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1955 Clipper question


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I have just purchased me first packard which is a 55 Clipper. I have had a few people tell me that the car is a freak car because it has no options at all except for a heater. It is a standard shift with no power anything. It also has a throttle handle on the left side of the steering column that I didnt see in the owners manual that appears to be from the factory. Can someone tell me if this is wierd or if this was just a poor mans packard?

Thank You

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Sounds like a Plain Jane "stripper" model, and I doubt that the hand throttle is original. You hit the nail on the head.... a "poor man's Packard'.

Due to the uniqueness, I would say it is worth more today than its higher optioned Clipper siblings.

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I have seen a few cars such as, 1968 Buick Electra 225, 1976 Dodge , full size cars with no options except the biggest engine available.

My theory is they were bought by middle aged or older men, who wanted to pull a trailer. They would have been perfectly happy with a base model Ford or Chev but they wanted a heavy, powerful car.

The hand choke is something an old coot would do. If he was used to a hand choke, and thought automatic chokes were nonsense, he would pay extra to have one installed.

The newest American car I have seen with hand choke was a 53 Ford V8.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Think the last cars to have the hand throttle were prewar & am sure it was not an option offered in 55-- but since it looks factory, would imagine the owner had a dealer install & would sure like to know more about location and looks.

Would almost bet that either he had as much trouble co-ordinating a clutch, brake, accelerator and hill that I do and opted for a very simple solution or had miles of nowhere between stops so resurrected an early form of cruise control.

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That throttle handle on the left of the steering column. Are you sure it is a throttle? My original idea was that you meant a choke knob. Now I am wondering if it was an old trailer brake control? Some trailers had vacuum brakes before the electric brakes came out, they had a hand control connected to the intake manifold.

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I looked at the throttle thing better and now I am 99% positive that it would have to have been factory. Right next to the heater controls on the left side that is where the throttle thing is located. The reason why I say its factory is because it has a chrome plate behind the handle just like the lights, wipers, ect and the chrome plate is indented into the dash just as the others are. If there was no indentation for the chrome plate I would say someone put it in but since there is a perfect indentation for the chrome plate that changes things. I also looked and it goes through the firewall and hooks to a chain that hooks to the linkage so when you pull it out it holds the linkage back just as if you were stepping on the gas pedal. It also appears that the hole in the firewall was factory because it is no different then any of the other holes in it and there are no marks suggesting that someone drilled it themselves.

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I looked at the throttle thing better and now I am 99% positive that it would have to have been factory. Right next to the heater controls on the left side that is where the throttle thing is located. The reason why I say its factory is because it has a chrome plate behind the handle just like the lights, wipers, ect and the chrome plate is indented into the dash just as the others are. If there was no indentation for the chrome plate I would say someone put it in but since there is a perfect indentation for the chrome plate that changes things. I also looked and it goes through the firewall and hooks to a chain that hooks to the linkage so when you pull it out it holds the linkage back just as if you were stepping on the gas pedal. It also appears that the hole in the firewall was factory because it is no different then any of the other holes in it and there are no marks suggesting that someone drilled it themselves.

Very interesting...I'd love to see a photo of the hand throttle when you get it posted. I've seen a ton of post war Packards over the years and none have had a hand throttle, nor is one listed in the 55-56 parts or service manual.

Just speculating, but perhaps the PO used an existing mounting point (overdrive or heater control etc) to install the hand throttle. That, or perhaps a high quality aftermarket kit that was contemporary to the car back then... a mechanical J C Whitney "cruise control" if you will.

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Like to see pictures too. Am curious about the chrome plate and how it was labeled. As to the holes, they were all punched and then filled as needed depending on options. As far as I know, the only hole that had to be drilled was for switch when adding the factory air package at a dealership. From your description, it sounds like the underseat heater fan switch hole used.

If on dash between the lights and wiper then hole was there--just the thin screen overlay not punched out. Switch & bezel could be added--although none were available without a label I know of. Would have been used for pwr antenna on L side and corresponding middle spot on right between lighter & key would have had a rear speaker switch. On the plate surrounding steering column containing the heater & air controls on the left side would be a blank spot with an unlabeled filler piece in the depression. If underseat heater installed, then filler piece replaced with one labeled rear fan. Heater was usually installed so corresponding spot on right labeled fan is the normal heater blower. Both would have had blank fillers if heaters not there.

You mentioned this is your first Packard. If you haven't already, check out packardinfo.com. A considerable amount of service and sales documentation is available there and also tends to be where more people familiar with post war post.

Edited by HH56 (see edit history)
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Is there any evidence of extraneous wireing about the voltage regulator or generator????

Is there any evidence of what mite appear to have been a standard residential 110v AC wall recepticle installed either under the hood or inside of the car???

Does the throttle cable move the carburetor to the full open position or only moves it a small amount ?????

Any evidence that the car ever had a tachometer installed????

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had someone look at it and they said that it is an overdrive but they cant understand why its hooked to the throttle with a dues wire set up. I tried to get a picture on here but it wouldnt work right for me. I added a picture on my web page so if you go there and click on the picture of the 55 packard its in the pictures there.

Thanks for everyones help!

Stan

http://sipkoantiquecars.webs.com/apps/photos/

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Definitely not the way Packard would have done--so most likely installed by a previous owner or his mechanic. The dash location hole handle is using would have been for the fan switch for under seat heater. Packard's would have been under edge of dash to right of steering wheel. The relay under windshield wiper motor is in a different location and not mounted straight as Packard either. There would be a kickdown switch activated by accelerator & would have 4 wires on it normally. Could that be what is operated by throttle linkage?

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The only thing that makes me think that its something from the factory is the insert above the lever where the chrome fits in was molded into the dash. I dont think it could have been put there after. Also there is nothing in the owners manual showing anything there in that place like a and it has no under seat heater.

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The hole was there standard, used if car had the option and if not, blanked off either with the decorative outer screen overlay not punched through on actual dash such as for speaker or antenna or a blank filler piece shaped to the "triangular" contour of hole in the case of your underseat heater switch. Since you have the filler piece, it was probably just drilled to accept the handle. Any factory piece would have a function name stamped in.The castings for the vent and heater controls were the same for all 55-6 Packards and Clippers. Just the finish color was different.

post-43944-143138161401_thumb.jpg

Edited by HH56 (see edit history)
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