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Upholstery confusion
#1
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humanpotatohybrid
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Just for fun I got a sample of the seat upholstery for my car from SMS. However I realized it does not match the seats or door cards at all, though it is a good match for the fabric samples in the dealer book and in the photo archive here.

So to compare, I actually found a Code 12, 55 Clipper Deluxe which should be the same as the SMS sample except blue. (Mine is Code 13.) However the seats are completely different than mine nor do they match the sample.

Even on close inspection my seats don't look like they have been redone. If so, it must have been a LONG time ago AND done very well. AND done the door cards to match.

Can anyone shed some light on this?

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Posted on: 6/23 20:38
1955 400 | Registry | Project Blog
1955 Clipper Deluxe | Registry | Project Blog
1955 Clipper Super Panama | Registry
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Re: Upholstery confusion
#2
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HH56
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As long as styling approved, if a customer wanted and paid for a special order then Packard would do their best to get a sale by accommodating using fabrics supposedly restricted and only available on specific models or even use a different fabric not normally offered in the upholstery selection. I believe I read that in those cases the trim code reflected a change by either being blank or with a special code indicating something was custom.

If your trim code is proper for the model then another possibility is sometime during the cars life the upholstery might have been damaged and something from another car in a different pattern but better condition was installed. Lots of scrapyard cars became available after Packard went away and parts or service became hard to find. Many gave their parts both to keep others running or in the case of accessories or upholstery to upgrade a lesser model.

Posted on: 6/23 22:36
Howard
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Re: Upholstery confusion
#3
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humanpotatohybrid
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True, I think on the lower car those seats are from a Clipper Super. It matches both the book and this other reference photo of a Super. On my car however they are obviously Clipper Deluxe seats, they have the buttons which are unique in style to the 55 Deluxes. So either this was something custom from the factory or both the seats and all 4 door cards were redone with exacting precision and craftsmanship in the past. Here is a picture of the back of the best preserved door card, note the chalk marks and also the armrest metal tabs show no sign of ever being removed. Hope I'm not sounding argumentative. 😃

Another curiosity is the headliner; this Super is obviously Code 23 which along with my car gives a green headliner in the parts book. Yet they both have white vinyl headliners.

https://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/partslist/index.php?mode=partnumber&SearchValue=462712&ButtonLookup=Go

It's clear that the bulk stock section of the parts book is not comprehensive; there are some trim numbers missing on certain sections. However in the seat section, it lists by trim code, as expected. Oddly the door section doesn't really list possible trim codes for the door cards. And aside from "1st" and "2nd" type headliners, there are only 1 option.

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Posted on: 6/23 23:49
1955 400 | Registry | Project Blog
1955 Clipper Deluxe | Registry | Project Blog
1955 Clipper Super Panama | Registry
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Re: Upholstery confusion
#4
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Ross
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Your car had been "done" at one point. Remember that these cars were already being "fixed up" and even restored in the late seventies and eighties. There is plenty of time since then for them to fall on really hard times. There are a lot of cars I can remember as awful darned decent when I was 25 that have fallen off the face of the earth since then--including for example my own very spiffy 55 Constellation that I sold to make down payment on my first house. Never seen or heard from again, and presumably rotted down in some back yard.

Here are a couple shots of a 12K mile car in '09 at Warren. It is the nicest untouched 55 Deluxe I've ever seen and shows the textured vinyl used on the door panels and the two special cloths used on the seats.

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Posted on: 6/24 6:22
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Re: Upholstery confusion
#5
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humanpotatohybrid
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Interesting, Ross. Thanks for the info. Disregarding the overall condition, as you mentioned, the paint job on this one was so lazily done, that I assumed that the interior would have been done with a comparable quality. The paint is white on teal instead of the original cool light gray Moonstone hue that you are familiar with over a more greenish Tourmaline; to this day one section of the original paint is still in great condition, so no reason it couldn't have been matched properly. Also they did not even bother to remove the trim to paint it, as is obvious at this point from the rust in certain areas...

So seeing all that, I assumed the interior must have been original. One error in my assumption was that the door cards and seat material were the same. Thankfully it is pretty nice, like I said, and is a fair amount better than some not-inexpensive reupholstery jobs I have seen for sale over the years. I suspect that at least the vinyl on the door cards is original, as I can't find evidence of them being taken apart, though who knows.

I wish I knew more of the history on this car as it was clear it was in nice condition (at least aesthetically) at one point; all I know is the previous owner bought it in '90 before "gifting" it to his mechanic sometime past '94. Changed hands a couple times to people that (thankfully) did nothing to it more than parking it outside for many years and somehow smashing out the back glass. Ok not very thankful on that one, but you get my point. If this car had been messed with, with people dropping in fuel cells, trying to do random swaps and "upgrades" it would have been completely unsaveable. I have yet to find a "smoking gun" as to why this car may have been parked, but it's clear that it was pretty tired mechanically and did not always have the best work done to it. For example, check out this qualiteee sealing job on the water pump. The old gasket actually was still installed under all this mess. I don't know how hard it was to join PAC and buy parts from actual vendors in the pre-Internet age, but apparently it was too hard for somebody.

I also found that the rear diff side bearings were getting spun, the parking pawl is broken, and the heater core was bypassed. New fuel line ran with copper tubing without removing the old one and connecting to the original tank line with flex hose. On the other hand, this car had both an engine swap/upgrade to a 352, and a radiator recore, so it's clear that someone was dumping money into it at some point in the past.

Such is the "life" of something that's 70 years old...

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Posted on: 6/24 8:56
1955 400 | Registry | Project Blog
1955 Clipper Deluxe | Registry | Project Blog
1955 Clipper Super Panama | Registry
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Re: Upholstery confusion
#6
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Packard Don
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On my 1956 Clipper Custom sedan with trim code 41, the factory samples do not closely match. Or rather, they are close but do not include or list all the different fabrics and patterns it uses and I know it’s entirely original as I’ve owned it since the late ‘70s. I found signs of some engine prior work but that’s about it. Point is, the factory samples give a good starting point but there were likely variations in production and, of course, as you pointed out, in all the years that the car has existed through various owners, who now what might have been changed!

Posted on: 6/24 13:15
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