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1956 Conner Production
#1
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Dave Brownell
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For those of us who share our automotive enthusiasm with Packards and other makes, boring stats can become fascinating. I think my Corvette friends can out-do almost anyone when it comes to dates, changes and parts number correctness. For me, their publishing of the vehicle number of the last Corvette produced each month of a production year allowed me to accurately tell when each of my four were produced, either in St. Louis or Bowling Green.

The various accounts of the many Perfect Storms of Packard's final year in Detroit continues to grow; the latest having to do with the confusing overproduction and dumping of past models to compete with current cars in dealerships. Ward even comments that only 229 cars were produced in February to smoothe the mix between stock and demand. Was anything easy coming Packard's way in 1956?

With factory shut and slow downs, is there a comparable way to determine, say when my Executive hardtop (5677a-1352) entered the fray in those last few months? I know that they were introduced March 5, but with that low production in the month before, it's unlikely that mine primed the dealers stocks before the introduction. With only a comparative few Executive hardtops made in the final three months, having a final vehicle number for each month of the 56xx series would be enlightening. Is the only answer to my question in the South Bend archives or might it be elsewhere?

Posted on: 2016/4/26 9:38
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Re: 1956 Conner Production
#2
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Kevin
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My guess is that unless a few folks on here with Executive hardtops already have researched their cars and establish some data points for you, then the best answer you will find will be in South Bend. It's possible The Packard Club's V8 roster keeper could have some data points; if you check the PAC website, you might be able to find out who's tracking them nowadays.

With a total production of 1,031 and serial numbers starting at 1001, your car would have been the 352nd Exec HT built. I'd take a wild guess of late March or early April for your car, as Packard was trying (desperately) to come up with something that would create cash flow during the spring selling season while they still had some semblance of a dealer body to move the metal. I believe Executives would have been high on the prioritization list, right behind any sold orders.

If your build order sheet is not on file in South Bend, maybe they could seek out a few hardtops either side of your serial number to try and narrow down the date range. I would recommend making a phone call inquiry first, as the website contact form that I submitted did not work for me.

Posted on: 2016/4/26 13:05
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Re: 1956 Conner Production
#3
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Owen_Dyneto
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Also, you might check with Roscoe Stelford, he's got a lot of data on 56 production and is an Executive fan to boot.

Posted on: 2016/4/26 13:09
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Re: 1956 Conner Production
#4
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Dave Brownell
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Thanks for the suggestion to contact Mr.Stelford. Our conversation was amazingly productive.

Posted on: 2016/4/26 15:19
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Re: 1956 Conner Production
#5
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Owen_Dyneto
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Thanks for the suggestion to contact Mr.Stelford. Our conversation was amazingly productive..

So...don't leave us in the dark, what did you learn?

Posted on: 2016/4/26 15:21
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Re: 1956 Conner Production
#6
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Dave Brownell
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Like you, I'm holding some of my cards close to my chest. I got some documentary proof that my Esquire had both SPEC and REQ codes, was completed on June 14 and was held in factory storage for future shipment to DuBois Packard in VA. I gather that the ordering prospective owner paid a $850 deposit, then got cold feet, presumably because of bad news about the brand's prospects.

Separately, I have previously found evidence that DuBois got stuck with it as an orphan new car on their lot, moving it just before New Years at an almost $2000.oo discount. I wonder if Harry DuBois refused to refund that original deposit and applied it to I offset that discount?

I will have to go to the South Bend archives for information on the late April, early May Executive hardtop. Until I find out more, I can only imagine the turbulence surrounding its birth in confusing times at Packard.

Posted on: 2016/4/26 18:48
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Re: 1956 Conner Production
#7
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Owen_Dyneto
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Glad you established contact with Roscoe, he's just a huge source of information and a real gentlemen - next time you speak with him give him my regards. You may remember he's the gentleman who gave us the factory data on the experimental fuel injection system initially planned for the 1956 cars. He was also my source for hundreds of new Packard delivery tickets from Goss Motors in the bathtub era. And so much more!

As well, he is an occasional correspondent on these pages.

Posted on: 2016/4/27 9:11
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