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IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
#1
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Dan
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Okay, I know I'm preaching to the choir here...but I think the 1951-1956 designs STILL look good today.

From what I've read, Packards were considered 'stodgy' in their day (though I doubt anyone would consider the '55-'56 updates stodgy). In my opinion, they've held up well as examples of (relatively) clean styling, given some of the chrome-laden designs used by their competitors.

Thoughts?

Posted on: 2008/10/28 15:10
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Re: IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
#2
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Cli55er
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that sounds like something someone that owns a Bel-Air would say....not everyone can own THE ONE to ask the man who owns one ;)

Posted on: 2008/10/28 16:04
1937 Packard 138-CD Deluxe Touring Limousine
Maroon/Black 1090-1021
[url=http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/registry/View.php?ID=232]1955 Packard
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Re: IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
#3
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HH56
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I think Packards reputation for stodgy was based on their always conservative philosophy and the demographic they were made for. A lot of it carried over from the prewar styling where they were finely equipped luxury cars, but stylewise, maybe not as low or long or flashy as some of the competition because that is not what their buyers wanted.

Postwar, the same was true as others updated to what was considered a more modern look while Packard updated but held back. I think the same was as true then as today; that being you didn't want to drive your fathers car. While Packard was aimed at the conservative banker and corporate raider types, their sons wanted flashier cars, hence the reputation.

There was a commercial some years back that went approximately "When bulges were in, Buick did them better than anyone, and then boxy came in vogue, so Buick did it again and now when sleek is in, Buick is at the forefront." Each time showing a representative car.

Packard was there too, just not as extreme anywhere along the evolution.

Posted on: 2008/10/28 17:58
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Re: IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
#4
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Jack Vines
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Doesn't matter what we like, the buyers of the day made their choice. When looking at them from a distance, the '50s Packards aren't so bad. Park them nose-to-nose with a same-year '50s Cadillac and Packards stand tall and stogy. GM really got lower and sleeker while Packard couldn't afford to do the same.

thnx, jack vines

Posted on: 2008/10/28 18:14
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Re: IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
#5
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55PackardGuy
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Interesting tidbit on the old complaint about the "Reinhart High-Pockets" design which influenced Packard styling from '51 to '56. He didn't like it. He wanted to lower the beltline another inch and a half back with the original design changes in '51, saying that it was "bottom-heavy." (He's quoted in Kimes, page 546) "I wasn't particularly happy with it, but then I hated every design I ever made anyway. You never get what you really want..."

Spoken like a true engineer: compromise. The story was that sheet metal tooling wasn't a problem but the cost of glass was, hence the higher beltline with a proportionately lower "greenhouse."

I think the effect is quite striking--more so on the '51-'54 because of a 'chopped' look that results. Also, when they could refrain from chrome spears to give the appearance of "sleekness" the Reinhart cars had that wonderful "slab-sided" look like the Caribbean. Hollywood liked it, and even gave 'em an award for the "Most Beautiful Car In the World" in 1951 from the Society of Motion Picture Art Directors. So, why weren't they prominent in more movies? Often, especially in older pictures, you can tell what company supplied the cars because there were several of the latest models in scene after scene. I wonder if Packard didn't want to play ball with that for some reason.

Posted on: 2008/10/28 22:27
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Re: IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
#6
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HH56
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Agree. My favorite of that 51-4 era was the 54 Pacific. IMHO just the right amount of chrome and positioned just right to minimize the "high pockets" and shorter wheelbase.

Good point about the movies. I don't remember seeing many Packards but that could also be due to the fact there were vast numbers of Fords and Chevys and everything else compared to the few P's produced. Wonder if mfgs had to pay for product placement back then, or Packard just didn't want to give the cars away--which sounds like what they'd do after reading about the way they were treated.. Do remember a Clipper in an episode of Superman. Came tearing down the road bouncing, and came to a screeching stop (literally, brakes squealed at end of stop).

Posted on: 2008/10/28 22:39
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Re: IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
#7
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Jim
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Quote:

MIDan wrote:
Okay, I know I'm preaching to the choir here...but I think the 1951-1956 designs STILL look good today.

From what I've read, Packards were considered 'stodgy' in their day (though I doubt anyone would consider the '55-'56 updates stodgy). In my opinion, they've held up well as examples of (relatively) clean styling, given some of the chrome-laden designs used by their competitors.

Thoughts?


I like the 51 to 56 cars. They truly got the Caribbean convertibles right. I came into the Packard ownership via the 51 to 54 lineage. They are a handsome vehicle that is a charming mixture of old and new. I still enjoy seeing these cars at shows, and respect the time, effort, and expense that the owners put into these relevant pieces of living Packard history. To this day, I would not totally rule out owning another 51 to 56 in my own personal stable.

Jim

Posted on: 2008/10/28 22:49
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Re: IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
#8
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Loyd Smith
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One cannot help but marvel at the disparity of tastes in all things, including automobiles.

Although I own one, today, and love the car - I thought they'd completely lost it when the 55th Series cars came out with all of the extemporaneous, "shiny," stuff tacked onto it.

Packard's simplicity of line and lack of unnecessary embellishment and the fact that they didn't change things every year, just for the sake of change, had always been one of their selling points.

I think that public taste and perception of, "quality," changed drastically in the ten years following the war. Following the depression and the shortages of product during the war, everyone seemed to want, "new," stuff and paid less attention to true quality.

All things considered and with the benefit of hindsight, however, the, "high-pockets," design still appears more attractive on the 1951 - 1954 cars than on the 55th and 56th Series ones - to me. The Caribbeans looked better than any of the rest of them.

Posted on: 2008/10/29 6:54
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Re: IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
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BigKev
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I have had more than one person ask if my '54 was chopped because of the "high-pockets" style.

Intresting enough, the newer Chrylser 300s have a similar "high pockets", low greenhouse design.

Posted on: 2008/10/29 12:33
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Re: IMHO, the 1950s Packard designs have held up well...
#10
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Owen_Dyneto
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I likewise have always liked the Reinhart 51-56 body shell and thought it quite competitive for a conservative style. Kevin makes a great point about how well the same concept succeeds on the Chrysler 300. I thought the 51/52 models a bit plain and frumpy, even the Patricians were frugal compared to the 23rd series Custom 8 and it was a major error that the convertibles and hardtops weren't a senior car, but by 1953 and 54 I thought the whole line was very attractive and nicely trimmed. One of my largest suprises years back was when I realized the 55/56 cars were reworks of the basic 51 shell, it was nothing short of an amazing transformation; though those cars were glitzy, colorful and chrome-laden, that's what the public wanted - just look at a 56 Hudson or DeSoto/Chrysler for comparison.

I like some of the bathtubs (owned 2), especially the Custom 8s and especially the victorias of that model, but overall the 22nd/23rd series were, while perhaps competitive with Nash and a few other bulbous designs, good sellers in the market but the passage of time hasn't treated them as well as it might have. Tough luck for Packard that WW II took away the excitement and momentum of the original Clipper design. Hindsight is always advantaged of course, but I would rather have seen the 42-47 Clipper style soldier on another year another or two, with a convertible added, and skipped the bathtub era altogether.

Posted on: 2008/10/29 12:44
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