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The Knackered Packard (1953 Clipper Touring Sedan)
Not too shy to talk
Joined:
2016/6/29 7:24
From Detroit, MI
Posts: 20
I just collected a 1953 Clipper Touring Sedan in fairly good condition. Located in Lorain, Ohio, about two and a half hours from my home in Detroit. The previous owner claimed it was originally a Texas car by way of New Jersey. Driver's and front passenger's floor boards are rusted through, and the original fuel tank, while present, has a huge hole cut in the top. Apparently that was the work of a shipper who needed to make sure the tank was dry. Why they didn't use the factory drain is beyond me, but it shouldn't be a terribly difficult fix. The floor boards will be a problem, but not an immediate one. They're still solid enough to drive around in dry conditions.

The good news is that the car is in near-complete running and driving condition. The current tires are massively dry-rotted, holding just enough air to inflate and drive around for a few minutes. So it'll get new Diamond whitewalls once I tackle a few other things. New spark plug wires are already on the way. They're the first step in my scheme to make this thing into a daily. Original parts will be retained where possible, but reliability is job one. Any replacement parts will be selected for easy maintenance and readily-available spares, and everything I remove will be carefully stored or made available to the community. Over the next few months, every wire, line, and hose in the car will be re-plumbed. I'm also planning to move the front seats back about 4 inches; at 6'4", fifties cars don't fit me terribly well.

The rest of the plan is a bumper-to-bumper 12V conversion anchored by a GM CS130 alternator, a rewound or replaced starter motor, an electric fuel pump, diode-based interior lighting, and a 6V DC-DC power supply for the horns and cluster, all connected via a scratch-built, weather-sealed harness. On the several-years scale, a 5-speed manual conversion is likely, along with a subtle drop (2in or so) and new period-look wheels from Detroit Steel Wheel Co. or SoCal Speed Shop.

And yes, Mal, it's already in the registry.

Posted on: 2016/7/18 10:29
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Re: The Knackered Packard (1953 Clipper Touring Sedan)
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/10/10 7:29
From grand rapids, mi, usa
Posts: 1105
You may also want to look into seat belts when you do the floor.

I believe pre-war Packards had dealers select hardwood shims between the seat tracks and floor (my 41 had them) to adjust the seat height to the customer. Might be a good idea for you, just remember that big wheel to fit under.

I'd urge you to really think about the drop. Besides the appearance, it can alter the suspension geometry. Likewise on the wheel swap.

Posted on: 2016/7/18 14:23
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Re: The Knackered Packard (1953 Clipper Touring Sedan)
Not too shy to talk
Joined:
2016/6/29 7:24
From Detroit, MI
Posts: 20
Seat belts are definitely happening. 3-point, if I can figure out a way to attach the shoulder points without modifying the headliner and other interior trim. For the front, there's a trim overlap I can probably exploit to route the attachments. The rear may have to live with lap belts.

Thank you for the tip about the front seats. Haven't gotten started on the interior yet, so I'm not exactly sure how I'll tackle it. The seated height is fine, it's just the fore-aft position that makes it a little tricky to maneuver my feet around the pedals.

The suspension geometry problem is a sticky one. That's part of why it's in the indeterminate future. More pressing concerns for now, but I believe I can either live with the geometry problems or engineer my way around them. If I want to go the whole hog, I have some friends who manufacture excellent fabricated steel kingpins designed for off-road vehicles. Odds are they could set me up. Whatever happens, permanently modifying factory hardware is not in the cards.

Posted on: 2016/7/18 15:35
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Re: The Knackered Packard (1953 Clipper Touring Sedan)
Forum Ambassador
Joined:
2007/5/20 1:34
From Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
Posts: 10570
G'day Lex,
to PackardInfo and for including your '53 Clipper Touring Sedan in the Packard Owner's Registry.

Posted on: 2016/7/18 16:20
_________________
Mal
/o[]o\
====


"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

'38 Eight Sedan 38's are great! (Sold July 2009)
'41 120 Club Coupe 41's the One! (Sold October 2017)
'48 2222 "Almost" Rolling Limo Chassis and Engine (Sold Sept 2019)
'50 Eight Touring Sedan(Sold Feb 2020)

Project Blogs:
'41 120 Club Coupe - Locked
Wade's Workshop - Locked
'50 Eight Touring Sedan

What's this? >>>>>> FAQ - Add your Packard to the Owners Registry
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Re: The Knackered Packard (1953 Clipper Touring Sedan)
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/11/18 9:02
From Dalton, NY
Posts: 2379
Hi Lex

Congratulations on your Packard purchase and welcome to the Forum. You'll find the most friendly, helpful, generous, knowledgeable and civil group here standing ready for advice and encouragement as you work to make your '53 Clipper Special a daily driver.

Please start a project blog if you haven't already, it makes it easier for folks to respond to your specific problems, find their advice later, and for everyone to follow your progress. Good luck with your '53 Clipper.

Here's a photo of your Clipper I saved from the CL posting.

Steve

Attach file:



jpg  '53 Clipper Special Lorain, OH stick 6-16 b.jpg (79.28 KB)
409_578e2df837ca1.jpg 773X449 px

Posted on: 2016/7/19 6:42
_________________
.....epigram time.....
Proud 1953 Clipper Deluxe owner.
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Re: The Knackered Packard (1953 Clipper Touring Sedan)
Not too shy to talk
Joined:
2016/6/29 7:24
From Detroit, MI
Posts: 20
Thanks, Steve. I'm collecting plenty of photos as I go, and rest assured, I'll be updating that CL post photo with something a little more polished as soon as the old beast's back on the road.

Posted on: 2016/7/19 7:07
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Re: The Knackered Packard (1953 Clipper Touring Sedan)
Home away from home
Joined:
2013/12/19 12:14
From Fargo ND
Posts: 527
Lex, I put 3-point belts in my car and put some pix in a post to show it.
http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/mod ... id=167167#forumpost167167

With moving the seat back you would have to modify where/how the retracter mounts, either go with fixed belts or possibly figure out how to reverse the retracter housing so it fits tighter against the pillar.

there have also been some other discussions about belt installations and you can search for those for extra bathroom reading.

Posted on: 2016/7/19 11:18
_________________
1952 Model 200 Deluxe Touring Sedan
HA's 52 Grey Ghost

"The problem with quotes on the internet is you never know if they're true" - Abraham Lincoln
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Re: The Knackered Packard (1953 Clipper Touring Sedan)
Not too shy to talk
Joined:
2016/6/29 7:24
From Detroit, MI
Posts: 20
You worked out a very clean, simple installation for the Ghost's belts. Well done, and thanks for saving me the search. Definitely cribbing your ideas. I'm not exactly sure how the seat move will affect the belts yet; focusing on updating the ignition wiring, repairing the fuel tank, and figuring out the 12V starter problem.

On another note, does the Ghost have original upholstery? I believe mine was redone at some point, and I haven't seen a clean reference image for the original fabric before seeing that thread you linked.

Posted on: 2016/7/19 11:30
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Re: The Knackered Packard (1953 Clipper Touring Sedan)
Home away from home
Joined:
2013/12/19 12:14
From Fargo ND
Posts: 527
My car had the original upholstery, we're in the process of replacing that as it is not salvageable. There are better pix in the blog somewhere, although I haven't dared try to wash a spot of the fabric as it disintegrates pretty easily. We have been driving around with the seats wrapped in plastic to keep the mouse pee at bay, and at a car show a couple weeks ago a gal asked why the plastic as it looked like it was too late to save the seats. We told her it was more to save us instead.

Posted on: 2016/7/19 18:17
_________________
1952 Model 200 Deluxe Touring Sedan
HA's 52 Grey Ghost

"The problem with quotes on the internet is you never know if they're true" - Abraham Lincoln
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