5,000 Z06 Miles

I took delivery of my Z06 23 months ago today. On Thursday I passed 5,000 miles of my own doing. Of course, that’s not a lot of driving, about 2,600 miles a year on average.

Some would say no one should drive a car like mine. Others would say I haven’t driven it enough. I think in this polarized world it’s very easy, too easy, to appeal to one side and make the other side angry. I think the truth often lies in making both sides angry.



It’s too bad that 56PackardMan has seemingly vanished. I wonder if he knows about this development as chronicled in this Classic Cars piece, “Packard plans a comeback, starting with a watch.”

Apparently, James Ward Packard liked watches, collected them and even designed them. Also, plans are afoot to bring back a Packard car, but the watch is first.

For you Packard fans out there, which year/model would you like to see brought back? New federal regulations, finally created and implemented to make the Limited Vehicle Production Act (or whatever it is called) a reality, make such a comeback possible albeit at no more than 325 cars a year.

Of course, I am partial to the 1956 Packard line: the Caribbean, the Four Hundred, the Executive. I suspect, however, that the magnificent cars of the 1930s may be the ones to be “resurrected.” From RM Sotheby’s a picture of a 1956 Packard Caribbean convertible:


See the source image


Such a car was included in my Ultimate Garage 2.0. You will be surprised to read it is not a lock for 3.0.

You might want to read this review of The Packard Story by Robert Turnquist. The number of books about Packard is amazing to me, but then again, I seek them out.


This opinion piece by George Will is titled, “Progressives want a new New Deal. The old one failed at its main task.” In it, Will quotes FDR’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, from his testimony for the House Ways & Means Committee in May of 1939,


“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong . . . somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. . . . I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!”


Here is more from Will:


“Morgenthau was mistaken about one thing: When Roosevelt took office in March 1933, the unemployment rate was 25.4 percent. But about the spending Morgenthau was correct: By 1936, for the first time in peacetime history, the federal government’s spending was larger than the combined spending of all states and localities. And credit Morgenthau’s candor: The New Deal failed at its principal task of putting the nation back to work. The 1939 unemployment rate was worse than the 16.3 percent of 1931 [my note: 1939 unemployment was 17.2%], and worse than the 11.7 percent peak unemployment during the severe but short recession of 1920-1921. In 1939, the Depression had lasted longer than any prior U.S. contraction. In 1940, with the pre-war surge of military spending underway, the unemployment rate was 14.6 percent, more than eight points higher than today’s.” [my correction: this piece was written when US unemployment was about 10 percent during the tighter grip of the damn virus, Will wrote “four points higher”]

“Historical data seems powerless to dent progressive nostalgia for the New Deal’s fictitious triumph of economic revival through job creation.”


Blind adherence to ideology and excessive allergy to the facts are never a good thing, but they are more alive and well than at any other time, in my opinion. Quoting Huxley once again, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Oh, George Will wrote a cover blurb for the book I co-authored about the greatest baseball teams of all time. In my presence, he would tell his companions–friends and family–that I knew more about baseball than anyone else he knew. I guess the baseball industry decided that my age and “lack” of coding skills were far more important than my aptitude and knowledge.








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Tuesday Twirl

Thanks to Bill James I received this notification:



Yesterday, Bill graciously tweeted the link to A Tough Day For Cars. That post is now easily the most read so far this year. Of course, we are not too deep into 2021 although today is already day number 51. Thanks, Bill!


The issues with composing posts in the WordPress Classic Editor and Firefox continue. I may really have to use another browser, at least for writing posts. Part of me, the very cynical part, thinks these issues are a deliberate attempt by WordPress to “force” me to use their newer editor.

While I believe in “Never Say Never” it is extremely unlikely I would continue to post if I had to use the newer editor, which to me is user-hostile and counter-intuitive. Also, I am not the dullest knife in the drawer so if I have issues with it, I’m sure many others do, as well.


This CNBC article chronicles the decline in the rating for the Super Bowl broadcast among the demographic advertisers prize most highly, those aged 18-49. Here is a chart from the article:



I am not in that demographic, but I did not watch the most recent Super Bowl. Lest one think this has been the trend for all network football telecasts, look at this chart from the same article:



I think in this weird year of the damn virus, many people decided that watching football was simply not something that warranted their time. I also think that casual fans have less and less interest in the Super Bowl as other forms of “entertainment” multiply.


An earthworm can be taught to avoid a path that will give it an electric shock. Human beings, allegedly the most intelligent of animal species, often cannot avoid behavior that they know, a priori, is detrimental.


I still hope, one day, to own a car manufactured by a defunct American make. How the logistics of that would work, I have no idea. (“He’s a good teacher; he really seems to care…About what, I got no idea!)

From Hemmings a picture of an intriguing car, even with the broken Torsion-Level ride system:



This is a 1956 Packard 400. I believe the model name is an homage to the prestigious list that used to be published of the top 400 most influential people in America.

The car has about 57,000 miles (supposedly) and is listed for $18,000. I suspect getting the suspension fixed would be expensive assuming one could find a shop/mechanic that could do the work.

I would estimate the probability of my ever owning a car like this at no more than 10%. Still and once again, what is life without dreams?










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Cadillac vs Packard

First…I must acknowledge the 126th anniversary of the birth of Babe Ruth. Although I am not a baseball fan or follower in any way, shape or form, any more, growing up as a baseball fanatic in the city of his birth I was a huge fan of his achievements. From, of all places, The Hollywood Reporter, a picture of The Babe:


See the source image


In On The Wing Wednesday I stumbled onto a comparison of Cadillac and Packard sales. (I readily admit that Cadillac vs Packard is a less “sexy” title than Ford vs Ferrari.) Ever since then, I have wanted to make a table showing the sales/production of both makes from after World War II to Packard’s last year as a real car company, 1956. Here it is:


1946 28,144 42,102
1947 59,436 55,477
1948 66,209 98,897
1949 81,545 104,593
1950 110,535 72,138
1951 103,266 76,476
1952 96,850 62,988
1953 103,538 81,341
1954 123,746 27,583
1955 153,334 69,667
1956 140,873 13,432


As the title of the table reads, this is calendar year production and not model year. I used calendar year to put Packard’s decline into sharper focus. Using calendar year also shows a sharp break from when Packard was competitive with Cadillac to when they became less so. Instead of using a compendium book, these figures came from Cadillac at 100: Legacy Of Leadership and Packard: A History Of The Motor Car And The Company.

Note that in the first four post-war years in total, Packard outsold Cadillac by 27.9% AND outsold Cadillac for awhile even after the tail fins were introduced on the latter. The next four years Cadillac outsold Packard by 41.4%. Of course, in those last three years there is no comparison.

Less than a decade before its demise, Packard was competitive, at least based on these sales figures. Whether the seeds for its eventual destruction had already been sown is a matter for Packard “experts” to debate. Despite all I have read and written about Packard, I don’t think I am qualified to give an authoritative opinion on why Packard failed.

Regular readers know I am a fan of both makes. This picture of a 1948 Cadillac was the spark that got me blogging about cars almost every day.



I have written about Cadillac concept cars like the Elmiraj, the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado was part of Ultimate Garage 2.0, and my wonderful wife and I just purchased a 2015 Cadillac ATS.

Sadly, we can’t buy a relatively new Packard. The 1956 Caribbean convertible was also part of Ultimate Garage 2.0 and I have often written about Packard and other defunct American makes, although not so much in recent months.


See the source image


Cadillac vs Packard, too bad that’s not a current battle in the automotive marketplace.






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Tropical Storm Tuesday

As I write this (at about 5:45 AM), the area where I live is under a Tropical Storm Warning. It is currently raining here although the winds have not yet increased. We are supposed to have seven or eight hours of winds with at least tropical storm force (>39 MPH) gusts.

As I have written before, we live in a neighborhood with many tall trees, including such trees on our lot, that make weather like this most nerve-wracking. I am imagining a worst-case scenario in which we suffer damage that forces us to put the attempt to sell our house on hold. Hey, I am a child of Holocaust survivors and I expect the worst to happen.

“Mother Nature” seems most cruel at present. “The virus” seems unstoppable and although most people who become infected survive, as age increases so does the mortality rate from it. I am not a young person. I believe that until safe and effective vaccines are widely available, we are all going to have to stay in “virus mode.” People who want to go back to normal now are simply clueless.


Today is Roger Clemens’ birthday. If you don’t know–or even if you do–he is one of the most accomplished players in major league baseball history. Clemens won the Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in his league seven times, more than any other pitcher in history.

He was credited with 354 wins in his career; any number 300 or higher is rare and significant. He is the only pitcher in history with 350+ wins and 4,500+ strikeouts. What is also significant is that Clemens is the only pitcher with 300+ career wins who is not a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Clemens has been dogged by accusations that he used steroids during his career. He was also indicted on charges, including perjury and contempt of Congress, stemming from testimony he gave to Congress about his use of such substances. His first trial ended in a mistrial and he was acquitted on all charges in his second trial.

The principle that people are innocent until proven guilty does not apply in the court of public opinion. To the extent that I have an opinion, I think it’s absurd that Clemens is not in the Hall of Fame. Even if he used steroids, those substances cannot turn an ordinary player into a Hall of Fame player.

I don’t know anything about the Basketball or Hockey Halls of Fame, but I think both the Baseball and Football Halls are tainted, primarily by the inclusion of players who don’t belong. However, I think the Baseball Hall of Fame is also tainted by the sanctimonious behavior of many of its voters.

From a Pinterest page, a picture of Roger Clemens:


See the source image


I am currently re-reading Packard: A History of the Motor Car and the Company edited by the late, great Beverly Rae Kimes. She was known as the “First Lady of Automotive History.” The book was awarded the prestigious Cugnot prize for automotive writing.

The book is quite thorough and for someone like me with ADD tendencies it is virtually impossible for me to completely read it word for word. (The book is 828 pages long.) I am also overwhelmed by the desire to re-write history, for Packard to have merged with Nash (or maybe with Nash and Hudson) instead of with Studebaker and at least surviving until Chrysler’s purchase of American Motors in 1987.

I think it is human nature to form an alternate history scenario that ends much more pleasantly than real life. “What If?” is a common question. From the Packard forum (Hey, site moderators. Why doesn’t the Packard forum have a secure URL beginning with https?) a picture of a 1933 Dietrich-bodied V-12 convertible:


See the source image


From Streetside Classics a picture of a 1956 Packard Executive:


See the source image


Maybe some day…








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Update: I’m posting from my phone at 1:10 PM Eastern Time. We lost power at 12:30. In anticipation of such an event I surrounded the milk in the fridge with ice packs. Modern refrigerators are not designed to keep food cold very long without power.

I hope power outages are far less common in the desert. In any event we are going to have some type of backup power system.




Real Life Intrudes

Originally I was going to write a Throwback Thursday post about one of my favorite cartoons from childhood. However, with the news that the 2020 Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance has been cancelled, which probably means all of Monterey Car Week will be cancelled, I decided to skip the cartoon post. Gooding & Company cancelled its Pebble Beach auction, as well.

I understand the decision, of course, but with the events not scheduled to occur for almost four months this chain of events is, for me, a very sad intrusion of real life. Do the organizers have some knowledge about the progression of infection that most of us don’t have? Are they acting out of an abundance, some might say over-abundance, of caution?

While I would never take place in a demonstration, probably for any reason, but certainly not one designed to force authorities to reopen all businesses, I understand the sentiment. We are under siege and for many it probably seems self-inflicted.

If I had a reasonable estimate for the return to normal I could just count the days. No one knows, however, when all of this will end and for me, like for most people I suspect, it’s the not knowing that makes the situation even more unbearable.


On this day in 1947 Packard produced its one millionth car, a model year 1948 (or Twenty-Second Series) Super Eight convertible. A quick entry of all of Packard’s yearly production numbers into a spreadsheet (Lotus 1-2-3, yeah!) confirmed that 1948 was the model year when Packard surpassed one million in total production. From Renderosity a picture of a 1948 Packard Super Eight convertible:


See the source image



History records that these were dubbed by many as “a pregnant elephant” or “the bathtub look.” History also records that Packard had healthy sales of nearly 100,000 vehicles for 1948 and almost 117,000 for 1949. Whether those sales figures were simply the post-war sellers market or that many buyers liked the looks of the car, awful nicknames notwithstanding, is impossible to know from this distance in time and space. Based on the figures I have, Packard’s market share nearly doubled from 1947 to 1948 and stayed well above the 1946-47 share in 1949, although its share did decline.

This is well-worn territory on Disaffected Musings, but it seemed appropriate (and a nice diversion) to note the one millionth Packard. They didn’t make it to two million, unfortunately.






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The End Of The Marque

From The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company by James A. Ward:


“The news of Packard’s demise was announced on July 13 [1958, emphasis mine], but nobody at S-P [Studebaker-Packard] took responsibility for it. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal ran retrospective pieces, emphasizing Packard’s past, and explained its death by saying that S-P’s ‘destiny is tied to smaller cars.’ The Times pointed out that with Packard’s demise, only 16 remained of the 2,700 nameplates that had appeared since 1893. Business Week headlined its story ‘Ask The Man Who Owned One’ and compared the fall of Nash, Hudson, Packard, Willys, Crosley, and Frazer to the disappearance of automobile companies in the depression.”


For many Packard purists the 1957 and 1958 models were not Packards, but merely badge-engineered Studebakers. However, the fact that they were made at all was really an attempt to keep the name alive in the hopes the make/marque could be given a new identity, if not one wholly separate from Studebaker. No offense intended to those Packard aficionados who disdain the last two model years, but from favcars.com a picture of a 1958 Packard hardtop coupe, of which only 675 were made.


See the source image


Believe it or not I am not a big fan of quoting myself, but here is something I sent in an email to Bill James:


In the overwhelming return of my passion for automobiles I have noticed something similar [to the difficulty of dislodging successful entities from their perch]. While people like me lament the demise of makes like Studebaker and Packard, the writing was on the wall long before those companies folded. Even before World War II the top selling cars in America were almost always from The Big Three automakers. Maybe the lesson is that Studebaker must have actually made some good cars to last until 1966.


As 56packardman believes, maybe the slogan that the 1956 Packards were “the greatest Packards of all” was true. Even so, that wasn’t enough to save the name from extinction. Life outcomes are a function of endogenous AND exogenous forces. I believe that people who only credit one or the other are missing the point.






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If you’re here after clicking on a link from the Packard or Studebaker forums (thanks, 56packardman), welcome. Even though not every post is about those cars, most posts are about automobiles and I am very proud of this blog. Please feel free to visit as often as you like. https://disaffectedmusings.com



The “End” Of Packard; More From The AACA Museum

Thanks to 56packardman for making the effort to post a link to yesterday’s Disaffected Musings entry on the Studebaker Drivers Club forum and thanks to the avid followers of that forum for clicking on the link in such numbers that the number of views yesterday was the highest in over a month. (Yes, that’s a run-on sentence.) As is my penchant and one of my weaknesses I can’t resist poking the world in the eye with a stick; I think that the number of blog views for yesterday should be at the low end of the usual range for this blog and not the high end.


On this day in 1956 the last Detroit-built Packards rolled off the assembly line. From Packard: A History Of The Motor Car And The Company edited by the late, great Beverly Rae Kimes, “On that sad day, June 25th, 1956, twenty-four Clippers and eighteen Packards were run through the body shop and completed. Altogether, there had been 28,835 cars built for the 1956 model year—18,482 Clippers, 10,353 Packards.”

The “official” end of Packard in Detroit came on July 25th when Roy Hurley, President of Curtiss-Wright which had taken de facto control of Studebaker-Packard through a management agreement (that, technically, wasn’t approved by the Studebaker-Packard board until the next day), announced that he intended to recommend the continuation of the automobile manufacturing part of the Studebaker-Packard business, but only in South Bend, Indiana—the Studebaker headquarters. The next day upon formal approval of the agreement with Curtiss-Wright, James Nance, President and General Manager of Packard, and Paul Hoffman, Chairman (he had also been President of Studebaker from 1935 to 1948), resigned. Studebaker-Packard faced the end of operations if the board hadn’t approved the agreement.

How much blame Nance bears for the end of Packard is another topic for another day. 56packardman is free to offer his opinion on the subject as is anyone else reading.



A picture of a 1955 Packard Caribbean convertible that I took during our recent trip to the AACA Museum.

I dare anyone to tell me why this next car looks dated. To me it doesn’t look much different from its contemporaries at The Big Three.



This is a 1964 Studebaker Daytona convertible of which only 703 were made. I don’t remember if this car is owned by the AACA Museum or on loan. I discovered that the museum does sell 3-4 cars a year. Their basic donation agreement stipulates only that they must keep the car for a minimum of three years.

I have asked this question before, but what is the source of my obsession with defunct American car companies? I really don’t know so I am willing to read any answers you might offer.









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56packardman’s Ultimate Garage

First, my condolences to the family of Peggy Lipton. I must admit that I had quite a crush on her when I was young; she was the main reason I watched The Mod Squad.


Image result for peggy lipton


A picture of Peggy Lipton from Pinterest.



Spring, my ass! I don’t live in the Northern Plains. For someone having enough difficulty with the non-harsh winters where I live (and where I was born and raised), 45° in the middle of May is another kick in the teeth.


My thanks to 56packardman. Despite having a real life he has been a faithful reader and commenter on this blog. He is the only person with 100+ published comments on Disaffected Musings. Without further ado here is his Ultimate Garage, which to no one’s surprise has a lot of Packards and Studebakers. Different strokes for different folks…


• 1934 Packard Twelve Dietrich
• 1941 Packard LeBaron
• 1941 Packard-Darrin 4 door convertible
• 1947 Packard Clipper Custom Super Eight
• 1949 Studebaker pickup truck
• 1953 (or 1954) Studebaker Commander Starliner
• 1955 Studebaker Speedster
• 1956 Packard Caribbean hardtop (I prefer the hardtop over the convertible)
• 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk
• 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2/4 speed
• 1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk
• 1964 Studebaker Daytona hardtop or convertible
• 1969 Porsche 912 5 speed with sunroof
• Any Mazda Miata RF with a manual transmission
• Morgan Aero Coupe


The first car is very familiar; from My Wonderful Wife’s Ultimate Garage:


See the source image


From Pinterest a picture of a 1934 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria bodied by Dietrich. Like me, my wife did not really have any affinity for pre-war cars until just 3-4 years ago. This is a model 1108 that had a long 147-inch wheelbase. This car weighed over 5,000 pounds, was powered by a V-12 (duh, it’s a Packard Twelve) that produced 160 HP and cost $6,080. The most expensive 1934 Chevrolet cost $675.


I don’t know if 56packardman prefers the convertible over the other Packard Twelves bodied by Dietrich. The Studebaker Commander Starliner is his pick for the most beautiful car ever made. It was also the basis for the subsequent Hawk models all the way through 1964.


See the source image


From someone’s YouTube video a picture of a 1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner Coupe. This car was powered by Studebaker’s small-displacement V8, in its third model year, of 233 cubic inches. These cars were supposed to be introduced for the 1952 model year as a celebration of Studebaker’s centennial, but that did not happen.


See the source image


From flickriver.com a picture of a 1956 Packard Caribbean hardtop. I have shown pictures of ’55 Caribbean convertibles before, but I don’t think I’ve shown a hardtop.

The Avanti and Gran Turismo Hawk have been shown on this blog many times. One or both may or may not be in my Ultimate Garage 2.0. Here is a non Packard/non Studebaker:


See the source image


From autoevolution.com a picture of a Mazda Miata RF. I can’t tell from the photo what transmission is in this car.

Once again, thanks to 56packardman. By the way, we have never met nor spoken voice-to-voice. That is an example of the potential “good” of the Internet, but I think the good is swamped by the bad.







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I wasn’t going to post today, but here I am. As I awoke before 5 AM for the second consecutive day and since I cannot use the treadmill because my wonderful wife is still asleep, here I am. Once again, OCD is a bitch even if it’s OCD-lite.


I have been reading Packard: A History of the Motorcar and Company edited by Beverly Rae Kimes. She was, perhaps, the finest chronicler of American automotive history. The book is enormous at 800 pages and with my other wonderful trait, ADD, sometimes I just can’t wade through all of the details about the engineering, the interiors, etc. However, I am enjoying the book.

Would you buy a car without a working master cylinder?



From this Hemmings listing a picture of a 1956 Packard Executive without a functioning master cylinder. No, I am not going to buy this or any other car anytime soon, but as I have written before my brain is pestering me with the idea of buying a car that was built before I was born and is not too expensive. The seller is asking $8,000.

This was the last model year for the “real” Packard manufactured in Detroit. It was also the only year such cars featured a negative ground, 12-volt electrical system, the standard for cars built in the last 60 years. Of course, that is changing as some manufacturers have moved to a 48-volt system.

While this car will not end up in my Ultimate Garage 2.0 another Packard might. Speaking of Ultimate Garages I am still hoping more of you will send me yours. Not that I can’t post yours after I reveal mine, of course, but some of you might not want to wait until then. I will probably start before Memorial Day.






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Throwback Thursday, “Unhappy” Anniversary Edition

Eight years ago today (!) I began working at a very large financial services company. I lasted nine months before I resigned. The only reason I lasted more than nine weeks is that my wonderful wife also worked there and it was great commuting and having lunch with her.

Although it is a very successful company I am mystified as to how that can occur given what I saw. My immediate supervisor was a…well he was…he was an a**h*le. If he is an example of middle management then I can understand how only 30% of Americans like their job.

The company “culture” was such that if anyone didn’t drink the company “Kool-Aid” then they would suffer no matter how proficient they actually were at their job. Creativity and individualism were not encouraged. Moving people to their highest-valued role as quickly as was practical was not a consideration.

People in my position underwent a six-week training course. Our job obviously involved using a computer, but the IM infrastructure there was surprisingly antiquated in my opinion. Multiple systems had to be used to execute job tasks. The company was trying to move all functions to one or two systems, but during training the instructors would still instruct on the older systems even acknowledging the company efforts to modernize.

When I resigned after nine months, only 5 of 12 people in my training class were still with the company. More than 50% turnover in less than a year! People vote with their feet when they can.

The silver lining in the cloud is that my frustration with work led me to start blogging. Of course the Evil Empire (aka Google) deleted my first blog after SIX years because, well because they’re evil. I have been blogging with WordPress for 15 months and they, so far, have treated me well.


This CNBC article is titled, “Higher minimum wage means restaurants raise prices and fewer employee hours, survey finds.” EVERY policy has real costs. Blind adherence to ideology is dangerous, very dangerous. Here is the beginning of the article:


“For restaurants, minimum wage hikes usually mean higher menu prices and fewer employee hours, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Harri, a workplace management software company that works with restaurants, surveyed 173 restaurants between Feb. 28 and March 15 about the impact of raising the minimum wage. The respondents represent more than 4,000 restaurant locations ranging from fine dining to fast food.”


Companies don’t possess infinite resources and cannot raise wages without consequences. By the way, governments don’t possess infinite resources, either.


While I wish 56packardman all the best with his new restaurant endeavor, I miss new posts on his blog (especially Gear Head Tuesday) and I miss his comments on this blog. In his honor, here is today’s Throwback Thursday car:




From roadtripdog.deviantart.com a picture of a 1956 Packard Clipper Super. I believe that by this time, and although it came too late to save the company, Clipper was technically a make separate from Packard. Notice the name on the front of the car says “Clipper” and not “Packard.”

For many this model year represented the last “real” Packards as beginning in model year 1957 all Packards were based on Studebakers and built at the Studebaker factory in South Bend, Indiana. Remember that the two companies had merged in 1954 with Packard, technically, as the acquiring company. Packard production ceased after the 1958 model year.

Clipper production for model year 1956 was about 18,000, which represented the majority of Packard’s total production of approximately 29,000. This Clipper probably had the Packard designed 352 cubic-inch V-8 with an output of 240 HP/350 LB-FT of torque.

To me the car looks like a Packard despite the badging. I think it is a gorgeous car and a great example of a 1950s American automobile.





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