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  • Last Detroit-Built Packard

    Awhile back, someone here on our SDC Forum asked about the last Detroit-Built Packard. Those of us who are also members of Packard Automobile Classics are now receiving our Winter 2006 copies of The Packard Cormorant, that club's slick quarterly. []

    That issue is devoted to 1956 Packards and the admitted end of real Packards. The photo of the last Detroit-built Packard I referenced here in the earlier thread again appears in this Cormorant. The car was a 1956 Patrician (all 1956 Patricians were 4-door sedans) and was Serial Number 5682-4775. It was built Monday, June 25, 1956.

    That Patrician was the last of 28,835 1956 Packards built in Detroit: 10,353 Senior Packards and 18,482 Packard Clippers. As a franchised Packard dealer in 1956, although small, my father made a tiny contribution to the total by selling three of those Clippers! [^]

    We all know Studebaker (and Packard!) would build just about anything [}] a customer wanted if necessary to sell a car. Accordingly, one of the 1956 Packards highlighted in this Cormorant is a real curiosity: a 1956 Packard Executive 2-door hardtop that is a documented 6,229-mile car in beautiful condition. Not only that, but it was apparently built with the Caribbean dual-quad engine, factory stick overdrive on the column, and a 2.87:1 rear axle! Geeze; that thing must have one helluva top speed! [][]

    Those of you with some Packard knowledge know the Executive series to be the mid-year model introduced to bridge the price gap between Senior Packards and Clippers. Fittingly, the Executive had the Senior Series "doghouse" and the Clipper-series "tail."

    That meant Executives had those attractive 1956 Clipper tail lights that have caused the demise of too many '56 Clippers through the years, when customizers rob those assemblies for custom cars of all makes. Studebaker stylists liked those tail lights so much[], of course, that they fabricated rear quarter panel treatments for the 1957 and 1958 Studebaker-based Packards so those 1956 Clipper tail light assemblies could be used through 1958!

    The article writers took a stab at analyzing how many 1956 Packards of various models survive in good or better condition by culling records of Packard Club members. Of course there are limitaions to this, but they projected a survival rate as high as 37% for Caribbean Convertibles (102 of 276 produced) to a low of 0.4% (22 of 5,715 produced) for 1956 Clipper DeLuxe sedans, the real cheapies...and one of which was the last new Packard my Dad ever sold; I distinctly remember that Clipper DeLuxe! Our (Dad's and mine) 1956 Clipper Super Hardtop seems to be one of 28 surviving cars of 3,999 built, for a percentage of 0.7. Man, that's slim! [:0] BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

  • #2
    Bob, a question for you. Back in about 1956-1957 when I was 11 or 12, I remember a family in our neighbourhood having a pale green 55 Clipper. Every time I see it in my minds eye though, I see a two door sedan. Did they make one, or is my mind playing tricks? It was a very plain car.

    Terry

    Comment


    • #3
      Bob, a question for you. Back in about 1956-1957 when I was 11 or 12, I remember a family in our neighbourhood having a pale green 55 Clipper. Every time I see it in my minds eye though, I see a two door sedan. Did they make one, or is my mind playing tricks? It was a very plain car.

      Terry

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Bob. Ya know what's TRULY amazing is that I can't think of a PackardBaker variant that's had as BAD a survival rate is the last two you mention!!![xx(]
        I KNOW that at least 10% of the 159 1958 Packard station wagons built have survived[:0]! And there's PLENTY of the other PackardBaker models extant - 57 & 58! There's even a 100%survival rate for Packard Predictors! Maybe Panthers too![:I] Oh.... Fair to mention that appearantly - NO '65 Packard V12s have escaped the shredder.[V]

        Miscreant adrift in
        the BerStuda Triangle


        1957 Transtar 1/2ton
        1960 Larkvertible V8
        1958 Provincial wagon
        1953 Commander coupe

        No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Bob. Ya know what's TRULY amazing is that I can't think of a PackardBaker variant that's had as BAD a survival rate is the last two you mention!!![xx(]
          I KNOW that at least 10% of the 159 1958 Packard station wagons built have survived[:0]! And there's PLENTY of the other PackardBaker models extant - 57 & 58! There's even a 100%survival rate for Packard Predictors! Maybe Panthers too![:I] Oh.... Fair to mention that appearantly - NO '65 Packard V12s have escaped the shredder.[V]

          Miscreant adrift in
          the BerStuda Triangle


          1957 Transtar 1/2ton
          1960 Larkvertible V8
          1958 Provincial wagon
          1953 Commander coupe

          No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

          Comment


          • #6
            quote:Originally posted by dictator27

            Bob, a question for you. Back in about 1956-1957 when I was 11 or 12, I remember a family in our neighbourhood having a pale green 55 Clipper. Every time I see it in my minds eye though, I see a two door sedan. Did they make one, or is my mind playing tricks? It was a very plain car.

            Terry
            No, Terry; there were no 2-door sedans (solid "B" pillar) marketed after 1954.

            Are you sure it was a 1955 (V-8) Clipper you were looking at?

            If so, there were two 1955 Clipper 2-door hardtops available: The Clipper Custom Constellation (more expensive) and the Clipper Super Panama (lower-priced of the two). A script at the top of each quarter panel said either Constellation or Panama in 1955, but there was no such external identification in 1956.

            Too, the deck lid would say either Custom or Super, as appropriate, in 1955. But, again, those were genuine 2-door hardtops; not "post" 2-doors as the current generation calls them when they have a fixed "B" pillar.

            If you have older pictures and it is hard to see the script, an easy way to tell a Custom from a Super (either 1955 or 1956) is that Customs have full-length, stainless-steel rocker panel moldings, whereas Supers have no rocker panel moldings. You can usually see that difference in even a poor photograph.

            Cheers. BP
            We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

            Ayn Rand:
            "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

            G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:Originally posted by dictator27

              Bob, a question for you. Back in about 1956-1957 when I was 11 or 12, I remember a family in our neighbourhood having a pale green 55 Clipper. Every time I see it in my minds eye though, I see a two door sedan. Did they make one, or is my mind playing tricks? It was a very plain car.

              Terry
              No, Terry; there were no 2-door sedans (solid "B" pillar) marketed after 1954.

              Are you sure it was a 1955 (V-8) Clipper you were looking at?

              If so, there were two 1955 Clipper 2-door hardtops available: The Clipper Custom Constellation (more expensive) and the Clipper Super Panama (lower-priced of the two). A script at the top of each quarter panel said either Constellation or Panama in 1955, but there was no such external identification in 1956.

              Too, the deck lid would say either Custom or Super, as appropriate, in 1955. But, again, those were genuine 2-door hardtops; not "post" 2-doors as the current generation calls them when they have a fixed "B" pillar.

              If you have older pictures and it is hard to see the script, an easy way to tell a Custom from a Super (either 1955 or 1956) is that Customs have full-length, stainless-steel rocker panel moldings, whereas Supers have no rocker panel moldings. You can usually see that difference in even a poor photograph.

              Cheers. BP
              We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

              Ayn Rand:
              "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

              G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

              Comment


              • #8

                No, Terry; there were no 2-door sedans (solid "B" pillar) marketed after 1954.


                I know of at least two '54 Parkard two door sedans around here.

                I guess it must be an "over 40" thing when those who remember that particular body style was 'lowest of the low' for dollar, and one was considered 'cheap' for not buying the hardtop version. GM back around 1973 introduced their 'colannade hardops' with the fixed 'B' pillar and rear windows that didn't roll down in the 'A' body, and the 'Landau' in the full size line in response to roll-over protection legislation that never happened. Since that time, perceptions of the 2 door post body style have changed completely. The only consistent manufacturer of genuine 2 door hardtops is Mercedes Benz, and I don't think there's a non-convertible 2 door on the market with rear windows that roll down

                Here's one for ya, Bob! How many mid-fifties, or sixties 2 door
                SEDANS of any make have you seen equipped with power windows? I've seen a '55 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan with them, but that's about it.

                Craig.

                Comment


                • #9

                  No, Terry; there were no 2-door sedans (solid "B" pillar) marketed after 1954.


                  I know of at least two '54 Parkard two door sedans around here.

                  I guess it must be an "over 40" thing when those who remember that particular body style was 'lowest of the low' for dollar, and one was considered 'cheap' for not buying the hardtop version. GM back around 1973 introduced their 'colannade hardops' with the fixed 'B' pillar and rear windows that didn't roll down in the 'A' body, and the 'Landau' in the full size line in response to roll-over protection legislation that never happened. Since that time, perceptions of the 2 door post body style have changed completely. The only consistent manufacturer of genuine 2 door hardtops is Mercedes Benz, and I don't think there's a non-convertible 2 door on the market with rear windows that roll down

                  Here's one for ya, Bob! How many mid-fifties, or sixties 2 door
                  SEDANS of any make have you seen equipped with power windows? I've seen a '55 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan with them, but that's about it.

                  Craig.

                  Comment


                  • #10



                    I know of at least two '54 Packard two door sedans around here.

                    Here is the one, owned by Peter Bunn.


                    Craig

                    Comment


                    • #11



                      I know of at least two '54 Packard two door sedans around here.

                      Here is the one, owned by Peter Bunn.


                      Craig

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        quote:Originally posted by 8E45E


                        GM back around 1973 introduced their 'colannade hardops' with the fixed 'B' pillar and rear windows that didn't roll down in the 'A' body, and the 'Landau' in the full size line in response to roll-over protection legislation that never happened. Since that time, perceptions of the 2 door post body style have changed completely. The only consistent manufacturer of genuine 2 door hardtops is Mercedes Benz, and I don't think there's a non-convertible 2 door on the market with rear windows that roll down



                        Craig.
                        I owned a 1973 Chevrolet Laguna. I thought that it was a good looking car for the '70s. I sold it to another Studebaker guy.

                        The 2007 CL-Class M-B is a still a true pillarless hardtop (with a fixed, non-retractable solid roof). I like the looks of that model, but they are out of my price range.

                        Gary L.
                        Wappinger, NY

                        1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)
                        Gary L.
                        Wappinger, NY

                        SDC member since 1968
                        Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          quote:Originally posted by 8E45E


                          GM back around 1973 introduced their 'colannade hardops' with the fixed 'B' pillar and rear windows that didn't roll down in the 'A' body, and the 'Landau' in the full size line in response to roll-over protection legislation that never happened. Since that time, perceptions of the 2 door post body style have changed completely. The only consistent manufacturer of genuine 2 door hardtops is Mercedes Benz, and I don't think there's a non-convertible 2 door on the market with rear windows that roll down



                          Craig.
                          I owned a 1973 Chevrolet Laguna. I thought that it was a good looking car for the '70s. I sold it to another Studebaker guy.

                          The 2007 CL-Class M-B is a still a true pillarless hardtop (with a fixed, non-retractable solid roof). I like the looks of that model, but they are out of my price range.

                          Gary L.
                          Wappinger, NY

                          1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)
                          Gary L.
                          Wappinger, NY

                          SDC member since 1968
                          Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            quote:Originally posted by 8E45E




                            I know of at least two '54 Packard two door sedans around here.

                            Here is the one, owned by Peter Bunn.


                            Craig
                            That's a '53, Craig. The '54 Clippers have the "sore-thumb" tailights that were carried over through 1955. [:0] BP
                            We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                            Ayn Rand:
                            "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                            G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              quote:Originally posted by 8E45E




                              I know of at least two '54 Packard two door sedans around here.

                              Here is the one, owned by Peter Bunn.


                              Craig
                              That's a '53, Craig. The '54 Clippers have the "sore-thumb" tailights that were carried over through 1955. [:0] BP
                              We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                              Ayn Rand:
                              "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                              G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                              Comment

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