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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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I love it! By the 1953 model year, Packard badly needed new models that would be considered 'fresh and exciting' to attract more buyers, it couldn't wait until 1955. Hardtops were all the rage, a four door version was almost guaranteed to be a major hit. The pillared hardtop-sedan was a first step to the fully B-pillarless four door hardtop to follow.

To see how well it could have succeeded, look at the 1955 Mercury Montclair sport sedan which arrived mid-season, quickly sold 20,624 cars, 18% of all four door '55 Mercurys. For 1956, a total of 74,473 of both the four door sport sedans and hardtop "Phaetons", 24% of 1956 total sales. By comparison, the regular four door sedan dropped to 15.9%. The sport sedan and the four door hardtop were both based on the body series that began with 1952

Being a leader in a popular new body style could only have done them good. Check the immediate popularity of the '55 GM four door hardtops to see what an untapped market was ready for the taking.

Steve

Attach file:



png  '55 Montclair sport sedan promo crop.png (407.46 KB)
409_5e7f54317154c.png 1000X611 px

Posted on: Yesterday 6:42:27
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Re: Vintage Packards on the Street Thread...
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This photo is posted on an AACA forum thread of period photos which has quite a lot of interesting images of all makes. Rarely does one see a picture of a Station Sedan in any period image.

Steve

Attach file:



jpg  '48 Packard station sedan - period photo.jpg (49.53 KB)
409_5e7bdf641f2ad.jpg 640X570 px

Posted on: 3/25 15:47:06
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Packard of New Orleans - The Old Motor
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This good feature on the Packard of New Orleans dealership just turned up on The Old Motor. Enjoy, add your comments.

http://theoldmotor.com/?p=137363

Steve

Posted on: 3/25 15:40:43
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Re: Various CL Pickings
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What's curious about denigrating comments about the Contour-style body architecture its by and large in the same idiom as the '49 Ford: a fully-integrated envelope format. GM wouldn't arrive their fully-enveloped body until the 1954 Oldsmobile 88 and Buick Specials and Centurys.

Ford are nicknamed 'shoebox' Fords by the rod and custom community.

Steve

Posted on: 3/23 14:01:22
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Re: Synopsis of forces and events leading to '48-'50 styling
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Hi

Thanks for all the considered and thoughtful responses. RE: The interesting alternatives:

“Too bad Packard couldn't strike a deal with FoMoCo, the '49 Ford with longer axle-dash would have made a good Eight while Cosmo would have led to a wonderful Custom.”…”Ford was weak at this time, good opportunity to cut deals with them.”

Ford might have allowed the Cosmopolitan and perhaps the ‘49 Mercury and Lincoln platforms on which Packard would base their new postwar cars but the ‘49 Ford was definitely hands off. FoMoCo was in dire straits then, the ‘49 was a make or break proposition without anyone else stealing some its thunder. Body sharing within Big Three makes was totally acceptable but whether an extra-company sharing would be accepted is unknown. To be avoided at all cost was Packard being perceived as sharing Lincoln’s hand-me-down suits.

"...key would be whether Ford viewed most Packard sales as coming at Lincoln's or Cadillac's expense.”

That would be the major sticking point whether Ford perceived their own makes would benefit more from the cost-sharing than what sales might be lost to Packards in the same or near price segments. Other than the fact that Ford already had Mercury and for that matter Lincoln to fill out their market coverage, both were of very secondary and tertiary concern at the time. The new Mercury held more promise, sold extremely well and kept dealers afloat. Lincoln, although the Cosmopolitan sold better than expected, there was little upper management enthusiasm for the car. The Mercury-bodied ‘49-‘51 Lincolns were the price gap filler that helped keep the make alive. Had Lincoln not been their late father Edsel’s baby and refuge from tyrannical Old Henry, it might well have been scuttled then.

“What if Packard had chosen to do an all-new bathtub for 1949 after concluding that it was the best use of funds, and sought only to refresh Clipper using Phantom for ideas?”

Given the massive pent-up demand awaiting in 1946, a moderate refreshing of the Clipper styling was all that was necessary. Styling as a purchase consideration wasn’t a major factor until late 1948/early 1949 when the supply was catching up to demand. The mass of left-over 22nd Series 1949 models was the ‘canary-in-the-coal-mine’ that the seller’s market was over. Incorporating some of the Phantom features into the Clipper without major retooling, much as Chrysler did to fade the front fenders into the doors on the Chryslers, DeSotos and Dodges plus new grilles, would have been enough. The tri-panel transition Paul created shows what was enough to give the Clipper a fresh look. Maybe they could have changed the rear fender tooling to accept flush-fitting fender skirts, different taillights from the pre-war models. Wraparound bumpers were coming into style, that would be an easy change to affect. Other than the tooling necessary to add the convertible, the remainder of the millions spent for the major restyle were largely wasted in a demand situation where it was largely unnecessary producing little additional benefit.

Downside reality was until George Christopher got his Clipper tooling amortized, he wasn’t about to let it go. Forcing the issue with his ouster was the only way they could move onto the much needed new body.

“Seems to me Packard won a few awards for the 1948-50 body style.”

Whether such awards persuaded anyone to buy a Packard over other makes is questionable. If one placed great credibility on the aesthetic judgment of the Fashion Academy of New York greater than performance, durability, price, features and a trusted dealer relationship then maybe it tipped the deal to Packard.

Steve

Posted on: 3/23 13:40:31
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Re: Synopsis of forces and events leading to '48-'50 styling
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Hi

Thanks for all your considered responses and perspectives. Each in turn:

Dave

“Let me offer a clarification; the 22nd/23rd series long wheelbase sedan bodies were built by Briggs, not Henney. “

That is a good point, I briefly considered including it but decided it was a bit of esoteric detail not directly germane to the subject of the series styling.


Bkazmer

“The Chrysler Thunderbolt and Newport prewar show cars were also influential,…”

“I don't agree on GM having handled the styling era well - their financial muscle carried them through. The post-war Cadillac design still had rear fenders, as did Chevrolet through 54. The Independents led the way out of pre-war styling. “


Indeed, both the Chrysler Thunderbolt and Newport by LeBaron, especially the former, were highly influential on the designers of the period when developing their visions of postwar cars.

‘Evolutionary, never revolutionary’ might well have been Harley Earl’s personal mantra when selecting which designs would be promoted for production. Allowing the independent automakers to pioneer, or maybe better described as being the guinea pigs, to try out advanced radical styling in production gave GM immediate feedback whether a new design direction would find general acceptance or be rejected. Misterl summarily rejected the pudgy, fully-envelope styling developed for the postwar Cadillac as late as the running metal prototypes. Variously named the “Interceptor” or “C.O.” for Commissioned Officer, in one of this famous turnarounds, Earl one day told his staff “To hell with that big blown-up thing (referring the C.O.)”. At which point they developed an evolutionary version first seen on the ‘42 Buick sedanette and convertible. The hood/cowl surface continues along the beltline, whereas the front fender line proceeds reward at full height until it dives behind the rear fender forms. This creates a flatter rounded section and a step in the visual height rather than one large pudgy fat roll top to bottom. The separate rear fenders rendered a crouching haunches look as in an animal about to leap. All the familiar forms were still present. This same concept is seen on the 1947 Studebaker. After the Free-Flow styling experience, Reinhart decided to include the vestigial rear fenders in the Contours as a visual break as well.

“what was Packard's relationship with Budd at this time? The 41 bodies before the Clipper used door stampings from Budd. Could they have been an alternate to Briggs?”


Budd supplied stamping and complete bodies to a wide variety of carmakers, component stamping for assembly in the carmaker’s plants were a major part of their business. They developed the all-steel bodies Dodge and Ford used early on. During the 1930’s Chrysler was a major customer with the Airflow as Budd had experience with unit-body construction from their European operations, the Citroen Traction Avant being one. This came to play leading to both the Nash 600 and step-down Hudsons. Studebaker was a major customer for their stampings to the end. The Budd Co. topic on Coachbuilt.com tells the history very well. Packard doesn’t appear to have been a major customer.

Apparently with the Clipper, Briggs finally had a complete grip on Packard’s volume body business including the stampings. From what has been written, the cozy Packard-Briggs relationship seems to have developed as Briggs assisted closely in the Clipper’s design, willingly took over its construction to free up plant space as Packard accepted more ordinance materiel work. Walter Briggs and Alvan Macauley were friends and business associates so when it came to who owned what stamping presses that had been transferred from Packard to Briggs, there was nothing in writing to determine that. Being dependent on a sole supplier was painting themselves into a corner when things went sour.

Paul West (Mahoning63)

“John Reinhart said that he and many other designers wanted to simply refine the Clipper with a theme he referred to as needle nose. Wonder if any sketches or pictures survived?”

If those sketches have survived, they haven’t been identified yet. What the refinement of the Clipper themes were may not have impressed Ed Macauley as being advanced enough to give Packard an edge. The progression of the Brown Bomber customization process seems to be the best window into the thinking as each new feature and detail found its way from the clay to a work-up in metal. Not having a parallel path of alternatives to select from essentially doomed the car to have the styling as it developed. The pitfalls of a tiny, underdeveloped styling department when such was becoming critical to remain competitive.

Steve

Attach file:



jpg  Cadillac-1946-Interceptor.jpg (20.27 KB)
409_5e726420a535e.jpg 600X360 px

Posted on: 3/18 11:17:48
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Synopsis of forces and events leading to '48-'50 styling
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Hi

Not infrequently on collector car forums other than those devoted to Packard, when the subject is the 1948-1950 Packards, the comments largely deal with the styling more than any other topic. As might be expected, not all are taken with or understand the forces that brought these cars to their appearance. To dispel some of the misconceptions and provide some perspective, I’ve written the following to broaden the understanding of the era and situation.

A synopsis of the forces and events that replaced the Clipper styling with the Free-Flow-Styled 22nd-23rd Series:

In planning for their return to production, management realized the pre-war non-Clipper design was old and out-of-date enough to be uncompetitive in the postwar market. Damaged tooling from poor storage may also been a factor. Clipper was their newest tooling available, had had its initial success short-circuited by the wartime curtailment, its tooling not fully amortized. Its important to remember at this point that whereas the older 1938-'42 bodies were an in-house build, the Briggs Body Company was the supplier of the Clipper bodies. This would continue through the 1948-‘50 Free-Flow-Styled and 1951-’54 Contours until events resulted in the Chrysler purchase of all Briggs body operations. Packard was forced to take control of the body construction by leasing the Connor Avenue body plant from Chrysler who would no longer be supplying the bodies.

As framework to the development of what would become the 1948 Packards, all manufacturers were working on their new postwar cars during the war as time and staffing permitted. For the independent makers, it was viewed as a opportunity to get a jump on the all-new Big Three models projected for 1949. Time was of the essence, but Packard had only a tiny styling department headed by Ed Macauley with a staff of perhaps six-eight people. To augment this very limited source, since the development of the Clipper during 1940, they had been working closely with Briggs in-house styling department which was much larger, providing styling for all Briggs customers, the largest then being Chrysler. Dutch Darrin was not involved with Packard’s design process at this time. He had returned to California to develop postwar design concepts he hoped to bring to production. Many of the themes and features seen on those prototypes were employed when Kaiser-Frazer came seeking a quick concept to present to prospective financial backers of their intended entry into the postwar seller’s market.

In terms of styling, that transition period from the separate fender and body era to fully integrated envelop configuration was a stylistic mine field. How well each company navigated it, varies greatly dependent upon subjective taste. Cadillac did so very adroitly as did all of GM, which was to be expected given the fully-developed styling powerhouse that Harley Earl l had built. Packard had only a small, nascent styling department which depended heavily on input from the in-house Briggs Body Company styling department. Briggs, by the postwar, was building all Packard bodies except the commercial and lwb sedan/limousines by Henney.

George Christopher, the notoriously pinch-penny company president since 1942, embraced the perceived need and potential benefits of presenting new postwar styling as quickly as possible but wasn't about to write off and discard the unamortized Clipper tooling. Briggs, of course, intended to retain Packard's body building business if possible, was glad to assist in updating the Clipper shell to the current vision of future styling trends. Those, as seen on wartime ‘blue-sky’ styling exercises of "The Cars of The Future", were characterized by low, horizontal grilles and fully-enveloping, through-fender, slab-sided, tear-drop shapes, even transparent bubble-tops.

Throw into this heady brew Packard styling director Ed Macauley's Brown Bomber, his continually-customized 1941 Darrin coupe de ville 'idea' car which was literally subjected to each new styling sop presented by Al Prance, Briggs Styling Director and his capable staff as well as his own staff for Ed's enjoyment. As he drove around Detroit in his customized Packard previewing future styling ideas to his contemporaries including Harley Earl, a production Clipper body served as armature for clay styling studies in those same themes in the Briggs studio. Its appeal or lack thereof is left to individual subjective judgment. That said, for the times, it looked fresh, modern and contemporary.

The results were that each principle player got what he wanted. For Christopher further amortization of body tooling. For Ed Macauley, his conception of futuristic styling and modernization of their cars intending to would garner greater sales than ever before versus the warmed-over 1942 models the Big Three would be peddling. For Briggs and Prance, a grip on Packard's body business and demonstration of their styling prowess. That the result gave Packard only a restyled 1941 car, would be more and more obvious the longer it stayed in production. Well, it was too early to worry about that in 1946. In the near term, there was massive pent-up demand expected to take through 1949-'50 to satisfy.

Notwithstanding the styling, the cars themselves are mechanically very robust, well crafted and accessible. They represent one of the best values in collector cars now owing to the high numbers built, overall durability and continued popularity among Packard collectors who appreciate their intrinsic qualities beyond their styling. Taken in the context of their times, they were as modern as their contemporary competitors. Viewed in that context, they’re as attractive as any and cars to fully appreciate for their many fine visible and intrinsic qualities.

To fully understand the saga of the "Free-Flow Styled" 1948-'50 22nd and 23rd Series Packards, there is no better source than the book Packard 1948-1950 by Robert J. Neal. The individual and forces that shaped these, to some modern day eyes, unfortunate-looking but modern-at-the-times cars, is a fascinating episode of automotive history.

Thanks for reading my latest diatribe. Your comments welcomed.
Steve

Posted on: 3/17 8:04:27
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Re: Various CL Pickings
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A '36 120, drive while you improve it:
https://dallas.craigslist.org/sdf/cto/ ... 6-packard/7076189963.html

A '41 110 Special mostly original: https://portland.craigslist.org/clk/ct ... 0-special/7088752961.html

A '47 Clipper Six, "Willing to trade for equipment trailer goose neck 40ft or 4x4 Pickup"
https://cedarrapids.craigslist.org/cto ... d-clipper/7079325165.html

Steve

Added 3-21-2020
A '56 Clipper Deluxe, good project start:
https://denver.craigslist.org/cto/d/pu ... d-clipper/7088066147.html

A '49 Eight 23rd Series, needs engine freed up, good driver condition otherwise:
https://cosprings.craigslist.org/cto/d ... 9-packard/7083753307.html

A '50 Eight Deluxe, ambitious project or parts:
https://wichita.craigslist.org/pts/d/w ... 62-deluxe/7075616862.html

A '51 200, must like green:
https://macon.craigslist.org/cto/d/mac ... traight-8/7093452415.html

A '54 Clipper Deluxe, club sedan, 45K miles, no photos:
https://charlotte.craigslist.org/cto/d ... er-deluxe/7087759216.html

Posted on: 3/15 16:05:28
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Re: Various CL Parts Pickings
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A '53 Clipper differential hub-to-hub:
https://raleigh.craigslist.org/pts/d/c ... lete-rear/7086819845.html

A '55 320 engine and aluminum case Ultramatic:
https://raleigh.craigslist.org/pts/d/s ... -v8-trans/7079640310.html

A pair of early '20 nickel era headlights:
https://westernmass.craigslist.org/pts ... ckard-car/7077426399.html

Steve

Added 3-12-2020

A variety of '41-'42 110 7 120 trim:
https://sacramento.craigslist.org/pts/ ... s-classic/7072826266.html

Posted on: 3/10 16:36:10
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Re: Vintage Packards on the Street Thread...
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Now, its time for a Packard "Where's Waldo?" Look carefully at this The Old Motor article and tell us what you find...

http://theoldmotor.com/?p=179270

Photos to follow...

Added photos 3-12-2020: "Here's Waldo!"

Nothing else had the distinct long hood and shape of the convertible top that a Darrin did then. The Lincoln Continental came close for hood length but its cabriolet top was very conservative by comparison.

So, we know at least one of the fifty '40 Packard Darrin victorias was in Minnesota as a seven year old car.

Steve

Attach file:



jpg  Dakota Cnty Fairgrds, Farmington, MN 5-26-'47 a.jpg (279.51 KB)
409_5e6a7250ebd7b.jpg 1280X907 px

jpg  Dakota Cnty Fairgrds, Farmington, MN 5-26-'47 b.jpg (33.42 KB)
409_5e6a726347a91.jpg 468X290 px

Posted on: 3/10 15:19:37
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