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Packard "Firsts"


55PackardGuy
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"All-steel" pertaining to the station wagon has been in debate before, regarding several other makes, stamp or no stamp. Advertising or no advertising.

Some say the Packard was not a "station wagon" at all because it was referred to as a "station sedan." There are always nits to pick.

In any case, does anyone care to tackle my post on Power Steering as designed by Packard and adopted by the industry?

Edited by 55PackardGuy
Just for fun (see edit history)
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I just recall that on wet glare ICE,,,the 53-54 Packard brakes and steering were more controlable and had better feel than the "new" 1955,,I was so disapointed,,Cheers,,Ben

Ben,

It'd be interesting to figure out what changed between the original setup on the '53-'54 as opposed to '55-56. I do recall the '55 400 with PS that I drove had very little "road feel", when coupled with the slightly "floaty" feeling of the T/L suspension it took a little get used to, but the handling was excellent.

Packard may have just gone to more powerful hydraulics in '55 so you could diddle the steering wheel from lock to lock with one finger while stopped--an impression that many car makers seemed to think would really sell PS.

Actually, the Clipper custom with manual steering that I drove had fine road manners, just a little slower ratio so you could parallel park without wrenching your arms loose.

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Hi Guy,,,Yes it was lack of road feel,,,,both brake and steering were an assist feeling,,the newer on the steering wheel,,,,It took a certain force to turn the wheel and then a valve opened and the wheels turned,,w/no further effort,,,to me it was as responsive as a Buffalo [steam] Road Roller !!!

The torsion level ride worked well and I have good comments for that,, If you sat on the hood and waited for the time delay jack to raise the front,,then hop off and turn the switch off while it was up,,,Now drive down the road,,the front end would go left-right-up- down,,sort of circular,,

Now if you did it other way round it was rock steady,,,thus proving how important front end elevation was,,I was thinking of the 1906 Stanley,,needed to be a bit lower on front,,

Re Packard and light steering,,Larry drove his 1932 twin-6 at 90mph w/one finger just to prove it was possible,,,this around 1953 DC phaeton,,Does anyone need a motor/generator for a radio for one of these??,,,Memories,,,Ben

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Hee hee, good for Larry. That story should go onto the "Speeding in a Packard" thread. The on-center feel at road speed on the manual steering '55 Clippers I drove was outstanding. One hand on the wheel seemed like much more than you needed-- one finger, never tried it. Wish I had. Those are great memories of some particularly great cars.

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  • 5 months later...
Packard torsion bar were self leveling. maybe it a poor choice of word call it torsion bar suspension

packards42,

Thanks for your comment on the list. That entry was debated back and forth for a long time, and as it came out the torsion bar suspension and the self-leveling feature were split into two entries. 19. Fully interconnected 4-wheel torsion bar suspension (1955)

20. Electric load leveler (1955). The list I refer to is in post #263, which reflects, as closely as I have been able to determine, what evolved on this thread with input from those on this website, as the "Packard Firsts" list.

Many will debate the suspension was not a "first" because many European cars had torsion bars, but as is noted, Packard's was unique in that it connected front and rear wheels instead of using a separate bar for each "spring" point, as others did. Also, the load leveling feature is noted as "electric" to distinguish it from the many hydraulic and pneumatic systems, (and their unfortunate shortcomings in comparison with Packard's leveler--even to the present day).

The contributors to this list and I have often engaged in trying to argue how many Angels (or Packards) could dance on the head of a pin in order to build a list of "firsts," but by and large I think those debates made the list more realistic and the thread more true to its purpose.

Edited by 55PackardGuy (see edit history)
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  • 5 months later...
55 Packard: Side marker lights were common on brass era limosines and berlines. I am attaching a picture of a 1915 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost as an example. When neo classics of the 1970 reintroduced B piller lights, it was this look they were copying, not the Packard V-8.

Dave,

The "neo-classics" you mention probably would've been better off copying the Packard's lighting (and how do you know they weren't?) because not only the Packard setup a "marker" lamp, but when the door was opened, the lamp came on brighter to illuminate the driver or passenger's entrance. Did the Rolls lamp do that?

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  • 5 months later...

I just recall that on wet glare ICE,,,the 53-54 Packard brakes and steering were more controlable and had better feel than the "new" 1955,,I was so disapointed,,Cheers,,Ben

I just drove a '54 Clipper with power steering a couple of weeks ago. There wasn't much road feel, but it did give a decent sense of control, in spite of the car's obvious front end wear, or possibly a "loose" steering box. There was a lot of wheel travel before the car responded, but when I turned the wheel past this "slop" it was quick to respond.

Hey, over 42K "views" now on this moldy old thread... yet a dearth of postings. Oh well, happy :confused: reading!

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  • 4 months later...
Packard torsion bar were self leveling. maybe it a poor choice of word call it torsion bar suspension

Here is how it is stated in a list from the Packard Motor Car Company site. I hadn't seen any such list on the site before, but looking around for different lists as an end-of-year update to this thread, I came across this one. I think it's a new addition to the site, as I've visited it before and not seen it. Its reference to torsion bar suspension is quite similar to the one on this thread, but it also mentions the automatic leveling feature. I guess they're more liberal than the AACA commentators were.

Packard Motor Car Company :: Packard Firsts

...and it also mentions the steering wheel and the V12, both of which were nixed in any form, with any qualifications, on the list posted here. Picky, picky.

Edited by 55PackardGuy (see edit history)
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