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PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2133
Toyed with starting a blog and with some encouragement from several people I thought I would give it a try. For the long history made short, this Clipper sat in a parking lot at the edge of a busy street in Campbell, CA for years with a For Sale sign in the window and when my best friend showed an interest in getting a Packard I pointed him to it. He owned it for a few years, then had to relocate from the area for a new position so I bought it and by then it had new dual exhaust and new Sears Allstate Guardsman whitewall tires but was still painted grey as it was when found.

Iíve owned this car for over forty years and drove it only twice and the first time the brakes failed causing damage to the front. The second time not long after that and without fixing the brakes I bought a house and drove it (carefully) there. The photos will start with it just before the move as I can find none earlier.

To repair, I bought a fender and other parts, then loosely attached the front bumper for the move, then the car sat, rarely being started, until around 2008 when I moved again and this time had all my remaining cars transported to my then-new Oregon shop and started acquiring bits and pieces that I knew it needed including some trim damaged in the long-ago accident.

Now weíre more or less caught up to recent times so Iíll continue in a separate post.

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Posted on: 3/13 20:09:46
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Re: PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2133
One thing to add is that my partner at the time just before the first move sanded off most of the grey, exposing the original Tangier Red and Dover White paint. Itís a rather flashy combination that it will keep!

Once at my Oregon shop I finally started to work on it to fill time while also working on a couple other cars. First was to replace the upper radiator hose but in removing it I found that the wire in the hose had completely broken down and filled the area above the thermostat with debris and in removing the thermostat to clean it I discovered that the water pump manifold had a broken casting (there was a nut on the other side) so I replaced it while also putting the power steering belt into the proper groove. For some reason, the car has the factory A/C pulley even though it does not yet have factory A/C (I have one for it).

Of course, all this meant pulling the radiator and in doing so I discovered that the transmission cooler has more in common with Swiss Cheese than it does to a cooler so a replacement was located and installed. I hope that explains the orange large area on the concrete where it was parked and not a popped freeze plug or cracked block.

Nearly forgot that the low mileage Sears Allstate Guardsman tires had rotted but I was able to locate another excellent set at a very reasonable cost, then had the wheels powder-coated before installing them. Of course, these tires, while they look good, are too old for highway driving but will be fine around the shop and surrounding property. It turned out that only one wheel on the car was the proper one so before the powder-coating I located the proper ones to use.

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Posted on: 3/13 20:23:33
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Re: PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2133
Not doing any real cleanup or restoration yet and not sure even when or if that will happen so the current goal is just to make it drivable. It was up high on stands until last week and when I took it down to move it outside temporarily I was shocked to see how low the rear was and no response from the TorsionLevel Ride motor either. I narrowed it down to a short because it blew the 30a fuse as soon as it was switched on but, as it was outside in the gravel, getting underneath wasnít possible.

However, while replacing the ignition switch bezel I found the short as the switch had fallen down and a terminal was wedged into the glovebox hinge. Properly affixing it to the dash with the bezel and replacing the fuse, attaching a battery again, there was the lovely hmmm of the motor! A very nice sound indeed. The back end came up a couple inches, there was a bang which I hope was only the air cleaner shifting (it was balanced next to the engine) but I suspect that wasnít the case. After that, the motor labors but no movement.

I should probably clarify that the backend didnít go down all by itself while in storage. In fact, I did it when the car was first moved into the shop while showing it to someone. It was working, then it stopped with the rear end down and I forgot about it after putting it up on stands,

Setting that aside for when itís in the shop but without much prep work that I generally do for such a long dormant engine other than making sure that the distributor is grounded and that the points are clean, using fresh gasoline I tried to start it but it does not even try to fire. I have not yet had the chance to see if there is actually a spark but thatís next.

The first photo shows it with a 1956 Packard trunk lid but recently I acquired the proper 1956 Clipper lid which is on it now although I do need to remove the little Packard script as this car never had it on its original lid. CoÔncidentally the new lid is even Tangier Red!

In the meantime, I have all new brake parts for it to install at some point and will rebuild the Treadlevac at that time too.

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Posted on: 3/13 20:39:44
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Re: PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2019/2/9 11:12
From North Carolina
Posts: 87
Interesting project Don, looking forward to more updates.

Posted on: 3/14 2:47:12
_________________
Paul
www.studebakerskytop.com
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Re: PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Home away from home
Joined:
2015/1/16 9:43
From sw, pa
Posts: 1281
Low riders use to be the in thing, not sure now.....

Posted on: 3/14 5:56:48
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Re: PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2133
The back is indeed very low and it means that for most of the work I do under the hood I need to use a step stool! Iím 6í1Ē and still canít reach anything with it like that. Of course, the distributor being at the back center on the engine was a special challenge and Iím not sure how to get to some of the spark plugs.

Iíll be here a few more days but the main task is to try to get it back into the shop. It came out one of the front doors, pulled by my fatherís electric mobility cart (a repurposed golf cart), but there is now a car lift at that door so I have to somehow get it around to the side door and up a little step as the ground has sunk or, more likely, eroded at that side since the building was built.

To add to it, we woke up to a little snow this morning. Although it should melt off during the day, it will probably remain cold. It got so cold and windy yesterday early evening that I had to close up and walk the block back to the house about an hour earlier than I had planned.

Posted on: 3/14 9:25:18
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Re: PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2133
Today was mainly logistics to get the Clipper back into the shop by way of a side door that was never intended for going in and out of with cars! Using a tractor, I managed to get it to the door and ramps in place but no way to get it inside but with my brotherís help, we managed. Tomorrow Iíll climb underneath to see if I can spot anything damaged or broken on the TorsionLeven Ride.

Itís been cold at nights, a bit warmer in the daytime but the temperature plummeted yesterday and I got snowed on (just powder) walking back. Woke up with everything white and 28 degrees which seemed to hold all day. Not as cold as others face so it wasnít all that bad.

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Posted on: 3/14 18:51:22
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Re: PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Home away from home
Joined:
2019/1/30 23:11
From Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 269
Very interesting project Don, and relevant to my efforts with my 1956 Clipper Deluxe. Mine is clearly an easier starting point. And it never snows here!

Are the trunk lids on the 1956 Clippers really different to the other 1956 Packards? I know the 1955 lid is different, but apparently interchangeable with 1956. I like the 1956 shape better.

You have a bit of work ahead of you. But I expect you will like the result if you see it through. They're a surprisingly good car.

There's also a Treadlevac rebuild looming for me. It's long overdue. Thought I had a vacuum system problem with the brakes, but adding fluid to the master cylinder has them working quite well again. Now I'm worried because I don't know why this fixed it! Perhaps a slow leak in one or more of the wheel cylinders? Ah well, guess I'll be replacing those too. And while I'm at it, looking at the brake linings and drums.

Most other important stuff on my Clipper is working fine, including the Torsion Level and Ultramatic transmission. Hopefully, not too much wrong with your Torsion Level system. Brilliant stuff, but it sounds like a bear to work on.

I agree with you about the colours on your car. Actually looks pretty nice. Mine was originally yellow with a white roof. The Deluxe had less trim on the side, so the second paint colour was limited to the roof. Anyway, I don't care for yellow/white so it will remain dark blue when it get its imminent paint tidy-up. It's easier because all the fiddly bits are already dark blue!

Do you have a heater in your shed?

Cheers

Brian

Posted on: 3/14 20:01:30
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1941 120 Club Coupe (SOLD)
1956 Clipper Deluxe (RHD and auto) - for the wife, or so I told her!
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Re: PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2133
Actually the front fender on the other side is from a Deluxe and for the trunk lids, Packardís and Clipperís were the same other than the emblem holes. I prefer to not have to fill and re-drill holes so got the proper Clipper lid which also had a nice emblem, lock assembly and Clipper script.

This car actually had the original lid when I bought it but it had some rust out at the bottom and the original hood was also still on it until it was about to be transported to the shop. I had a replacement and quickly put it on.

The shop, which I believe is about 42í X 48í and quite high is not only not heated but it is also not insulated. On sunny days it warms up inside even if cool outside but today wasnít one of those kinds of days. My hands are just starting to thaw! Iím waiting for a quote from an insulation company which came by a week ago Friday but Iíve not heard anything, Also replacing two of the three roll-up doors with better ones with windows at the top that follow the roof slope so that I can still open the door with a car on the lift.

Now that the Clipper is back inside and once I check out the TorsionLevel Ride, I have a Treadlevac to finish rebuilding for another car but maybe wonít get to it in the cold. Also, a bit concerned of flight cancellations so may end up being here longer than expected!

So a question, the answer to which I USED to know but Iím so out of the loop on cars that Iím no longer sure. Just to confirm: the ignition key is the same as the door key and the glovebox key is the same as the trunk key? Which has which shape?

Posted on: 3/14 20:15:39
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Re: PackardDonís 1956 Clipper Custom Sedan
Home away from home
Joined:
2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 2133
Hereís a little ďart shotĒ that I took this morning.

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Posted on: 3/14 20:16:40
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