The Corpus Christi Old Car Museum Auction

Lot 193
1955 Packard Clipper Super Panama Hardtop
OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVE


Selling on Saturday

1955 Packard Clipper Super Panama Hardtop

CHASSIS NO: 55476583

• Packard’s high-style, high-value model for 1955
• Rare example of Packard’s first hardtop body style
• First-year model with Packard OHV V-8 engine
• Striking paint colors and automatic transmission


Model 5547. 320 cid OHV V-8 engine, Carter four-barrel carburetor, 225 HP, automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and torsion bars, live rear axle with leaf springs and torsion bars, hydraulic four-wheel hydraulic brakes; wheelbase: 122”


It is a truly bitter irony that, by 1955, Packard was slipping into oblivion following its merger with Studebaker, just as its best-ever postwar models debuted. All Packard models now featured an innovative front and rear torsion-bar suspension system with automatic leveling, making the 1955 Packards some of the smoothest-riding and best-handling full-size cars of the era. Reportedly, the advanced engineering of the 1955 Packard lines reportedly even forced Chrysler back to the drawing board to rethink its own “Torsion-Aire” design. A pair of modern and powerful OHV V-8 engines also debuted with 1955 Packards, displacing 320 and 352 cubic-inches with robust 225- and 275-horsepower ratings, respectively. In addition, Packard’s Ultramatic automatic transmission was updated with a locking torque converter, offering the traditional economy and performance of a manual unit with the smoothness and ease of operation of an automatic.

Stylistically, the “high-pocket” design language of the entire 1955 Packard model range was fresh and modern with crisp lines penned by Dick Teague, who would later go on to acclaim as American Motors’ head of design. The Caribbean Convertible continued as Packard’s image leader, while the Clipper nameplate, first used in 1941, succeeded the Packard 200 series for 1953-1956 as Packard’s entry-level models intended to compete directly with DeSoto and the “junior” Hudson models, plus Mercury and Oldsmobile. Initially offering just two- and four-door sedan bodies in Special and Deluxe trim levels, the Clipper line included an expanded model line by 1955, comprising Deluxe, Super and Custom trim levels, plus the Super Panama and Custom Constellation hardtops. Offering Packard quality and image at a reasonable price, the Clipper line sold briskly, yet represented only a small fraction of sales in the highly competitive mid-market, with 8,039 Clipper Deluxe, 14,995 Super and 15,380 units produced for 1955. Of them, just 2,776 Clipper Super Panama hardtops were built that year.

Finished in period-appropriate salmon and white paint over an inviting two-tone interior trimmed in gray and white upholstery, this 1955 Packard Clipper Super Panama hardtop is a rare example of these later-production models from Packard’s last few years as an independent manufacturer. In addition to a desirable Packard Ultramatic automatic transmission, this 1955 Packard Clipper Super Panama hardtop is equipped with pushbutton radio, heater/defroster, power brakes and useful instrumentation plus an electric clock housed within an attractive brushed aluminum dash panel. The engine compartment is driver quality, yet honestly presented and properly equipped and the trunk is carpeted and fitted with a spare wheel and tire. While a driver quality example, this 1955 Packard Clipper Super Panama hardtop provides a rare, yet budget-friendly entry point into Packard ownership.

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