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1955 Clipper Custom


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Hi, I might be picking up a '55 Clipper Custom with low miles [ becoming a v-8 owner ]. Needs paint and some chrome work and some critter ate part of the rear seat. I was wondering how hard it is to get some seat material to match ... it's a kinda dark grey material with little silvery stars. Also just a heads up on what things to look for when buying a '55 clipper. Thanks for any help you can give !!!!!!!!!!! .............Steve

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SMS I think it is out in Oregon as well as Kanter may have the material. Or, if you want to save some $ and are not concerned about it being precisely as original, look for a fabric shop around your area, particularly one that specializes in factory leftovers, etc. I got some that way for my '56 Custom and it is close enough.

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Thanks for the info on the seat material. How 'bout the body and engine problems - I see the 354 engine is 15 hp. down from the senior Packards which are also 354's. Any other things I should look for???? ................................Steve

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Twin6steve--the '55 Clipper custom has the 352 cu. in. V-8 engine, but the Clipper Custom engines came with a Carter WCFB rather than the Rochester 4GC--which explains the 15 hp difference. Listen to the top end at idle, keep an eye on oli pressure, and if possible, hook up a good oil pressure gauge at least temporarily to get an idea of where the oil pressure is at. Look under the car an see if the service bulletin recommeneded shield has been installed on the underside of the car to protect the load leveling motor solenoids.

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I ordered both the vinyl and the mylar insert material from SMS back in the spring. While it does not match the original perfectly it is still an excellent substitution and appears to be of very high quality. I had planned to use an NOS rear seat cover along with the rest of the SMS material but I will likely use the SMS fabric throughout because of the subtle difference.

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The fabric I got from SMS was an exact match to my '56 Clipper. I saw no difference.

My problem was with the matching silver mylar welting or bead (or whatever you call it). The reproduction stuff has a foam core material while the original is much more flexible. When installed professionally, the welting kinked around sharp corners and didn't look as good as it should. That took away from a very nice seat restoration.

Geoff

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That's Strange, the silver Piping on my original '56 Clipper seats was a Hard green Plastic rod inside, that didn't flex much at all. I assumed they used the hard plastic to make them more durable?

I used the foam-core as a replacement also, since the plastic rod had broken in several places.

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Rick:

Maybe being solid plastic the original it doesn't kink. I'm sure it was more flexible when new. Also they may have heated it before installation - ie under a heat light.

The reproduction one from SMS did though - just like trying to bend a steel brake line without the aid of some form of tube bender. Maybe my upholserer didn't spend the time, I don't know. The rest of the job looked pretty good to me though. In retrospect I would have had welting made up special with a more solid core.

Geoff

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I'm not sure what type plastic was used for core in the silver piping in my '56 Clipper Super's seats, but it was a solid hard rod, not fiberous and not very flexable. The silver piping was used in and around the seat cushions and across the middle and top of the seat backs. The piping was used in the design where ever there is a fabric type change (black fabric to silver-thread fabric, etc.) I found some of the silver material and made my own piping, using foam core, that looks exactly the same as original, but a little more flexable. The silver fabric is very stiff also, making the piping even less flexable.

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