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56 Packard in Rod and Custom


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If you have not seen the new issue of Rod and Custom, go get one and check out the butchered 56 2dr (Executive?) on page 56. I can't argue that the builder, John D'Agostino is talented when it comes to whatever work he does on his customs but this time he took a 35000 mile original Packard and chopped, channeled, frenched, and in my opinion utterly destroyed it. I find this sort of nonsense to be as appalling as tearing up a good car body in a demolition derby! I have also seen a 57 Lincoln Premiere that he has done the same thing to. I am sure that I am not alone in stating that there are only so many original unrestored cars out there and this is as much of a tradgedy as the garage burning up with the car inside. There are plenty of 56 Packards or whatevers out there in poor but decent condition for customizers to build without eliminating a good low mileage original. Apparently he makes it a point to find the best original examples of autos that he plans to destroy when he begins a creation, so this will probably not be the last time this happens. Yet another tradgedy is that he really hasn't accomplished anything. A 56 400 or Executive or Clipper is already a flashy and unusual (in a good way) car. One can still clearly see the lines and for goodness sakes it already HAD 56 Clipper taillights in it from the factory that the customizers prize! I am real glad that we live in a free country where you can do what you want with whatever you have the title to BUT I think there was room for some seroious restraint on this. I have reflected on my feelings concerning this "customization", and although I am a little disheartened about this man choosing to destroy a 56 Packard in this fashion while I and so many others are trying to save their originality, I feel most disturbed that the car was a good low-mileage original car that had survived collisions, floods, tornadoes, and teenagers for almost 50 years only to meet with this fate. Even though I am a Packard guy I would hate to see this happen to a 35000 mile Ford, Chevy, Hudson, Edsel, etc., or even a Cadillac!!! He could have taken a lesson from Craig and the 56 Panther project. I have seen from his website what he started with and the chances of either one of those cars getting back on the road was not economically feasible. Personally, I think the Panther will look a million times better than D'Agostino's conglomeration anyway and for probably tens of thousands less even starting with #6 or poorer cars!!!

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I have been informed recently that some "customizer" took a good 56 Caribbean and screwed it up. Some people wanted to save the picture and give it to me. I told them I didn't need a reminder that there are still jackasses in this world. I do confess to wondering how they can be so stupid and still have a good enough job to earn the kind of money it takes to do something like that?<BR>YFAM, Randy Berger confused.gif" border="0

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HI. Long hoods for 12 cyl. the PACKARD that never was, destroying a 35,000 mile "56", lots of topics. I may get hung out to dry for this so take it easy on me. THE BOSS said to do it. In "55" while working at the PACKARD dealer in Harrisburg, Pa.two of us body men put a "54" Carrib. on a totaled "55" 400 chassis. As you all know 5" had to be added from cowl forward. (long hood)the cowl not hood. Got two fenders from junk pile, and cut rear of them, so we could use original mounting brackets. Cut rear bracing from "54 and welded to "54" and leaded welds. Every thing worked very good when completed. Driving around didn't show the difference in length, but around another one of course it showed up. The V/8 sound and duel exhaust created some questions, though. He had a lot of fun and got some offers, but declined. They had a house at San Clamete, close to Nixon, and drove it there in "56". While there he sold it. Often wondered what became of it.<BR> P.S. I told Craig about this and he's not mad at me, even sold me some mldgs. he didn't need. Jack

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Start with the best you can find??? I totally disagree. This was wrong anyway I look at it. I mean, he bought it and he had the right but aren't we all merely caretakers of these cars when it comes right dowm to it? With proper storage these cars will be around for our descendants to enjoy and admire for their originality and historical value, not someone's whimsical reinterpretaton of something that Dick Teague already had as right as he could given the budget he was working with! THey are not making any more 35000 mile original 56 Packards as far as I know and here is one more that might as well have been parked outside for 40 years next to the barn alongside the Patrician I bought last weekend. Looks pretty good??? Sure it does, because all one can see are the original lines. Hell, the only modifications to the dashboard looked like the pad itself and that "console". All the engine has is a new air cleaner, some additional chrome and a pink paint job! The real shame is all of the cutting that was done to what was most likely a great car. Above all of this other crap he names it the "Caribbean"....hmmmmm, I think that one was already in use and it doesn't look like much of one to me. I wonder if there is a place for your hat, cane, and platform shoes in that console!

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I can say for the most part I don't like custom cars. I have always thought that many of the cars that they chop and lower and french look way better as they were styled back in the day. That being said I have already bumped heads with some of my hot rodder friends who said that I should customize my 1955 Packard 400...Don't worry...IT AIN'T HAPPENIN"! I feel that if you customize and plan to chop or get rid of original parts it should be done on a car that has already has been harvested for these parts or is too costly to bring back to its former glory. This is not to say that customizers should only be allowed to have junk cars to work with... There is a middle ground here. This is my opinion on the matter. I have seen enough in my hot rodding experience as limitied as it is to know that there are plenty of cars out there that are not worth restoring but would make a suitable custom. BTW I am building a 1926 model t roadster hot rod. This is being done in a completely pre-war style and the body of my roadster would be way to hard to bring back to original condition. <BR>Tim<BR>MBL

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Any publicity for a make that hasn't been built in 46 years is a good thing. I doubt that rodders will now be chopping up V8 Packards. However, since the original styling is still evident, this exercise might bring new interest. The V8 bodies are some of the nicest of the '50's. I think that the "customizer" agrees, else he wouldn't have "done" one.<BR>I was also pleasantly surprised that the driveline was left bone stock. I am sick of chromed out small block chevies!<BR>That the dash was basically left alone is a credit to Packard. The dash design is what made me consider buying a Clipper in the first place.<BR>Tom

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Jack Harlin, enjoyed your tale of the long hooded Caribbean. There was a 46-47 Packard body mounted on a 55 Caribbean chassis advertised in HMN several years ago. It still had the dual fours and the guy wanted $1500.00. It was in Missouri - too far to drive just to check it. Bet it was a sleeper on the street! wink.gif" border="0 <BR>YFAM, Randy Berger grin.gif" border="0

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a rust-free 61 Mercury Meteor 600 that I am going to slice & dice unless I find a buyer before winter.I'm only asking $3500 for this rare car that was only built one year.Want to save it?Well,neither does anyone else,apparently.You uppity restorers always cry foul when somebody cuts up a solid car.You bad mouth customizers and hotrodders as if your opinion is the only opinion that counts,but when it comes time to put your money where your mouth is you aren't anywhere around.If you want to save an old car from a hotrodder/customizer,buy my Merc.Its listed on about 100 different websites,including this one.

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torch or air chisel?????? have at it. I;ve got a 56 Cadillac Sedan comming in for $700 in excellent original DRIVEABLE condition but with rear end damage. Why would i want your overpriced Ford farm plow???

PackardV8

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Lots of 50s iron at the local classic car lot this weekend including two Packards. A 55 Clipper Constellation was restored as original with red and white exterior and inside. But the 54 Clipper was redone - very expertly - with a bright violet paint job and rolled white vinyl interior. Go figure. Both were put to shame by a show stopper black 50 Caddy soft top that was sporting new paint, chrome and interior. -SteveB in TX.

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RE: Annonymous, If you are going to sound off like a grits-brained twit you should at least identify yourself. You make the same mistake all gear heads make. If you are going to use other cars in your analogy at least use one that is similar. A 61 Merc meteor IS NOT A PACKARD. Your Merc was not popular when it was new, let alone now. And we "uppity restorers" are not so much upset with the fact that he used a Packard, but that he used a 35K mile vehicle. In effect he raped a 47 year old virgin. If he wants to show of his expertise, let him take a basket case and make a jewel out of it. Any half wit body man can take a show room car and do something oddball with it. It takes real expertise and skill to take a field car, or a barn car and make something out of it. Since he gutted the interior and used nothing of he original what difference does it make, and since it already had the clipper tail-lights that all the customizers crave he had very little challange there, no headlight treatment, so all he has proved in my opinion is that he is a charter member of T.R.U. (TWITS-R-US).

Allen Kahl PAC

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Craig: I would not go that far, I'm sure someone out there likes Merc Meteors. Hell my other passion is 63-66 Dodge Dart Convertibles. Not exactly a household word in car circles, but every car has or should have a fanatic for them.

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If some "annonymous" chatter comes into a Mark-specific chat forum spitting vitriolic statements about "us restorers", then they can only expect like in kind in response.

On the other hand, I agree with your comments about loving other models. I for one also have a gas-guzzling, gun-boat sized, politically-incorrect 1972 Cadillac Eldorado

WRT chopping up a perfectly good 35K-mile example of a 1956 Exec: I would have more than happily traded that customizer the 1956 Clipper Super 2-dr that is the basis of my "Panther." It's driveline is servicable and he could have done anything he wanted with the interior, because that wasn't salvagable, to wit:

1956 Clipper Front Seat

1956 Clipper Rear Seat

1956 Clipper Body

This #6 car could have just as easily been turned into the customizer's "The Caribbean" (why that name?) as the 1956 Clipper I bought, as Al K above has opined. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/smirk.gif" alt="" />

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  • 3 weeks later...

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