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Under hood prop rod
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2017/9/29 18:30
From Babylon NY
Posts: 55
I watched an episode of Jay Leno’s garage and he was showing his 1955 Caribbean when he opened the hood he mentioned the prop rod to help hold the hood open, I definitely do not have one on my 55 400 .is this correct? Thanks

Posted on: 10/21 3:48:52
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Re: Under hood prop rod
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/3/21 18:20
Posts: 2304
Only the Caribs got that. They had added-on hood scoops. The weight of lead in the seams made made the prop rod necessary.

Posted on: 10/21 4:41:55
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Re: Under hood prop rod
Home away from home
Joined:
2011/6/5 22:18
From Johnstown PA
Posts: 190
To add to Ross’ comment, the hood Rod was added to the 55 Caribbean because the added weight of the lead used to add the hood scoops was too much for the springs and the hood became a guillotine.
The earliest cars...including mine ...did not have the rod. I am pretty sure that the Howard Hughes- Jean Peters car lacked the rod. Leeedy can confirm, I’m sure.
I added one on mine for safety and bought one for a friend who was doing a 400 from Merritt.
Originality is nice but safety takes priority

Posted on: 10/21 6:12:43
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Re: Under hood prop rod
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/4/10 19:10
From USA
Posts: 198
The 1953 and '54 Caribbeans had the prop rod as well. They were not needed on the 1956 Caribbeans, as those cars had the scoops stamped into the sheet metal, thus the '56 Caribbean hoods weighed the same as the other '56 hoods.

Posted on: 10/21 9:40:31
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Re: Under hood prop rod
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 737
Quote:

ewrecks wrote:
To add to Ross’ comment, the hood Rod was added to the 55 Caribbean because the added weight of the lead used to add the hood scoops was too much for the springs and the hood became a guillotine.
The earliest cars...including mine ...did not have the rod. I am pretty sure that the Howard Hughes- Jean Peters car lacked the rod. Leeedy can confirm, I’m sure.
I added one on mine for safety and bought one for a friend who was doing a 400 from Merritt.
Originality is nice but safety takes priority


Okay. One thing that Jay Leno does not tell people (and Jay probably does not know himself–and apparently even Packard people don't notice) but HIS 1955 Caribbean was a special-order car. It is not a standard Caribbean. Neither the exterior colors nor the interior are standard Caribbean on Jay's car. It was done by the factory, true, but all special-ordered when new. I know this car fairly well and it lived in the Pasadena, California area for many years before Jay bought it.

SO. You can't use Jay's Caribbean as any yardstick of what a 1955 Caribbean should–or should not have. His is one of a kind–whether he realizes it or not.

As for lead in Caribbean hoods... yes, for 1953 and 1954. No for 1955. And definitely no for 1956. The 1953-54 hoods were modified at Mitchell-Bentley and yes, used lots ot lead. The first of these hoods was very stiffly sprung to compensate for the lead, but then the hood bent during an early demonstration. So? They went back to normal counterbalance springs and added the support strut for production.

Now I have said this before in the early 1970s in the Earle C. Anthony "Packard News" newsletter. Published it elsewhere as well. 1955 Caribbean hoods used a pair stamped metal housings and cast plated "openings" for their scoops. However, rather than lead, Packard used a proprietary material they called "Packard New Metal" to smooth in the scoop housings where they were joined to the hood. YES... there was such stuff and you could even buy it via the parts department.

"Packard New Metal" was probably the first factory use of what amounted to a metallized substance that today we might generically refer to as "bondo." Only Packard New Metal actually did contain metal granules that one would not find in today's bondo. So... the 1955 Caribbean hoods did not use lead. Packard claimed to have invented the stuff and certainly did a lot of development with it. But... nobody seems to remember these things. It was all lost in the shuffle of other stuff going on in 1955-56. Yet one more pioneering effort that Packard made that it does not receive credit for initiating.

I had a couple of cans and paper write-ups and instructions for Packard New Metal. But this was all stolen along with my 1956 Caribbean convertible, my 1956 Four Hundred and a barn full of Packard parts (and old bicycles) when I was robbed years ago. I'm sure the dirtbag robbers had no idea what Packard New Metal was... even though they stole it and certainly had it in their possession. Have any of you ever seen this stuff?

Anyway, the factory determined that the 1955 hoods were not heavy enough to require a support strut. Certainly there was absolutely no need for a strut on other 1955-56 Packards and Clippers. And no, the Howard Hughes/Jean Peters Caribbean did not have one. However, the factory allowed dealers to request a support strut and based on those individual requests, some 1955 Caribbeans ended up with hood support struts.

Hope this clears things up.

Posted on: 10/22 10:12:02
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Re: Under hood prop rod
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/7 19:30
From Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 2116
Leeedy,

The parts book lists a prop for 5588, and the radiator top splasher has a 5588 only part.

Parts book group;
0.0091
0.0092
0.00923
0.0095
And
30.87498

You think these were a late add asked for by the dealers?

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Posted on: 10/22 14:20:12
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Re: Under hood prop rod
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 737
Quote:

Let the ride decide wrote:
Leeedy,

The parts book lists a prop for 5588, and the radiator top splasher has a 5588 only part.

Parts book group;
0.0091
0.0092
0.00923
0.0095
And
30.87498

You think these were a late add asked for by the dealers?


Hello...

I'm only going by what I know.

I've seen this car before. Of course the Packard here in these photos is quite obviously not a normal factory example of a 1955 Caribbean since there were no factory Caribbean hardtops for 1955. Meaning each was specially assembled and/or custom built. Which takes us far off in another direction and we can go over this all night long. What I'm talking about are line production, factory-spec 1955 Caribbeans.

1955 Packards were built according to orders that were teletyped to the Conner Avenue Plant. Very advanced technology for 1955. Another advanced technology thing that Packard did that nobody seems to know about today.

Therefore it would be easy to substitute one part for the other...OR it would be just as easy for a dealer to order one and do a pre-delivery or post-delivery installation. Piece of cake. Unscrew a few sheet metal bolts and swap radiator aprons. The support was built right onto the radiator apron.

As I said before... a dealer (or customer) could request the hood prop strut. But it was decided that these were not normally installed in 1955 Caribbeans. And the 1955 hoods were not intended to be leaded.

And as I said, they made the part, so obviously there would be a part number. But having a part number does not mean it was a line-installed production component for all 1955 Caribbeans.

Last-minute production decisions/changes rarely make it into a parts book which is usually already written and printed well before cars are at the dealerships. Sometimes if it is realllly important, then a service bulletin (or some similar thing) will be issued to dealers. Otherwise, it wasn't considered that big of a deal and service managers or sales managers were advised in regular updates. These are the kinds of things that people outside of the industry rarely know about. The danger of going by listings in parts books for any automobile. I wrote a few of these in my career–so I know.


Posted on: 10/22 20:13:45
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