it.

This wasn't one of them, though; I was surprised to peer underneath it and see conventional coil springs up front. :ohmy: BP

avantilover
03-29-2013, 09:58 PM
This one seems too far gone BP, but for a Packard person maybe buy it and save useful parts before recycling the rest, not easy to find these parts (I imagine).

SN-60
03-30-2013, 12:51 AM
And, as with the conventional suspension that You pointed out, a model like this one would 'have a shot' at being equipped with stick O/D. I know very few went 'out the door' that way.....but when a Clipper like this one comes up for sale, that's the first thing I look for! (Dollars to Donuts this car has an Ultra!)

Don Jeffers
03-30-2013, 03:38 AM
And, as with the conventional suspension that You pointed out, a model like this one would 'have a shot' at being equipped with stick O/D. I know very few went 'out the door' that way.....but when a Clipper like this one comes up for sale, that's the first thing I look for! (Dollars to Donuts this car has an Ultra!)

Dollars to Donuts has become a losing bet in many places today!

Donuts are more than a dollar each now at Krispy Kreme.

A sad commentary on the economy.

BobPalma
03-30-2013, 06:47 AM
Doughnut prices or the relative value of a dollar notwithstanding, this '55 had Ultramatic.

Right-O on the stick/OD possibility with conventional suspension, Ed; :!: there was a much higher probability of stick/OD when equipped with conventional suspension, although not mandatory. :) BP

Bill Pressler
03-30-2013, 06:49 AM
I look at a car like that and think, 'boy, if it could talk'! One reason I love that the SNM has original owner documentation for late-late model Studes.

Bob, how many other Packard dealers were within, say, a thirty-mile radius of Paris besides your Dad? Probably Terre Haute for one, I'm sure.

JRoberts
03-30-2013, 07:07 AM
And, as with the conventional suspension that You pointed out, a model like this one would 'have a shot' at being equipped with stick O/D. I know very few went 'out the door' that way.....but when a Clipper like this one comes up for sale, that's the first thing I look for! (Dollars to Donuts this car has an Ultra!)

A former member of our chapter had (has?) a two toned blue Packard like this. It was a gorgeous car. His had the 3spd with Overdrive. He had another unrestored car that was complete exaclty like it including the transmission. I lusted after that car I think mainly because of the idea of having a beautiful Packard with that transmission.

BobPalma
03-30-2013, 07:32 AM
Bob, how many other Packard dealers were within, say, a thirty-mile radius of Paris besides your Dad? Probably Terre Haute for one, I'm sure.

A thirty-mile radius would have included Terre Haute IN, as you say, Bill, and Danville IL and Charleston IL, all three of which would have had Packard dealers. Robinson IL might be outside that 30-mile radius and might have had a Packard dealer.

Dad and Uncle Milt's franchise included rights to all of Edgar and Clark Counties IL, Clark being directly south of Edgar, so there were no other Packard dealers in those two counties, per this original agreement with Packard:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/packardagreement1_zps54e7e4d6.jpg

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/packardagreement2_zps48798ad4.jpg

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/packardagreement3_zps78f38a34.jpg


Clark County wouldn't have supported a Packard dealer anyway; it's about the same size as Edgar County, but more sparsely populated. At the time, I'm certain there were Ford and Chevrolet dealers in Marshall IL, in Clark County, and probably one of each in Martinsville and Casey, but they were awfully small.

(Ironically, in pre-2009 "bankruptcy" days, our 2008 Impala was originally shipped to J. & K. Mitchell Inc, the Chevrolet dealer in Casey IL, before being dealer-traded to the Chevrolet dealer in Effingham IL and then, finally, to Blanck Chevrolet in Brownsburg IN so we could buy it! :D I'd be surprised if J. & K. Mitchell survived the "proceedings;" Casey IL is awfully close to the larger town of Effingham and its big market. :() BP

studegary
03-30-2013, 12:08 PM
Dad and Uncle Milt's franchise included rights to all of Edgar and Clark Counties IL, Clark being directly south of Edgar, so there were no other Packard dealers in those two counties, per this original agreement with Packard:


The way that I read the agreement, Palma had a "non-exclusive right". To me, this means that Packard could have sold cars to other dealers in those two counties. It probably would not have benefited either party to do this, but I believe that Packard retained the right.

SN-60
03-30-2013, 12:59 PM
Talk about a stick O/D Packard I'd sure like to own......Has everyone seen that 'special order' '56 Executive (Green/Yellow, green leather interior) that surfaces in car mags occasionally? The car was ordered by someone who knew exactly what He wanted.....The senior trim on the shorter Clipper wheelbase (2dr Ht). Mechanically He VERY special ordered the 374 CI Caribbean engine with the twin Rochester four barrel carbs (310 HP)....Of course, He ordered the stick O/D transmission. The only thing the factory balked on was the rear end ratio that He specified.....something like 2.70 to 1. Packard felt that gear way to high for an overdrive car, but money talks, and they finally relented and built the Executive the way the customer wanted it. The story I read said the original owner never really liked the car, so never drove it much.....which accounts for the pristine condition that it is still in today!

swvalcon
03-30-2013, 01:04 PM
That looks like it came from Mn. Even has my hawk beat for rust.

PackardV8
03-30-2013, 01:17 PM
Has everyone seen that 'special order' '56 Executive (Green/Yellow, green leather interior) that surfaces in car mags occasionally? The car was ordered by someone who knew exactly what He wanted.The car and the original owner may be exactly as described. However, based up experience, it would be very informative to see the factory documentation on that special order car. The writers for the car mags are sometimes not Studebaker-Packard experts and often just put down whatever they're told by the current owner or what they've picked up at meets.

Even Hemmings "Collector Car" has to run monthly section of letters pointing out major and minor errors in their feature stories. It's just what happens because a writer is covering a different make and model every month.

As an example, our local daily paper has a Saturday car section and features a collector car column by a generalist car expert, Greg Zyla. He's run two columns on the '56 Golden Hawk, both filled with mis-information. The expected one is the '56J came with the 374" 2x4bbls.

Can't count the times I've been told, "Didja see that XXXX on Barrett-Jackson. They said it was a YYY with ZZZ." All the major auction houses sometimes advertise cars with mistakes in the description, but they cover themselves by holding the seller responsible for the accuracy.

FWIW, a west coast Packard expert had "the only '56 Caribbean ever built with the three-speed overdrive transmission". After much research, it was determined the transmission was installed by the San Francisco dealership.

Did S-P have the same level of documentation for '55-56 Packard builds as we have for the Studes?

jack vines

BobPalma
03-30-2013, 03:32 PM
The car and the original owner may be exactly as described. However, based up experience, it would be very informative to see the factory documentation on that special order car.

Did S-P have the same level of documentation for '55-56 Packard builds as we have for the Studes?

jack vines

Not quite, Jack. Here's the Production Order for my 1956 (not 1955) Clipper Super hardtop; the document that is available through The Studebaker National Museum for Packards built in the Studebaker-Packard era.

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/56clipperpo_zps1f66312a.jpg

As you see, you must have your Secret Packard Decoder Ring to decode the various 2-letter option codes. But this record is at least better than nothing at all.

My car, per the above Production Order, may be decoded as follows. Reading across the top line:

5647: Year (56) and Model (47) Clipper Super Hardtop

BA: Paint Scheme: Tahitian Jade (Code B) upper and Shannon Green (code A) lower. The car is now Dover White (Code M) upper because I didn't like the original Tahitian Jade upper. As pretty as I think it is, Code MA, as now painted, wasn't originally available!

4095: Last four digits of the Serial Number, indicating the car's sequential build order: It was the 3,095th Clipper Super Hardtop built. (Exactly 3,999 of them were built, beginning with 5647-1001.)

33: I don't know what that means.

GS: Ultramatic Drive

2.87: Rear Axle ratio

HE: Fresh-Air Heater

RPM: Manual Radio with Manual Front Antenna (it now has RPE; Push-Button Radio)

AG: Convenience Group

OB: Oil Bath Air Cleaner

OF: Oil Filter

TL: Torsion Level

DE: Dual Exhaust

As you see, the car was indeed built and shipped with blackwall tires and dog-dish hub caps! :eek: They gave way to whitewall tires and full wheel covers when I "restored" the car in 1992/1993.


The hot-rod stick / overdrive, dual-quad 374 1956 Executive hardtop was in the Packard Club magazines a long time ago, and seems to be authentic. "Never say never," of course. ;) BP

SN-60
03-30-2013, 03:33 PM
To: Packard V8,----Someone mentioned recently (maybe Bob Palma) that production orders are available from the SNM for later Packards (post war?). The catch is that everything is in code, and You need the book with the Packard option codes to know what's-what. That '56 Executive has been written about many times (at length). The car is legit, or someone long ago put together a very good story. Much info on the original owner is given in the last article that I read about it... Describing why He ordered it like that.......I'll try to find the magazine.

hausdok
03-30-2013, 03:39 PM
Hi,

I remember a series of Chop Cut Rebuld shows on the Speed channel years ago where they restored one of the original Dukes of Hazards cars over several episodes. That car had spent twenty years partly buried in a riverbed or some such. It was swiss cheese but they managed to restore it to like new for the SEMA show.

It can be done; it's just a matter of how much money the person who does the restoring has access to.

BobPalma
03-30-2013, 04:04 PM
November 1993: Dad (left) and Uncle Milt with "our" '56 in front of the building with the address cited in the Franchise Agreement in Post #8. You may be able to read the address (141 E. Court St.) just below The ETC Shoppe Mall above the front doors.

I went past this building yesterday (Friday, March 29, 2013) and it is still the Antique Shop, but the building has been covered in the most gawd-awful plastic (or aluminum) light pastel blue siding you can imagine! :eek:

IMHO, of course. ;) BP

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/56clipperparis_zps79c641e3.jpg