Monday, January 17, 2011


Clipped, originally uploaded by William 74.

Originally an upper level model in the Packard range, by the early 50's the Clipper was more of a mid-priced model in the company's model hierarchy. Packard president James J. Nance felt the Clipper range (and the 200 series that preceded it) diluted the company's image of building high-class luxury cars, and set about divorcing the range from the rest of the company's models. The Clipper range was to be a nameplate unto itself, free to fight the likes of Oldsmobile, DeSoto, and Mercury without tarnishing Packard's image.

It was not to be-Packard dealers balked at the idea of losing their best selling cars, so the Clipper was introduced as a Packard in 1953, before being given a makeover in 1955 that produced the model's characteristic hooded headlights and some excellent two tone paint jobs. The '55s also finally received new suspension and a horsepower hike in the form of a new V-8 engine. In all, it was a pretty nice package that didn't hurt Packard's image at all.

The '55 and '56 Clippers were also the last ones to be built at Packard's famous plant on East Grand Avenue in Detroit. Packard had merged with Studebaker a couple of years previously, and for 1957 Packards would be Studes with some styling differences, and would be built in South Bend, Indiana.

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