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Saw this on Facebook Marketplace and thought it was super cool !


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Seller's Description
1942 Packard Clipper Super Custom One-Eighty Convertible. Inspired by Packard designer Robin Jones renderings as shown in The Packard Cormorant, #73 winter 1993-1994. It is not likely that it is the long missing pre-war factory Clipper convertible test mule. The engine casting date is 8/1/41, # E500149. It starts easily, and runs well, without any overheating, strange noises, or smoke. The transmission, overdrive, electromatic clutch, brakes, etc. work properly. The power windows, seat, and top mechanism are all in place, and activate the hydraulic pump, but there is no fluid in the system. $48,500. Please call for an accurate description, additional information and photographs. Less

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We analyzed this one quite a bit on the PackardInfo Forum site.  The Thief Proof Number stamped into the firewall tells us it was an early 1948 22nd Series convertible body shell.  Assumptions are that it is largely based on a 127" wb Custom Eight body and chassis since the convertible frame is unique to that model.   The doors and quarter have been re-skinned with Clipper parts after door jams were modified to accommodate the change.  Mounting a 127" wb front clip and changing the dashboard to 1942, plus various trim completes the look.  While its not a factory build, no one can deny how incredibly attractive the finished car will be.

   

Were I in the position to, I'd buy this Packard in a second, finish the restoration to 1942 style details, then drive and show it with immense pride.  When told that it wasn't a factory build, I'd look nicely at the 'expert', smile and say "But, Just look at it!"

Edited by 58L-Y8
'Just Look at It" (see edit history)
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Agree AJ, from what I read tooling deteriorated due to outside storage during the war.  This led to some quality and production problems and a reluctance on managements part to invest in the prewar design.  I also understand some Packard historians believe the Clipper to be an unofficial Darrin design, and he got screwed out of his fees for it.  BTW I agree with John and co. this is a great looking car, looks well built even though its a modified.

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Agree that the Clipper design has aged well.  But it wasn't illogical to change in 1948 (actually part way through 1947).  All car companies were selling 1942 designs after the war, and knew that once the pent-up demand eased the designs would be a bit long in the tooth.  The independents were first to do so - Kaiser-Frazer, Studebaker, Packard, Hudson all had new designs out before the then Big Three's 1949 designs.  And the new thing was fuselage styling like the WWII aircraft, no separate fender lines.  The "bathtubs" sold well initially but were on the market a year too long.

 

The Clipper convertible is not being misrepresented at all - the discussion has only been around the details of construction, primarily to know if it has a stiffened frame like a 22nd series Super 8/Custom 8 convertible rather than a closed car frame.  Looks like nice work I agree.  It would be fun to see it and the other Clipper convertible coupe toigether one day.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, alsancle said:

I guess I will never understand why Packard abandoned the Clipper styling.

Packard should have beat Cadillac hands down in sales, though bodies are a bit "tinny" and they used horrid quality steel (albeit probably most others did too) - probably should have offered a convertible (and an Automatic transmission).

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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16 hours ago, alsancle said:

I guess I will never understand why Packard abandoned the Clipper styling.

A synopsis of the forces and events that replaced the Clipper styling with the Free-Flow-Styled 22nd-23rd Series:  Management realized the pre-war non-Clipper design was old and out-of-date enough to be uncompetitive in the postwar market.  Damaged tooling from poor storage was also a factor.   Clipper was their newest tooling available, had had its initial success short-circuited by the war, its tooling not fully amortized.   Its important to remember at this point that while the older 1938-'42 bodies was an in-house build, whereas the Briggs Body Company was the supplier of the Clipper bodies.  This would continue through the Free-Flow-Styled and Contours until events resulted in the Chrysler purchase of Briggs body operations and Packard to take control of the body construction by leasing Connor Avenue body plant from Chrysler.

 

As framework to the development of what would become the 1948 Packards, all manufacturers were working on their new postwar cars during the war as time and staffing permitted.  For the independent makers, it was viewed as a opportunity to get a jump on the all-new Big Three models projected for 1949.  Time was of the essence, but Packard had only a tiny styling department headed by Ed Macauley with a staff of perhaps six-eight people.  But to augment this, since the development of the Clipper during 1940, they had been working closely with Briggs  in-house styling department which was much larger,  providing styling for all Briggs customers, the largest being Chrysler.

 

George Christopher, the notoriously pinch-penny company president since 1942, embraced the perceived need and benefits of presenting new postwar styling as quickly as possible but wasn't about to discard and write off the unamortized Clipper tooling.  Briggs, of course, intended to retain Packard's body building business, was glad to assist in updating the Clipper shell to the current styling trend which was characterized by low, horizontal grille and envelop, through-fender, slab-sides seen on wartime styling exercises of "The Cars of The Future".  

 

Throw into this heady brew Packard styling director Ed Macauley's Brown Bomber customized Darrin 'idea' car which was literally subjected to each new styling sop presented by Al Prance, Briggs Styling Director and his capable staff for Ed's enjoyment.  As he drove around Detroit in his custom Packard previewing future styling ideas to his contemporaries including Harley Earl, a production Clipper served as armature for clay styling studies in those same themes in the Briggs studio.

 

The results were that each principle player got what he wanted.  For Christopher further amortization of body tooling.  For Macauley, his conception of futuristic styling and modernization of their cars with the intent they would garner greater sales than ever before versus the warmed-over 1942 models the Big Three were peddling.  For Briggs and Prance, a grip on Packard's body business and demonstration of their styling prowess.    That the result gave Packard only a restyled 1941 car which would be more and more obvious the longer it stayed in production.  Well, it was too early to worry about that in 1946.  in the near term, there was massive pent-up demand expected to take through 1949-'50 to satisfy.  

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as an independent, Packard had several major engineering and tooling efforts to space out for financial reasons.  A new engine family, an automatic transmission, and a new body on a cycle that was shortening in the market place.  Consider that from 1946 - 1956, they got 4 "looks" out of only one main body change in 1951.  Clever use of limited funds.  But as a result, Packard was often a bit late to the market with the latest "thing," either in style or engineering.

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Posted (edited)

It tends to not make Packard owners happy, but dad preaches (and I too agree having worked on a lot of Packard's) that they engineered by "bulk" and getting around other peoples patents; and that the true engineering was in the brass era cars, the first generation Twin Six, the V-12 Twin Six prototype, the Twelve, the V-8, and the Torsion Bar suspension.   My Grandfather was involved in the military side of the Merlin project and he was not a Packard fan either before the project or after - he did preach though that Packard should have been exclusively in the aircraft engine business after the war. 

 

As a sidentoe:  When I showed dad the photo of this 42 convertible his reply was : A shame they did not make one as it is close to the prettiest 40's car ever. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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Truly a head turner. The front appearance and grill are very attractive. When finished it would look stock and only the few Packard purist would be able to  tell otherwise. As far as the masses they would only see that this is what a 13 year old boy would say to his pals at school: SICK ALL OVER TOWN.   [For the old crowd that is the lexicon for "cool"]. 

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