The Most Comprehensive Free Online Reference for Packard Owners
Become a member of Packard Motor Car Information, right now! (it's free)
Login
Username:

Password:

remember me

Lost Password?

Register now!
FAQ's
Main Menu
Recent Forum Topics
Who's Online
37 user(s) are online (30 user(s) are browsing Packard Forums)

Members: 0
Guests: 37

more...


(1) 2 3 4 ... 72 »


Re: Packard Bikes
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Quote:

b.wilson wrote:
Hello Leeedy

You're a veritable fountain of information on these things. Something that makes this site so interesting.

As the owner of a 1956 Clipper which has proved surprisingly reliable, I have ample time to contemplate these things. I have to admit I'm not a bicycle person - more of a motorcycle/old race car nut - hence my ignorance on these matters.

I'm not surprised that someone in the bicycle world had a tilt at "Torsion Level". Nor am I surprised that the subject bicycle you described did not see production. I have a pretty good idea what it costs to build things with magnesium.

It seems people today will fork out something like $8-10k for a featherweight bicycle made mostly of carbon fibre. Probably cheaper for them to lose the weight themselves! But it seems tyres (tires) aren't getting better at the same rate. When I'm out cruising in my Packard (yes, I know it's officially a Clipper) I still see an awful lot of bicycle riders huddled beside the road wrestling with damaged tyres.

Now, if I can just find someone in these coronavirus-riddled times to tidy up the paintwork on my Clipper I'll be a happy man.

Best wishes

Brian

PS Is there somewhere in the US you can safely stash your collection of material for posterity? There is something like that happening here now for vintage race car material. A far better option than the alternatives. BW


Hello Brian,

I've delayed a bit in responding until I could find some time to do a more appropriate answer to your comment and inquiry. Thanks for the kind compliments.

I've loved Packards AND bicycles (there are those today who think loving cars means you hate bicycles) since I was a kid. Even as a toddler growing up in Detroit, I could identify any Packard or Studebaker (back to the 1940s) rolling the streets and it says so even in my baby book!

I also knew every bicycle I saw. And since it was easier to collect bicycles and literature about them, this is what I started doing in the 1950s. Got my first bicycle catalogue about 1953 at the same time I got my first prestige Packard catalogue. Famous Grand Prix Formula One champ Phil Hill once told me that he started gathering catalogues the same way I did.

RE: being a "bicycle person"... I'm not sure what that is. Even after owning, restoring, riding and collecting several thousand bicycles in my lifetime, I still encounter folks who think they can turn their nose up because they just spent ten grand on a composite-frame something that is lighter than air and has those same skinny little tires that get caught in everything and go "POP!!!" at the slightest opportunity! Or they just got a mountainbike and can ride the top of a wooden fence for 100 feet! Or they ride more than I do (or think they do). I wish I could tally the miles and miles and miles I put on my bicycle in the 1950s and 1960s just doing my paper route and going back & forth to visit relatives in Canada (yes–on a balloon tire "heavyweight" bicycle).

RE: bicycle tires... You are absolutely correct. But when the lightweight bcycles of today are still riding on what are little more than rubber shims–"rim protectors" with high pressure inflation, what can one expect?

RE: where in the U.S. can I stash my collection for posterity?.... Good question. A very good question. One of the problems of being too far ahead of my time is that almost nobody cared about American-made balloon tire streamline bicycles when I started collecting them. I wrote a book on the subject. No publisher would touch it. I tried to hang out with folks who were collecting antique turn-of-century contraptions, but in those days they detested my streamlined balloon tire classics and didn't want them around (yes... a fact–no matter who denies it today). A lot of people laughed at me for collecting such stuff. Why would anyone want something THAT heavy? "Serious collectors" said my stuff "wasn't historically significant." Yes... they actually said this. I went on national TV and radio (even in Canada)... but nobody paid a lot of attention. I started the world's first newsletter on the subject. But there was hardly enough of an audience to support it. I did displays at trade shows and stores and exhibits at museums. I held the very first national classic bicycle show and swap meet. I started and wrote the first news stand magazine series on the subject for Cyclist magazine in the 1980s. I was written up in Bicycling Magazine... and even in FORBES magazine. But people got amnesia. Nobody remembers these things.

Today? We've got "picker shows" making megabux on TV talking about classic bicycles–the very same stuff I was always collecting but people aren't laughing at them for doing it like they did with me. THESE guys are getting PAID! That pawn shop show? When they want info on a classic bicycle, they go to people I never heard of... and who likely never heard of me. And one of the publishers I tried to get to do my book and who turned it down in 1981 saying they only wanted to do CAR books? Well... they waited a decade or so and then today are the biggest publisher of vintage bicycle books! They never called me and never mentioned me in their books. They simply made up their own "expert."

When the money finally started recognizing classic bicycles, everything changed. There was a wild scramble and people went nuts trying to catch up. Or trying to establish some kind of legitimacy. They invented their own "experts" and then went to work. When they had no idea of what they were talking about? They just made up something that sounded good. After all... who would know?

Today I get to listen to folks telling me "how rare" something is, because they heard it on a TV show–or the internet! Like I wouldn't know.

Problem is, a lot of folks realizing they missed the boat could only get in on the action by posing. This meant they had to make up their "histories" and use somebody else's stuff to look legitimate. OR they schlocked parts from different old bicycles together all on one thing and called it "restored"... and even got this stuff in magazines! If I corrected the magazines, they just got mad.

AND... there were and ARE still those who felt that MY stuff would somehow be better and more legitimate if it was THEIR stuff. So 20 years ago I was robbed of over 750 bicycles, tens of thousands of parts and all of my tools (along with my 1956 Packard Four Hundred and Packard Caribbean convertible). This nightmare put some chortling folks into a position where they felt they could sit back and grin. They showed me–or so they thought. Some would even justify this dirtbag conduct by implying somehow that I didn't deserve to have my collection or these fine things in the first place! There ARE people like this out there.

Only just recently I received an anonymous (with fake email address) poison-pen email stating that if I got robbed, it was because I was "incompetent" and deserved to have my things stolen! Again, there ARE sick rat people like this out there. My 1956 Caribbean convertible with factory air and wire wheels is STILL missing after nearly 20 years. My 1956 Four hundred is also still missing... and my barn full of Packard parts is missing too. And don't tell me that nobody knows anything. SOMEBODY knows.

While I still have the world's largest collection of this bicycle stuff (despite being wayy down from the over 3,000 bicycles I once had) there really is no safe place to keep it. And I would say probably 80% of the history I've saved is unknown to today's collectors, "experts" and historians. Almost none of it is in a book– even after all these years! What I tried to do in the 1970s and 1980s STILL hasn't been done. For example, when's the last time you saw a 1939 Packard bicycle catalogue (see attachments)? Betcha they never showed you one on TV. And you won't find one in anybody's book! But take a look at that electric tail light... Huh?

So what will happen to my collection and all this history when I'm gone? Good question.

Attach file:



jpg  ShelbyLindyNBHAAofficeWM.jpg (474.23 KB)
1249_5f5263a14858b.jpg 2047X1302 px

jpg  NBHAAWarehouseWM.jpg (111.76 KB)
1249_5f5263f566fb4.jpg 960X1280 px

jpg  ShelbyPrewarPortfoliosSampleWM.JPG (291.38 KB)
1249_5f52643e4f2e6.jpg 2048X1536 px

jpg  NewHangingBicyclesTooWM copy.jpg (244.90 KB)
1249_5f52646518c02.jpg 1280X960 px

jpg  NOSHangingBicyclesWM.jpg (1,104.57 KB)
1249_5f5264836ff2c.jpg 2048X2730 px

jpg  BowdenClassicRealWM.jpg (260.24 KB)
1249_5f5265f663540.jpg 2047X1378 px

jpeg  SearsBicyleO:MsWM.jpeg (676.66 KB)
1249_5f526b91d356b.jpeg 2048X1536 px

jpg  PackardColson39LitWM.jpg (842.57 KB)
1249_5f526c163d0a0.jpg 2047X1381 px

Posted on: 9/4 9:00:03
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer


Re: Rarity of Leather Seats in ‘55-‘56 400s
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Quote:

mlgrimes wrote:
Currently active Hemmings auction:

https://www.hemmings.com/auction/1955- ... mpaign=1955-packard-400-1


"All original". "Original". "Not restored". Today's terminologies used so often. But what do they mean in the real world??? The seller in the Hemmings ad apparently means well and has been told certain things about this vehicle's history... but...

As someone who worked in the automotive business on an OEM level all my adult life.... and someone who had part interest in an automotive trim shop for many years...AND someone who knows V8 Packards from when they were new... tell you one thing. This car screams "RESTORED" no matter what the claims of originality are.

• Seller admits the car has been repainted.

• Seller admits the headliner has been replaced.

• Seller admits several items on the car have been changed, including electrical system grounding, carburetor and other items.

• Seller admits several things have been rebuilt (which is what you do when you restore them–right?).

• The engine compartment and related under-hood items have all obviously been restored (with a missing heat riser for the carburetor choke, voltage regulator mounted upside-down and odd wire looms).

Now.

• There is absolutely no way, no how that the dash pad cover on this Four Hundred is original. No 1955 OR 1956 Packard dash was ever made in 3 parts with tacked-on double-stitched seams on both ends. That just didn't happen at the factory. A trim shop did this. They didn't know how to mold a cover, so they made one in three pieces and sewed it together–and not when the car was new either. I have talked about this earlier.

• 1955 Four Hundreds didn't come with cut-pile carpeting or with 1960s GM heelpads. No way, no how is this "original carpet" or heelpad.

• 1955 Full leather Packard seats were made by Mitchell-Bentley, not a trim shop–even if the duplication is close in color and look. Trim code 9 did not have simulated pleats made by sewing on the cushions. They had REAL pleats. A huge difference (this is where the old term "tuck-n-roll" came from–but most people today don't remember or know this). And the leather was genuine leather, not vinyl simulated leather. Take a look at the other full leather Trim #9 interior seats and compare. Note the grain in the leather and the thickness of the cushion pleats on the originals. Factory leather for these interiors was supplied by Lackawana Leather Company (who I knew and dealt with–yes I still have business cards) and was thick with a painted-on finish and slight grain. Not thin and flat needing to be puffed up. The original leather was already puffy on its own by nature and design. And the original leather was not vat-dyed thin stuff as people seem to think and try to use today.

• 1955 Was certainly not the "last year before Packards became Studebakers"... what about 1956?

This Packard is a partial (but close to full) restoration. Even if the mileage shown on the odometer is original, it would appear that everything else except the trunk has been re-done. Meaning restored. And meaning slightly modified. All of which by today's jargon ought to classify this one as a "resto-mod"...

By the way, my original 1955 Packard Dealer Showroom album shows three possible full-leather factory interiors (despite the wildly clashing colors here it was ordered this way). And I understand that custom orders were possible, and yes, these went through Mitchell-Bentley as well. But this wasn't custom ordered.


Posted on: 8/28 18:42:53
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer


Re: Rarity of Leather Seats in ‘55-‘56 400s
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Quote:

Packard wrote:
I own a ´55 Clipper Custom with orginal full leather seats


Yes. I neglected to mention that I knew of at least two 1955-56 Clippers with full leather interiors and one, possibly two 1956 Executives with full leather interiors (one once belonged to me). I suspect there were several others.

Your Clipper with full leather must be magnificent. It would be so nice to see photos of this automobile!

The factory leather was supplied by Lackawanna Leather Company (which I believe is long out of business). And the interiors were normally cut and stitched-up by Mitchell-Bentley Company of Owosso, Michigan. They still had samples on the walls there when I visited Bill Mitchell there in the 1970s.

M-B was also the company that did the conversion of standard Packard convertibles into Caribbeans for 1953 and 1954.

Mitchell-Bentley did a lot of work together with Creative Industries of Detroit.

Posted on: 8/25 5:40:18
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer


Re: Rarity of Leather Seats in ‘55-‘56 400s
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Quote:

Deven Vance wrote:
Howdy all. I recently picked up a ‘55 400 and it has something I’ve never seen before. It has original full leather seats. The car was originally a Packard dealer’s and the story is that he ordered it specially with leather seats. How rare is this? Are there any other examples? My VIN tag doesn’t help regarding interior codes as it isn’t original to the car, but I know the seats are definitely how they left the Packard factory, as I’ve seen photos of the car when it was new. Also, I’ve seen part leather-part cloth seats, but never full leather such as mine. Looking forward to hearing everyone’s responses!


There were several 1955 and 1956 Packards ordered with full leather interiors. So this may not be as unusual as one might imagine. But these were not standard interiors (which were only partly leather).

Full leather interiors had to be custom ordered at extra cost. Thus the reason why there were not a lot of them... but there were indeed several, so ordered. In the Four Hundred, the full leather interior was basically the same theme and pattern as the 1955 Caribbean convertible. Biggest difference from Caribbeans was the lower cushion bolster was deleted in favor of just pleats.

• ALSO, the handful of 1955 Caribbean hardtops (most made at Creative Industries of Detroit) usually had full leather interiors.

• The 1955 Request concept car (also built at Creative Industries of Detroit) also originally had a full leather interior based on 1955 Caribbean convertible.

• There were also several Patricians custom-ordered with full-leather interiors. One beautiful example was a dark metallic blue 1956 Patrician that once lived in the Chicago, Illinois area. It also had factory air. No idea where it is today.



Posted on: 8/24 22:22:03
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer


Re: 1956 Clipper Deluxe
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Quote:

b.wilson wrote:
Hello Don

Yes, if you have one of those dash pads it would make sense to put it on.

I began thinking about this only when I saw the parts book illustration. I had already contemplated covering the metal dash with something else, but that would be the perfect answer if I can find one of the pads.

Howard put me on to Just Dashes. They have restored an earlier (1955) pad, but cannot make repros. Still not sure how I'd get one shipped here. It looks pretty bulky. There is a school of thought that the 1956 pad had the stitched edge, but I'd be happy with either style.

Regards

Brian


A factory-installed padded dash was optional at extra cost on your Clipper. And for the record, 1955 padded dash covers had no seam. 1956 padded dash covers indeed had a sewn seam over the crest (rolled apex) of the pad.

As for re-padding one... we did dozens of them back in the 1970s at the shop. No complicated steps or materials needed. Just the following:

• professional heat gun (hair dryer can work in most instances)

• seat-quality trimmer's foam rubber in a rectangular strip.

• Remove the inner windshield base trim and side trim and go to work.

• Do this work in warm temps–70s (F) or above.

• Check for how flexible the covering is once you get trim removed. IF hard, warm it to flexibility with heat gun. DO NOT PULL BACK HARD if cold or if heat gun does not make flexible. If the cover remains hard and brittle at this point it is too far gone to save. However, MOST covers (including ones rippled like breakfast bacon) can be saved, flexed back for work and re-padded.

• Most old foam has either turned to stuff that looks like sand, Rice Krispies or custard goo. One you have your cover pulled back, clean this old decayed foam and its remnants out.

• Get a nice strip of trimmer's foam, appropriately thick and able to wrap over the rolled edge of the metal (double or dual-density is not necessary). Trim to fit and insert carefully on metal instrument panel, using care to roll at rearward roll of the metal. It is feasible to use trimmer's yellow spay contact glue (stuff we used to call "Gorilla snot") but it is not really necessary if done right.

• Once stuffed, gently heat and coax the covering back into place. Work out ripples and waves. Remember, this old vinyl tends to stiffen in whatever position it is in so don't expect it to be extremely pliable, even when stuffed with new foam. However, if you used decent foam in an appropriate shape the outer covering will usually happily follow it. Getting the proper appearance is the main thing here.

Finally, yes, it IS possible to transfer padded dash coverings from one dash to another simply by disassembling the metal cap from the instrument panel and then removing the padded section with covering.

And yes, it is even possible to change or renew coloring on padded dash skins. They CAN be spray-dyed (with vinyl dye) and we did several of them in SoCal back in the 1970s.

Posted on: 8/23 8:21:46
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer


Re: PAC meet torsion level presentation
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
While the video playback for me kept halting and re-loading, Walt did a great presentation here. And it was fabulous to see him at the wheel of "Black Bess" at the Proving Grounds in a nice color shot.

Yes, of course people doing videos at club meets are not usually going to be video production experts, so one can't expect Hollywood or television quality. And using a single camera without blends, fades and pans is always going to limit the quality of the final result. Still great to have it.

Also nice to see detailed shots of the Torsion-Level scale model chassis that my friend, Tom Beaubien built. I'm still trying to track this chassis down today. I know of where it went after the movie... but after that... it disappeared.

Thanks!

Posted on: 8/15 10:38:59
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer


Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Quote:

JCH wrote:
Recently acquired a '55 Caribbean. The car has overheated and vapor locked since day one. I have helped the vapor lock issue by insulating the gas lines and adding an electric gas pump back at the tank. The engine over heating continues. I had the radiator serviced, used a cooling system flush, changed the thermostat and cap. I removed the water pump and water distribution manifold to view the condition of the water ports. The ports were in good condition. The water pump looked ok, no leaking. Considered installing a flex fan, but only have 1 3/4" clearance from fan hub to the radiator. I would appreciate any new ideas before pulling the heads to check for blocked water passages. Thanks, JC


A few things NOT mentioned here, but important nonetheless:

• There are system checkers today that can be connected to your cooling system to analyze if you have a head gasket failing or leaking. Check this!

• The transmission coolers for Ultramatic (located on the left front of the engine) for 1955 sometimes failed (especially in old age). Nobody thinks to check them (the cooler affects BOTH the transmission and the engine). Some so-called transmission and engine rebuilders leave the whole durned thing off and then wonder why the trans burns up! The design of the transmission cooler was enlarged and improved for 1956, but those fail too, especially after all these years). I have seen 1955 coolers clogged plumb full of rust flakes and other debris). They don't always clean out with a regular radiator flush. Do a reverse flush too! Internal fluid tubing also rusts through and allows coolant and trans fluid to mix! Check this!

• In places like Texas and the southwest, you need nothing less than Desert Cooler-style 4-row radiator core in FULL size. AND the proper type and size thermostat. Your engine should run quite cool if the correct specs on cooling are met. Check this!

Posted on: 8/6 17:21:10
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer


Re: Packard Bikes
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Quote:

b.wilson wrote:
Hello Leeedy

Very interesting, as usual.

This is the first I heard of somebody else "appropriating" any of Packard's trade names (other than the name "Packard" itself). That may just be my ignorance. Did anybody else pick up things like "Torsion Level"?

I guess Packard turned a blind eye to this. Maybe even saw it as a back-handed compliment.

Cheers

Brian


Hello Brian,

Thanks for your interest. Missed your question earlier. I was on a Packard trip.

NOW. Are you ready for this one? There were several instances where Packard terms and names and even slogans were used in other arenas. If you read back through this thread, I've included a few in the bicycle industry.

Now... coincidental to your mention of "Torsion Level" there were at least two instances in the bicycle industry where this almost happened (in fact did in a prototype). I can't post a photo of this one (even though I have photos of one experimental version). One version had adjustable ride firmness on the suspension. Another version of a bicycle designed by a famous car designer had self-leveling full suspension. Yes. They made ONE (out of magnesium)... and it never got to production afterward. And the intended slogan? "Let The Ride Decide!" The bicycle company DID change this to another slogan for another version of a third suspension. This All happened in the 1950s... of course!

There were some pretty wild things being done with bicycles in the USA between the 1930s and 1960s... or what I call the era of the Classic Bicycle (versus "cruiser" or "bomber" or "thrasher" or any of the inglorious names they were being called up to that time).

I wrote about this in a bicycle book I tried to publish with a major automotive book publisher in 1981. They turned me down flat (I still have the rejection letter from 1982) and told me they had no intention of publishing a book on what I called "Classic Bicycles" (yes, I copyrighted the title and the term along with definition in 1977–these were published in a trade magazine). The book publisher reminded me that they were a CAR BOOK publisher and weren't interested in old bicycles. Today they are the largest publisher of books on vintage bicycles. You might even see a title similar to the one I submitted 40 years ago.

Nobody cared about vintage Classic-Era American-made bicycles back then. But they sure do now.

Anyway, I still have the manuscript that they clearly reviewed in 1982 (they never explained, asked permission, apologized, nor even MENTIONED me in their book of the same subject matter and nearly the same title). One of those things that makes me go... Hmmmmmmmm. And I still have the photos (including ones of the wildly styled magnesium bicycle with the suspension). Perhaps someday this stuff may yet get published–even if I'm not around to see it.

Posted on: 8/6 16:49:16
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer


Re: Convertible top pump Hydraulic fluid leak
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Quote:

ssb15 wrote:
The pump for my convertible top on my 56 Carribean is leaking fluid. It does not appear to be a hose issue. I do not think the pump is more than 10 years old. The top will go down, but not up. Any suggestions? Appreciate the help.

Scott


If your pump/reservoir is leaking and your rams are not damaged, no matter how old or new it is... replace the pump motor/reservoir. This should be the end of your problem.

If your pump assembly is leaking AND your top won't raise... again this tells me your unit needs replacing. It is leaking and obviously not building pressure. For whatever reason, these newer replacement units seem to die at around 10 years of age. Replace it.

ALWAYS be sure to clean your ram rods and keep them shiny.

ALWAYS check your fluid level in the system. Low fluid or dried-out (or drying out) old fluid is poison to the system.

NEVER lower the top with the ram rods dirty or rusty. Clean them first! This is an especially good procedure to follow if the top has not been lowered in an extended period of time.

Posted on: 8/4 6:59:16
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer


Re: Packard Bikes
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Ever heard of an Ultramatic on two wheels?

More to amuse and amaze from my collection. And just to show you that bicycle manufacturers were loving all things Packard, here is use of the Ultramatic name on a mo-ped scooter made by Raleigh in England. The bicycle industry continued to honor names of Packard Motor Car Company... even if Packard fans didn't realize it.

Attach file:



jpg  RaleighUltramatic copyWM .jpg (48.08 KB)
1249_5f295ce2f36ec.jpg 640X480 px

jpg  RaleighUltramaticBrochure.jpg (27.11 KB)
1249_5f295d011386a.jpg 571X182 px

Posted on: 8/4 6:05:13
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer



 Top
(1) 2 3 4 ... 72 »




Search
Recent Photos
Random Photo
1914 Packard 2-38 special touring car, five-sixths front view, left side
Helping Out
PackardInfo is supported and funded by user donations. If you would to help out by either donating content, or funds to help with the upkeep and hosting of this site please EMAIL ME or click on the donate button.