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Clipper registrations in '55 and '56
#1
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R Anderson
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Being that Clippers had "Packard" badges added by dealers (and factory?) sometime in '56 and that the attempt had been made earlier to separate them as 2 makes, does anyone know if Clippers were registered by states as Clippers or Packards in those 2 years (or earlier years for that matter). And did this vary from state to state? I can't remember how my '56 Clip Deluxe was registered in NY, didn't save the paperwork during a move.

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Posted on: 6/21 11:56
56 Clipper Deluxe survivor
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Re: Clipper registrations in '55 and '56
#2
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HH56
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The subject is briefly touched upon in the Kimes edited Auto Quarterly book at the start of chapter 30 written by Hamlin and Heinmuller entitled The House Falls. The way I read it would seem to indicate the Clipper separation started because of varied ways sales was thinking about how to best market Packards without the Clipper name dragging the brand down. Some miscommunication or complete lack thereof between the heads of the concerned departments as to whether it was actually a directive to do a separation then came along. Apparently some thought it was a directive and done deal so started the process but others hadn't been consulted at all and some that knew about the discussion were having second thoughts. Nance apparently got wind it was happening when one of the companies that keeps track of car production reported it as a given fact and then after talking to key people and some dealer feedback he made the decision to bring back the Packard script and keep it all as a single brand.

In another book (I cannot remember which one right now) it was reported that some state DMVs were resisting registering as Clippers because of a lack of documentation or official notice that apparently mfgs must file with their bureaucracy in advance of that kind of change. As to whether any cars actually were registered as Clippers I don't remember any of the books confirming this.

Posted on: 6/21 14:15
Howard
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Re: Clipper registrations in '55 and '56
#3
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R Anderson
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Thank you for that information Howard, seems like just one more aspect of the confusion going on those last couple of years.
Roger in NY

Posted on: 6/21 15:39
56 Clipper Deluxe survivor
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Re: Clipper registrations in '55 and '56
#4
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DavidPackard
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My 2 cents is the local DMV would look at the cowl/identification plate and whatever manufacture is identified that would be what goes on the title and registration. I’ve surfed a bit and found all kinds of ID plates, however when I include ‘Clipper’ into the search the only returns are for boats/ships.
dp

Posted on: 6/21 16:25
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Re: Clipper registrations in '55 and '56
#5
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Packard Don
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Clipper for 1956 only was a separate make and as such is properly registered as Clipper. I can’t say how many were registered that way but mine is. Mine also did not originally have the little Packard script but does now temporarily as I replace the trunk lid with one that has it. Incidentally, I am a Licensed California DMV Vin Verifier so have more than just a passing interest in getting things right on a registration.

Posted on: 6/21 16:38
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Re: Clipper registrations in '55 and '56
#6
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DavidPackard
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Don, I understand and appreciate your preciseness to detail on this subject.

Don other than badging are there any identification plates that state ‘Clipper’ on your car (same question for R Anderson)? The web confirms that for ’56 only, the Clipper was classified as a stand-alone marque produced by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation, so I assumed some type of ID plate would contain the name Clipper, only because later ID tags for other short lived ‘brands’ identified the new brand name. The web also acknowledges a process of authorization of Clipper dealers by the S-P Corporation prior to the ’56 model year, and if there was no Packard dealers close at hand Studebaker dealers could join in and become Clipper dealers. My assumption is we likely had local businesses that were Packard-Clipper dealers, or Studebaker-Clipper dealers, but no Clipper alone dealers. I’ve also assumed that HH56’s comment about state’s bureaucracy is absolutely true, in that the 48 individual states would have to agree/approve that the ‘new brand’ met the automotive standards for that state, prior to the titling/registration process. Perhaps there were gaps in the state submittal/approval process for the ’56 Clipper, but the car would otherwise be acceptable if registered as a Packard. All of this surely predates the ’58 ‘Monroney sticker’ legislation, and 17 character VINs. Sounds a lot like the 4 GM companion cars in the late ‘20s

R Anderson’s comment about last couple of years confusion seems to explain the situation quite well. At the local car shows I have a hard enough time explaining my car is a Packard, but imagine trying to explain a Clipper. I won’t mind having a ’56 Clipper as long as it was a standard transmission, non-power brakes, and non-torsion bar suspension . . . assuming there was one of those produced as long as we are going rare let’s go all the way.

dp

Posted on: 6/21 18:41
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Re: Clipper registrations in '55 and '56
#7
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Leeedy
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No need for any confusion regarding 1955-1956 Packard or Clipper.

Let's try thinking of Packard and Clipper as cars of today. Only in reverse. The Japanese car makers, for instance, over the past two decades introduced high-line, up-scale brands. These upscale brands had many of the same underpinnings but as I used to say, a Buick was a Chevy with lockwashers. Here are some examples:


Honda - Acura
Nissan - Infiniti
Toyota - Lexus



So just reverse the equation and don't attribute any of this to "confusion" at Packard:
Ferrari - Dino (in this case American customers yelled and screamed for the "Ferrari" name to be on the DINO line and Ferrari caved. Initially DINOs
were simply DINOs– as lesser-priced line with a V-6 instead of a V-12 or V-8. Look at engine blocks of the early Ferrari DINOs and you will see "FIAT"
since there was also a FIAT DINO line a well.)
Packard - Clipper (in this case Clipper dealers and customers yelled for the "Packard" name to be on 1955-56 Clippers and Packard caved)

Pretty much the same thing.

Yes, James Nance (and rightly so) wanted to divorce the Packard and Clipper lines. This was neither confusion nor mistake. You can see the wisdom of such a decision by merely looking at the Asian lines of cars today. But Packard never got the chance to live long enough to prove the marketing.

Posted on: 6/21 19:30
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Re: Clipper registrations in '55 and '56
#8
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Packard Don
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Quote:
Don other than badging are there any identification plates that state ‘Clipper’ on your car (same question for R Anderson)? The web confirms that for ’56 only, the Clipper was classified as a stand-alone marque produced by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation, so I assumed some type of ID plate would contain the name Clipper, only because later ID tags for other short lived ‘brands’ identified the new brand name.


No more than my Cadillac has Cadillac plates rather than General Motors or my Imperial has plates that say anything other than Chrysler Corporation. That does not make either of these anything other than Cadillac or Imperial which were both separate makes.

Also, I can’t speak for Nissan or Toyota but Acura Legend was the U.S. name. In the U.K., and probably elsewhere it was the Honda Legend.

Posted on: 6/22 2:28
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Re: Clipper registrations in '55 and '56
#9
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packardbill
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I bought my '56 Clipper Deluxe from the original owner in '75. On the N.J. title it was listed as 1956 Packard Clipper, sedan, green.

It has the Packard insignia on the lower right side trunk lid. It also came with the senior steering wheel (I don't know if it was dealer installed or not).

Posted on: 6/22 21:12
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