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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
Will argue the counter view on Patrician. Cars were getting bigger and bigger by then and some folks, particularly women, didn't want to drive a big car and didn't need one. So we get to the question of whether they wanted a loaded one. For Packard the '56 Executive went a long way towards answering that. There would have also been manufacturing efficiency reasons, cars in same series that were almost identical except for wheelbase getting just about the same interior, exterior trim and equipment.

For lower volumes such as Caribbean and fast-becoming Patrician, another cost save to grouping several models into a common series, beside making them easy for the customer to understand, was advertising efficiency. When they showcased one car in the series they would always include a little blip about the other cars, so that every ad helped every body style rather than having to run a separate ad for every car. On the '55/56 300, I like the car but don't like the fact that it was a low volume play that robbed the much higher selling Imperial of its unique grill. Packard would have wanted folks who wanted a 122 loaded, fast coupe to buy the Caribbean hardtop, because that is exactly the audience it would have been designed for and the goal would have been to extract as much money from wallet as possible.

Just an alternative view...

Posted on: 3/31 13:05:10
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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
The Clipper Sportster sedan needed work so I cleaned it up and worked out a fixed pillar coupe as companion. Couldn't share the Caribbean's rear door window frame, was too upright. Front doors and B-pillar on both sedans would have been shared. Rear door dogleg would have been changed per 122 Patrician sedan, now cut like 127 sedans. The '53 dogleg was a holdover from '51-52 when there was a speedline on the fender that the dogleg had to wrap around.

Took cost out of the Sportster base models shown by forgoing chrome fins and reducing part count on the side trim. Interior would have been fairly austere but not embarrassingly so. 288 Eight would have been standard in '54, 320 V8 in '55, both with many displacement and horsepower upgrades available. Same with interior and exterior trim. Base price would have been no more than $100 over what the '54 Clipper Deluxe Club Sedan and Sedan had stickered at.

Here's what the '54/55 showroom would have looked like. The last one in Caribbean line-up would have been 2-3 special show cars made by Ionia, owned and maintained by Packard and made available to cities for parades, political campaigns, etc. similar to what Chrysler did with its 1952 parade cars. It would have been important for Packard to show that it still had that old magic.

Clipper Sportster
122 2D Pillared Hardtop Coupe
122 4D Pillared Hardtop Sedan

Patrician
122 4D Sedan
127 4D Touring Sedan
149 4D Executive Sedan (8-Pass)

Caribbean
122 2D Convertible Coupe
122 2D Hardtop Coupe
127 4D Pillared Hardtop Touring Sedan
149 4D Dual-Cowl Phaeton (8-Pass with cowl removed)


Does the strategy make sense? It would have potentially saved '54 and been modestly competitive in '55 without spending money on styling that year, competed with Cadillac at the high end and allowed the company to get an all-new car out in 1956 - in a fully sorted and cost-efficient Conner plant and with a sorted V8, Twin-Ultramatic and Torsion-Level. We know 1956 was the year the wheels came off on Packard and it wasn't just because of poor quality the previous year. The new Lincolns and Sedan DeVille made the cars uncompetitive. Nance, for all his strengths, blew '54 and '56... and '55 because of the quality issues. Throw in the Studebaker merger instead of a growing relationship with AMC and it was a quadruple whammy. The external factors - loss of defense contracts, Ford-Chevy battle, Independent stigma - might have been weathered had the internal factors been better managed.

Attach file:



jpg  1954 Packard 122 Clipper Sportster Coupe.jpg (30.27 KB)
2060_5e84f1e18d8ec.jpg 755X357 px

jpg  1954 Packard 122 Clipper Sportster Sedan.jpg (30.65 KB)
2060_5e84f1e9a8dbb.jpg 755X357 px

Posted on: 4/1 12:15:38
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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From Detroit, MI
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Given Henney's operational and cost dysfunction and Nance's decision to cut the cord in April 1954 (which he could have easily postponed a year had the '54 models been carried over to '55) there was another long wheelbase opportunity available to Packard for '54 that might have been worth exploring: a 2-row Executive sedan that married the coupe's 9 inch longer front doors to the 127 sedan, increasing its wheelbase to 136 inches.

My eyes could be wrong but the coupe's front window frames appear to follow the rain channel downward, so Packard would have needed to tool straight window frames, which would have opened up lots of possibilities to improve what would have otherwise been an odd greenhouse proportion given that the front doors were so much longer than rear.

One possibility would have been to shorten the front door window frames by several inches and increase B-pillar width same. A chrome applique that matched the two-tier design on C-pillar would have nicely covered the new B-pillar's wall of paint. A Derham formal version could have been cataloged too.

A 136 wb 2-row sedan and limousine would have targeted a different market than what Cadillac and Imperial had been competing in, one much less tied to the funeral market, more likely to be seen transporting Wall Street tycoons into NYC and movie stars to a red carpet Hollywood gala. Launching it in 1954 would have given Packard valuable data about the market's potential which could have been used in planning the all-new '56 models, and since Packard now leased Conner and controlled it, building the car there would have given the plant needed lwb experience that also could have informed the '56 plan.

Attach file:



jpg  1954 Packard Patrician 8 136 WB.jpg (75.28 KB)
2060_5e876f7c6ea37.jpg 1262X573 px

Posted on: 4/3 8:38:29
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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: 1077
I love the idea of using coupe doors to reduce tolling cost for a lwb car. The roof welds can be hidden under a padded roof. Packard was very good in this era at doing understated high quality interior. AC and power everything standard.

For the market size, I would like at the actual lwb market at the time ; Cadillac plus a few Lincolns and Imperials, and apply a reasonable share, say 30%, for the analysis. Cadillac was pretty much setting the market price, so you have estimates of volume, price, and cost. Bring it to the Board.

Posted on: 4/3 8:50:22
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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: 1765
Personally, I think that the coupe doors make it look a bit misproportioned as does the wide B pillar. Also, there is no point to using the coupe doors as they are wider on a coupe to allow rear seat access but this is a 4-door sedan which has its own doors for the purpose. Keeping the standard doors and pillar while widening the C pillar might look better and would help enhance the longer look in my opinion.

Posted on: 4/3 9:30:26
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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
The Board has received memo and recommendations, in process of gathering the needed sales data. In meantime, Studio has created a '55 version and asked the gentleman who sat for the 149 photo shoot to be the driver for this one too.

A lwb car with carry over sedan doors can certainly be used. Appearance improvements/detractions aside, cost versus current proposal would likely include:

Cost-Ups

- lengthening rear fenders 9 inches to align with rear doors, requiring new dies
- relocating rear door jam/dogleg 9 inches forward of wheel house and structurally connecting to wheelhouse. Need to study what, if anything, is involved.
- widening C-pillar 9 inches (for trimming and welding; would likely use stock sheet metal because surface appears to be on same plane)
- for models with division window will need to use Henney's more expensive curved windows & housing assembly
- new wider C-pillar applique

Cost-Downs

- no new tooled front window frames
- no new tooled upper B-pillar and applique
- slight material cost save for shorter front door

Await direction on whether to continue study.

Attach file:



jpg  1955 Packard Patrician V8 136 WB.jpg (79.89 KB)
2060_5e876a6eab40a.jpg 1262X573 px

Posted on: 4/3 10:14:43
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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
"For the market size, I would like at the actual lwb market at the time ; Cadillac plus a few Lincolns and Imperials, and apply a reasonable share, say 30%, for the analysis. Cadillac was pretty much setting the market price, so you have estimates of volume, price, and cost. Bring it to the Board."


Turns out we had the data, just had to plot it. The years 1953 through 1956 are projections (given that we are studying this in November 1952).

Because we think we can increase the market rather than simply reapportion its current size, we are showing the 3-row market continuing on its projected course and overlaying our car increasing the market by 30%. Our car's numbers would not change were we to gain 30% of an otherwise fixed market; rather, Cadillac and Imperial sales would decrease.

The key to our car being successful is appeal in the market and investment and material cost. The less it costs to bring to market, the lower the amortization burden.

If we can somehow get control of our production, be it at Conner or in some other facility (none of which are affordable at this time), then we would be able to minimize the labor portion of total piece cost and have a good chance of reaching or beating the MSRP target shown in graph.

Attach file:



jpg  1946 to 1956 US LWB Market Data.jpg (66.69 KB)
2060_5e878d9c80503.jpg 988X510 px

Posted on: 4/3 12:25:20
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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
An alternative decorative element for the wide B-pillar would be to install coach lights. Cost would be slightly higher than an applique due to bulb and wiring. When roof is leather-covered the B-pillar around the light might also look good covered.

Attach file:



jpg  1955 Packard Patrician V8 136 WB Coach Lights.jpg (79.96 KB)
2060_5e879616b2f95.jpg 1262X573 px

Posted on: 4/3 13:04:16
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
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Joined:
2008/10/10 7:29
From grand rapids, mi, usa
Posts: 1077
This feels realistic as a discussion - so I'm afraid the next round is inevitable.

Marketing and sales as usual projected a hockey stick growth. Engineering, production, finance, and probably general management were not amused, and asked why this should happen.

Assuming the current market size and shares, getting all the Imperial and Lincoln business would still not offer attractive volume, so we need to take share from Cadillac. Pricing like Imperial will likely result in the type of share they now have.
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?

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).

Oh dear, that felt like being back at work again.

Posted on: 4/3 13:05:27
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Re: 1953/4 Caribbean 4-door hardtop sedan exploration
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/10/10 7:29
From grand rapids, mi, usa
Posts: 1077
M63, we ain't never gonna agree on that B pillar :)

Posted on: 4/3 13:07:24
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