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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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Joined:
2009/11/17 7:51
From Detroit, MI
Posts: 819
We might! I don't like the B-pillar either. Only if push came to shove... and Studio ALWAYS has alternatives!

The design that I have long preferred, and maybe the only way to come anywhere near balancing the coupe's long front door with sedan's standard rear door, is to remove rear door vent window to make the glass look longer, and make the roof formal to bring the C-pillar width into balance with the side glass. Steve Kelley long ago coached me on the classic 3-2-1 proportions for front door glass/rear door glass/C-pillar. Net result is a car with coupe-like proportions and a very exclusive looking automobile.

Does it work for anyone else?

Attach file:



jpg  1955 Packard Patrician V8 136 WB Formal Sedan.jpg (79.38 KB)
2060_5e87f416c4ca9.jpg 1262X573 px

Posted on: 4/3 14:08:47
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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2009/11/17 7:51
From Detroit, MI
Posts: 819
"So can we field a vehicle at Cadillac's price point and make a profit, assuming 30% of the current market's volume after 2 years?

Yes. Price would have to come in at or below Cadillac's price point, see yellow curve on graph. Why wouldn't it? Pre-war Packard didn't charge 100% more for a long wheelbase car that was identical in interior trim and engineering to standard wheelbase car, not even for the '38-42 lwb cars. Henney was not the solution to Packard's lwb problems, it was the problem. The bodies needed to be built in Conner and sent down the volume line for most everything. Division window install would be off-line.


Why will someone buy the Packard instead of the other three players? And what will Cadillac's reaction be if we succeed (they have the ability to slash price)."

Because it was the right car for the changing times. Just an observation but it seems the days of rich families being toted around by a chauffeur were coming to an end. It was the age of the owner-driver. But... also the chauffeur-driven professional business executive, some of whom even today get to work that way. I worked for two companies that provided this service as part of the package. The last was driven in an Escalade from what I heard. These folks don't need three rows of seats, its just them inside. Nor would Hollywood celebrities during the final years of the Golden Age. The car they got out of onto the red carpet had to make a statement. I think this Packard would have done just that.

Cadillac probably would have jumped in but Packard would have gotten there first, and with a redesigned car for '56 would have beat Cadillac in styling. I don't think Cadillac would have sustained lower prices on the Series 75, the exec in charge would have gotten fired if it lasted too long.

Posted on: 4/3 14:30:31
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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2008/10/10 7:29
From grand rapids, mi, usa
Posts: 1074
the formal C pillar works for me. it looks very appopriate to the type of car and cleans up the multiple lines that the wrap around creates. A Packard crest on the C pillar would not be out of character. Available in gray, dark blue,black. Formal padded roof and division window optional.

Posted on: 4/3 18:04:36
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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2009/11/17 7:51
From Detroit, MI
Posts: 819
Splendid, it's now plan of record unless push back from one of the other Board members. Only open issue is rear window roll-down. Not expecting it to go all the way, only concerned that it won't go down at all. Needs to be an open channel all the way to door's rear edge. If a physical impossibility without major tear-up the proposal would have been in jeopardy. Vent windows would have avoided the issue and been useful to occupants but would have impacted appearance. Image below shows vent windows on '54 version of car.

With the new chassis forget the 149 dual cowl phaeton, much better looking on 136 wheelbase. That's what Caribbean was all about. The cowl could have been fixed to add structure and house a flip-up rail to hold onto when standing and waving.

Attach file:



jpg  1954 Packard Patrician 8 136 WB Formal Sedan vent windows.jpg (79.76 KB)
2060_5e87f3e032f02.jpg 1262X573 px

jpg  1954 Packard Caribbean Dual Cowl Phaeton 136 WB.jpg (96.68 KB)
2060_5e87f3eed38cb.jpg 1066X560 px

Posted on: 4/3 19:19:02
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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2014/7/15 11:30
From Terrebonne, OR
Posts: 1750
Looks much better but I still don’t care for the door pillar being so far behind the driver. Roofline is good; door size ratio is not. It looks like a coupe with an afterthought of having a rear door.

Posted on: 4/3 19:50:12
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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2007/11/18 9:02
From Dalton, NY
Posts: 2337
"Steve Kelley long ago coached me on the classic 3-2-1 proportions for front door glass/rear door glass/C-pillar. Net result is a car with coupe-like proportions and a very exclusive looking automobile."

I'd love to take credit for this idea but have to admit I read it in an interview with none other than Ray Dietrich who developed the elegant 3-2-1 door windows/C-pillar proportions designing custom-bodies in the 1920's and utilized it on all his finest designs we now view as Classics.

Steve

Posted on: 4/6 12:20:06
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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2007/11/18 9:02
From Dalton, NY
Posts: 2337
The most dramatic proof that Packard badly needed to refresh the look and appeal of their new cars for 1953-1954 was being reinforced by the two-three year restyle/all-new body cycles becoming common industry-wide by the early 1950’s. The 200/Clipper was carrying the majority of their sales, it was particularly vulnerable when its direct competitors presented all-new cars. The Clipper price segment from $2,500 to $3,000 had some very formidable challengers.

Chrysler and DeSoto had reworked and restyled the 1949-’52 body series for 1953-’54. Unhappily, they ended up with cars nearly as stodgy as the prior versions. DeSoto Firedome V8 and Chrysler Windsor and Windsor Deluxe were the Mopar choices versus Clipper. Each make did see increases for 1953 for the effort. Good thing, because DeSoto saw 27% fewer Firedomes leave the lots and Chrysler moved 48% fewer Windsors. At Chrysler, ’Tex’ Colbert couldn’t wait for the 1955 “Forward Look” model year to begin.

Nash Ambassador and Hudson Hornet rounded out the independent automaker choices, taking hits as well: Ambassador down 35%; Hornet off only 9%. Hudson had been on a slide since 1951 soldering-on in its by then seven-model-years old body series. The 1954 restyle may have prevented the drop from being worse. Hudson had bigger problems; all their remaining development funds were spent to build the compact Jet, which was failing in its segment; a merger with Nash their last hope. Nash Ambassador had diminished from its all-new 1952 models sales highs by 20% for 1953, clearly sometimes even a new body series didn’t help. In a atmosphere where the OHV V8 was increasingly becoming accepted as the most desirable engine, any medium-priced car with an L-Head, in-line eight and especially L-Head six under the hood would increasingly experience sales troubles. The days of the six cylinder medium-priced car were rapidly drawing to a close.

From GM, Oldsmobile 98 and Buick Super plus the new-for-1954 Century would be the greatest challengers. Of the former, the Ninety-Eight had been changed for 1952-’53 from C-body shared with Roadmaster and Cadillac to an extended-deck OB body shared with the Olds 88 and Buick Special. Buick for 1950-’53 continued with the B and C-body Super and Roadmaster and smaller OB-body Special. All were in either their third or four model year on a particular body series. Buick had a bewildering variety of B, OB and C-bodies that would be rationalized to two body series for 1954, which was set for total renewal of all three makes. It was going to be a tough year for any competitor without something new or newer and highly appealing to offer, notwithstanding any economic headwinds exacerbating the difficulties.

How well did that investment return for GM? On balance, quite well for a generally down year for the industry battered by the post-Korean War recession. Olds 98 off only 7% from 1953. Buick, now with the reintroduced Century to assist the Super: 105% over the ’53 Super! Buick also benefited from slight price reductions and model realignments. For Cadillac 62, only down 14%, a minor dip in a generally upward decade-long trajectory.

As context: For 1954 versus 1953, Lincoln was only down 9%; Chrysler Imperial off 36%. The latter was only a minor concern, the Imperial was at best primarily a vanity project so Chrysler would claim to be a full-line company with the side benefit of providing executives a fine luxury car to drive on par with their contemporaries.

Though not directly in Clipper's price class initially, noteworthy was Mercury’s drop of only 15%. One would think it would have suffered much more given the push of its less expensive brother Ford‘s ongoing price war. But, Mercury benefited from an all-new OHV V8 engine, ball-joint front suspension, plus a very appealing restyle for ‘54. Mercury’s rising popularity was a source of consternation to Jim Nance who wondered why his Clipper wasn’t doing so to the same degree. He might have noted that for 1955 Mercury was successfully exploiting the very hardtop-styled sedan segment with its new Montclair sport sedan. And, yes, it did infringe on the Clipper market at $2,685, one dollar less than a Clipper Super sedan at list. 1956 would be the second blow of a one-two punch; B-pillar-less four door hardtops available throughout all four series.

So, how faired Packard for ‘54? Compared to 1953: Clippers down 64%; Cavalier off 76% and Patrician diminished 63%. Some of this can be attributed to the late year 1953 overproduction due to earlier material commitments and the resulting glut of 1953 leftovers, albeit at discounted prices, replacing sales of the late-introduced 1954 models. A 10,000 unit shift from '53 to '54 would have yielded a 38% drop, more in line with Ambassador. The one minor bright spot were the total hardtops, down only 7%, offset somewhat by the more expensive Pacific. Other than the new Panama and Pacific hardtops, ’sore-thumb’ taillights, minor trim and upholstery changes, high-horsepower new 359 ci engine, albeit only for the most affluent buyers, not much gave prospects any major reasons to select the Clippers or Packards over their competitors.

Notwithstanding the Ford-Chevy price war that was consuming all the oxygen throughout the market, driving the lower-priced independents to the wall, the middle-priced segment was brutal as well. Would a series of new hardtop-sedans, upgraded trim, refreshed styling and an exciting new series have stemmed the terrible downturn? Who can say for sure. Better they should have acted, rather than dithering while Rome ’burned‘, leaving themselves setting ducks in hopes holding out for improved ’hail Mary” pass 1955 model year.

Thanks for reading my latest diatribe, your comments welcomed.

Steve

Posted on: 4/18 9:56:00
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Proud 1953 Clipper Deluxe owner.
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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Joined:
2015/1/16 9:43
From sw, pa
Posts: 1119
Is all this enough for people to take notice of Packard? Haven't seen a front end drawing of the above proposed car. But isn't the public going to think this Packard is just pedaling last years cars for 1955 with straight 8's as obsolete tech?

Posted on: 4/18 11:35:13
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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Joined:
2013/7/7 17:48
From Northern California
Posts: 282
Packard really should have had a V-8 no later than 1953. Had Nance arrived at Packard in 1949 when Packard first approached him, this might have happened. I've long had a theory - and I've never found anything to either prove it or disprove it - that Christopher, because he had worked at Buick and was trying to shape Packard as Buick's chief rival rather than Cadillac's chief rival, that Christopher stuck with the straight eight because Buick was sticking with the straight eight. In the same vein because Buick was developing Dynaflow, Christopher had Packard develop Ultramatic. Thus no V-8 was in the pipeline for Packard. This was one of the major nails Christopher hammered into what would become Packard's coffin.

1955 was really a watershed year for the industry. With major restyles/new bodies at GM and Chrysler and the handsome '55 Mercurys, Packard HAD to have the refresh that it got for '55. Had they gone into '55 with warmed-over '54s, they wouldn't have had the volume they had, Conner quality issues aside.

I think the ideas you post here for '55 would better fit '54, even though I understand your rationale of preparing for the all-new '56s by saving tooling costs in '55.

The wrap-around windshield was a have-to-have feature in the mid'50s. I think Teague's solution for '55 on the '51 body shell was the correct one. A step toward that for '54 could have been a Studebaker-like tilt to the front door vent wing while leaving the windshield alone:

Attach file:



jpeg  54 Packard proposal.jpeg (151.71 KB)
13111_5e9bdd4c689a3.jpeg 1262X573 px

Posted on: 4/18 22:10:44
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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Joined:
2008/2/16 15:39
From Santa Fe
Posts: 5373
Packard tried to do it all with its 1955 models: new V8 engine, newly engineered automatic transmission, revolutionary torsion level suspension system, and drastically restyled body. Any one of these new features would have been big news to any auto maker, but to have them all in one year was more than Packard's limited resources could accommodate. Add to this the relocation from EGB to the Conner plant and its a wonder they were able to pull it off at all. They were desperately trying to catch up after years of being behind the engineering and styling trends and deal with the Briggs cancellation. Good on them for giving it all they had. Heroic efforts that almost worked.

Posted on: 4/19 10:20:50
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Packards Owned -
37 Six (115C) Convertible Coupe (1089) - Now in Belgium
47 Clipper Custom Super Touring Sedan (2122) - Now in Virginia
55 Cipper Super Sedan (5542) - Now in Maryland

We move toward and make happen what occupies our mind. (W. Scherer)
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