In 1941, Packard introduced a new model named the Packard Clipper. The design was courtesy of Howard 'Dutch' Darrin. The top of the line Custom Super was introduced in June of 1941 and was the most luxurious car Packard built at the time. The 1947 version of the Custom Super was the last year of the original design powered by a straight-eight offering 165 horsepower. In total, there were approximately 2,200 examples built for 1947 at a very steep $3,449. The Custom Super competed directly with Cadillac's 60 Special.
This car is a very low mileage car with just 9,852 miles on the odometer. The car was acquired by the current owner in November of 2006.
High bid of $27,500 at 2014 RM Sothebys. (did not sell) Packard, like most manufacturers, was forced to being post-war production with a revised version of a pre-war design, which remained in production for three years while a fully 'new' car was being developed.
Packard's Clipper model was introduced in 1941 and had styling input from stylist Howard 'Dutch' Darrin. It was a competitor of the Cadillac Series 60 Special.
Packard re-designed its entire line around the Clipper. The extended wheelbase versions rested on a 148-inch platform with coachwork by the Henney Motor Company, of Freeport, Illinois, Packard's long-serving builder of ambulances and limousines. These cars were finished with the finest materials, including broadcloth upholstery, Mosstred carpeting, and Art Moderne wood-grain and Bakelite trim.
Seven-passenger production remained low and are currently recognized as Full Classics by the Classic Car Club of America.
This particular example was delivered new by Sewickley Sales and Service, located at the corner of Ohio River Road and Chestnut Street in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, on May 29, 1947. It is finished in Packard Blue and Lowell Gray, with a broadcloth interior. The odometer shows 60,545 miles which may well be actual mileage from new. It has chrome wheel covers, folding jump seats, working courtesy lights, a heater, and a radio that can be controlled from both the front and rear seats.
It has its original parts book and service manual, as well as a copy of the operation and care manual, a lubrication diagram, and the original jack, which is still present in the trunk, alongside a correct spare. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014
Standard Wheelbase Club Sedan
Seldom seen even when new, this Custom Super Clipper Club Sedan is a superb and rare Packard. Gracing a 127-inch wheelbase chassis, the sleek two-door fastback is powered by a 356 cubic-inch displacement straight eight engine with nine main bearings. It delivers 165 horsepower with exceptional torque through a three-speed manual transmission, which on this car is equipped with optional overdrive.
Packard reserved its finest 1947 interiors for the Custom Super Clipper models. In this example, blue wool broadcloth upholstery is trimmed with contrasting off-white piping. Appliques of Amboyna burl wood-grain on the lower dash and window wainscoting, combined with smoky pearl wood grain on the upper dash and window moldings, contribute to the finely crafted interior's luxurious ambiance. The Club Sedan is finished in a correct metallic Packard Blue. Hubcaps adorned with cloisonne-filled Packard hexagon medallions are an exterior hallmark of the car's Custom Super Clipper status. The front bumper guards flank a very scarce cloisoone hexagon with wings emblem. Nicely accessorized with driving lights, dual outside mirrors, fender skirts and a backup light, this Packard is also equipped with the optional heater and a factory vacuum-tube radio that still works. The odometer shows just over 62,000 miles.
Sold new by RileyColes Motors in Dayton, Florida, the Club Sedan's data plate indicates delivery to the original owner was made on 9/9/1947, which is the latest such date reported among the approximately 20 remaining examples known to collectors today.
When the Packard Company began automobile production in 1899, it was known as Ohio Automobile Company. In 1903 the name was changed to the Packard Motor Car Company when it moved from Warren, Ohio to Detroit, Michigan. The move was the result of a majority stock purchase made by investors in the Detroit area. Packard had sustained a Great Depression and a World War and was still at the fore-front of vehicle production. Advances in automotive technology and design were making vehicles more and more exciting each day. During the early forties Packard decided to compete in a broader market by introducing the Clipper, a vehicle aimed at higher production but lower cost.
The Briggs Manufacturing Company was tasked with building the Clipper bodies. This conclusion was made after the Briggs Manufacturing Company had stated and proven to the Packard Company that they could produce the bodies cheaper than Packard. Production of the bodies began and the price Briggs Manufacturing Company had quoted Packard proved to be too low, so the price was raised leaving Packard with the extra cost. It would have been cheaper for Packard to produce the bodies themselves.
The sales of the Clipper series were very successful, outselling Cadillac and LaSalle. The vehicles were stylish, durable, and elegant. The body of the vehicle had been designed by the legendary Howard 'Dutch' Darrin. The Packard 120 was the company's first sub-$1000 car. It was aimed at stimulating sales and increasing production.
The sixteen valve eight-cylinder engine powering the Clipper was capable of producing 125 horsepower, a rather high figure at the time. The modern body, stylish interior, excellent performance, and Packard quality made the Clipper Series very desirable.
In February of 1942 the United States Government ordered all manufacturers to cease production of automobiles and shift their priorities to war related efforts. Packard began the production of aircrafts and marine engines, ambulance and military vehicles. More than 60,000 combined engines were produced by the Packard factory during the war.
In 1945 the war had ended and Packard went back to automobile production. They had made $33 million through their engine and military vehicle sales, $2 million was used to renovate and update their facilities. Packard was in excellent financial condition. Most of the automobile parts that had been created prior to the war were in bad shape. They had been put in storage in order to make space for equipment that was needed to design and build military vehicles. The storage was often subject to the weather and the elements. As a result much of the equipment and supplies needed to be replaced.
When automobile production began, Packard decided to only produce the Clipper Series and abandon the other model lines. For 1946 Packard produced the Clipper Six 2100 and 2103, Super Clipper 2103, and the Custom Super Clipper 2106. The Super Eight and Custom convertibles were added in 1947. In 1949 Packard introduced the 23rd Series Eight and Deluxe Eight.
The Clippers were very unique and innovative for their time. They featured an alarm on the gas tank that would whistled as the fuel was pumped, stopping only when the tank was full. The running boards and door hinges were concealed adding to the smooth appearance of the body. The Clipper Series were also very wide. This not only gave passengers extra interior room but it gave the vehicle stability at speed around the corners. The width was a foot wider than it was tall making it the widest vehicle in production at the time.
The sales of luxury vehicles began to decline near the end of the 1940's and continued into the 1950's. This hurt Packard production and sales for their high-end luxury vehicles declined considerably. Packard's were built so well that they lasted for a very long time. So Packard did not have very many repeat customers because their customers did not need to purchase another vehicle. The president of Nash Motors, Mr. George Mason, had approached Packard about a merger during the early 1950s. He believed that the days of independent car manufacturers were soon to be gone. Packard was reluctant and thought otherwise. 1954 was another bad industry for the luxury car market and Nash Motors merged with the Hudson Motor Car, forming American Motors. In 1952 James Nance was elected president and general manager of Packard. In 1954, Nance merged Packard with Studebaker in an effort to diverse their product line and stimulate sales for both struggling companies. Studebaker had a larger network of dealers, a potential benefit for Packard. Unfortunately, Studebaker sales dipped dramatically and this ultimately hurt Packard more than it helped.
World War II and the Korean War had come and gone. This meant their entire defense contracts had ceased, ending nearly half a billion dollars in income.
In 1953 Chrysler bought Briggs Manufacturing, the producer of Packard bodies. Packard was forced to find another company to produce their bodies. None was found and Packard formed a temporary deal in 1955 with Chrysler to have them produce their bodies.
By June of 1956, production of Packard automobiles ceased. Production of the Packard model names continued for a few years but was adorned with Studebaker nameplates. By 1959 this style had ended and only the Studebaker name prevailed. In the early 1960's the Avanti and Lark were able to make a small profit for the Studebaker-Packard Company. In 1962 the decision was name to drop the Packard name from the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. In 1966 Studebaker was out of business. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009