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1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
#1
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BryanMoran
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I used to have a Collectible Automobile magazine on the Executive, but I may have to re-purchase.

There is a seller in the Cormorant News Bulletin advertising a 56 Executive 2 door hardtop for sale. I spoke with him yesterday.

I did a google search on 56 Executive and found a nice article which refreshed my memory.

The production numbers for the Executive were 2815 in 2 door and 4 door.

What is the actual production for the 56 Executive 2 door hardtop? I understand they basically were last minute desperation replacements for the Clipper Customs.

Since I read the book The Fall of Packard Motor Car Company by James ward, I have wanted a 56 Packard because he made it seem like "I was there" in the final days of Packard.

My thinking was that by buying and owning a 56 Packard, I was owning a better portrait of automobile history then, say, a 1966 Ford Galaxie.

I could sort of feel the anguish of Packard line workers as they knew they might be assembling the last true Packards.

So, here is a 56 Executive, arguably less then a 400 or Patrician BUT a definitely unique last minute desperation tactic by Nance to "save" Packard.

What intrigues me is that production of the Executive did not begin until - what? - February 1956. By June all production had ceased. Therefore, all Executives had to be made in the last 4-5 months of production.

The reason for my post is to get the experts to chime in on facts or fiction regarding Executives, whether the Executives are seen as interesting artifacts in the eyes of Packard collectors, whether they are indeed rare in the 2 door hardtop configuration and whether they are seen much at all in the meets and events.

I like the looks of the Executive with the heavier front Packrd grille. I like the smooth looks of the Clipper Custom and could care less whether a 352 or 374 powers the car, it would be adequate.

Posted on: 2014/7/11 18:49
I restore the car, and the car restores me.
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Re: 1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
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Steve203
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According to the classiccardatabase.com, there were 1031 2 door and 1784 4 door Executives built. Those production numbers compare to 3224 2 door 400s and 3775 Patricians built. The database also shows the Exeutive originally priced about $500 above the top Clipper trim.

The Gilmore museum outside of Kalamazoo, MI has an Executive 2 door, which I stop to admire every time I am there. I prefer the deeper hoods over the headlights and Packard grill vs what the Clipper had, and I prefer the 56 Clipper taillight treatment to the senior line, so the Executive, to my eye, is the best of both worlds.

That car is probably a survivor, because I see signs of shoddy assembly that I can't imagine a restorer leaving as is, like a quarter inch gap between the piece of trim that runs under the headlight and the trim that runs down the fender. The car also has the pushbutton gear selector.

The photo is the one at the Gilmore.

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Posted on: 2014/7/11 19:53
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Re: 1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
#3
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HH56
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The one thing I would have changed on the Exec would have been to make it entirely senior with the senior dash instead of keeping the Clipper dash. I know it's a small thing but still, it did have the name Packard and I would have thought it deserved the little bit of extra elegance.

Posted on: 2014/7/11 20:37
Howard
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Re: 1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
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Steve203
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The one thing I would have changed on the Exec would have been to make it entirely senior with the senior dash

Heck, I would have gone all in and given it the 374 as well. Pitch it as the "sporty" Packard, more agile, due to smaller size, and quicker due to 100lbs less weight with the same engine, but "every inch a Packard" rather than a mid market Clipper.

But Nance never asked me.

Posted on: 2014/7/12 0:47
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Re: 1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
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BryanMoran
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Would have been a great idea - 374. Buick did it for years putting the big senior motor in the smaller B Body, called it a Century. Customers wanted that more then luxury, in a way, in 1955/56.

The Century shared their wheelbase and interior with the bottom of the line Special, so in the respect of having a lesser "Clipper" interior, it would have been the same.

But the 374 4 barrel would have smoked a 56 Century with 322 4 barrel.

Posted on: 2014/7/12 7:19
I restore the car, and the car restores me.
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Re: 1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
#6
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BryanMoran
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Thanks for providing the numbers Steve. I figured it was rare, and we know they were built in the last days, so I believe I am going to move forward on this purchase.

It's interesting to note quite a few 56 Packards survived and when you think about it, production numbers in the 3000's as with the 400 and the Patrician, allow a good decent survival rate. (6000 + total).

I hope that the Executive was given a unique model number and I am going to have to determine where the badging is located. The car I am considering is sans front clip.

It's cheap, so no issues but...

Posted on: 2014/7/12 7:24
I restore the car, and the car restores me.
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Re: 1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
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Steve203
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I hope that the Executive was given a unique model number

It was. 2 door Executive: 5677A. 5647 and 5667 are Clippers. Others on this board can confirm where the ID plates are for that model/year as I'm not sure.

The front clip missing worries me a bit, as that is the easiest way to ID an Executive vs a Clipper. Some people may want to try and "badge engineer" a "rare" Executive from a more common Clipper.

The Executive's bodyside stripe was the same width for the length of the car. The Clipper's stripe broadened toward the rear of the car, so that would be another way to ID which it really is, assuming the paint has enough wear to be original.

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Posted on: 2014/7/12 9:17
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Re: 1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
#8
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HH56
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It was. 2 door Executive: 5677A. 5647 and 5667 are Clippers. Others on this board can confirm where the ID plates are for that model/year as I'm not sure.

On the drivers door jamb just below the upper hinge.

Posted on: 2014/7/12 9:26
Howard
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Re: 1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
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Steve203
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So...how did the investigation of the Executive turn out?

Posted on: 2014/7/16 0:29
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Re: 1956 Executive Discussion / Comments
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Dan
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The '56 Executive is also MY favorite Packard model from that year, especially the 2-door hardtop.

(I also like that particular year because I was born in 1956.)

Posted on: 2014/7/16 8:44
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