Clipper (automobile)

Clipper was an own brand of American automaker Studebaker -Packard Corporation, which was only marketed in model year 1956. Clipper were middle-class cars such as, for example, Dodge, Oldsmobile and Mercury.

The Packard Clipper and born between 1955 and 1956 are among the most innovative cars of its time. Although cost considerations would allow no completely new chassis and the body structure of 1951 the last time you had to use, bursting with these cars is the only way of technical innovations. Packard also has never made ​​"cheap" cars. Now, even the entry-level model Clipper Deluxe had a price tag that lifted it into the region of a Jaguar Mk I or Mercedes -Benz 220. Who could even afford a Packard Caribbean, the price moved in a region where a Rolls- Royce or a Bentley were absolutely have to.

For the first time appeared the name Clipper Packard in 1941 for a groundbreaking design Sedan of the upper middle class. Later, James Nance, since 1952 President of Packard and later Studebaker -Packard tried to split the name Clipper as its own brand and to reestablish Packard as a pure luxury car manufacturer. Therefore Clipper was introduced in 1956 as an independent brand, by creating a separate Packard -Clipper Division within the Studebaker -Packard Corporation for the model year. Packard dealers were obliged to, on a franchise basis to sell Clipper. In addition, they allowed Studebaker dealers in regions where there was no Packard dealer, also to sign such franchise agreements. They could sell other Packard models then also, as far as the work allowed this.

These efforts began as early as the Model 1953 to emerge as the model name [ Clipper ] The previous designation " 200 " for the smaller series replaced. From 1954 Clipper received increasingly, design elements around them visually distinguished from the so-called "senior" models. So Packard Clipper got its own chrome equipment and other fender including taillights. As Packard 1955 a completely revised model introduced, the Clipper kept this fender and got her own two-tone paint that went for the first time on a different painted roof. During the model year, the color separation was added because it had been shown that the priced slightly infra Packard Clipper Pontiac had received a very similar color separation.

1956, as an independent brand, Clipper not only got its own advertising slogan ( "Skipper The Clipper "), but also has its own logo. It represented a ship's wheel and emblazoned proudly in the middle of the radiator grille, on the trunk lid, on the C- pillar of the Super and Custom models and inside both on the steering wheel hub as well as on the dashboard ( there including model name ).


The Clipper was a slightly smaller version of the Packard and how this thoroughly a quality automobile. After a firework had been unleashed on technical innovations for 1955, they have been refined for 1956.

The only introduced just for the larger models V8 engine with 352 cubic inches Displacement ( 5801 cm3) and overhead valves ( OHV ) no longer met the management already. An even bigger engine with 374 cubic inches ( 6130 cm3) and 290, respectively. 310 HP power was introduced in 1956. Thus, the Clipper took over the 352er engine ( the who, however Clipper Custom received in 1955. The 320 cubic-inch V8 ( 5245 cm3) of 1955 was replaced for external clients such as AMC ( Nash and Hudson) from 352 in this form, however, only 220 bhp @ 4600 rpm (164 kW) supplied.

Critics granted Packard Clipper in 1956 and outstanding performance and above-average driving behavior. This was due largely called on the torsion - Level Ride Suspension by torsion bars. This suspension was introduced in 1955 and standard on all Packard and the Packard Clipper Custom. In 1956, she was part of the basic equipment of all Packard and Clipper solely with the cheapest model, the Clipper Deluxe, was delivered on request and free of conventional suspension, is likely to reduce 1955 bearing parts.

Also " Twin Ultramatic " automatic in-house ( with the foreign customers such as AMC were not allowed to advertise ) had been further refined. They already had two driving ranges with different gradation looked basically like a transmission with sport and economy segment. An electrical Drucktastenbedieung was Newly available as an option for $ 56 for this transmission.

For the first time in the U.S. industry is also a rear axle with Sperrdiffential of Dana- Spicer was available. However, had because of this axis for the first time in the history of the brand Packard automobiles are recalled. Were affected also Clipper.


The designers at Richard Teague (who had been responsible for the thorough visual refresher 1955) succeeded in turn bring out striking visual differences between Packard and Clipper with a high degree of common parts. So even the same bumpers were used front and rear next to hoods, new, bulligeren trunk lids, roofs, doors, etc.. Like last year, but Clipper had a grille with chrome bars (which were now arranged horizontally instead of vertically ), while he deposited with the Packard of an anodized aluminum mesh with a coarse checked pattern consisted of chromium ( similar to last year ). Re- covered from the grid and the opening of the bumper. Early in the model year, the silver anodized grid was incidentally replaced by a gold - anodized. Clipper also had a simple, chromed lamp enclosure. When Packard this consisted of a chrome frame and a painted decorative plate behind it. Clipper also received its own hood ornament, which consisted of a spear that pierced a ball.

Were different, the front and the rear fender. The Clipper missing front the drawn forward " roofs " over the headlights (in practice, not a disadvantage, they were even in minor collisions very exposed) and rear arose only because of the shorter wheelbase (127 inches on the Packard and 122 at Clipper ) a another form. But while the 55 " Cathedral" was used in the Packard taillights only a slightly modified version, the Clipper was completely new, elongated curved units.

Finally solved were the manufacturing problems with the body. They were encountered by a hasty move to the new and actually small body shop at the Conner Avenue and led to customer complaints. The cramped conditions also prevented that Packard Clipper, or could follow up on the estate version urgently needed.


The model range of the new Clipper remained unchanged. Again, there was a Deluxe " Touring Sedan " as a price cutter. It was followed by the identical motorized Super Series, also with a Touring Sedan and a two-door hardtop. At the top of the brand was the custom, which was also available in these two versions. The nickname of Panama in the Super Series and Constellation in the Custom series previously used for the hardtop had been eliminated although they are used now and again unofficially.

For easy face- lift, which took place annually as with most U.S. manufacturers, included a new color separation for the Super and Custom models. Now, the second color covered the roof and a strip on the edge of completely straight led from the front to the rear of the top, bottom but from about mid- body in an elegant arch was wider. Packard little changed and led only the aluminum application at the edge now to stern.

While Clipper Super and Custom externally differ only by an additional chrome trim on the sills of the Custom, Deluxe Touring Sedan, the many peculiarities. So its edge chrome is limited to a respective front strip extending from the front end of the body to the middle of the front door. A second chrome strip begins in the middle of the rear door, and terminates at the reverse light. The C-pillar is completely self-contained. A two-tone paint beschränktze to an alternate color for the roof.

A curiosity put the hub caps of the Deluxe; they had been taken over by last year's model as the only, and therefore the only one of the Clipper series, on which proud PACKARD CLIPPER was to read.

Adjustments in the model year

Located in the model year, the traders began to complain that customers bought these cars not right, because they were actually Packards, but this would not be recognized by any inscription.

After Nance had to watch as many of its dealers switched to Mercury, he responded to two sides: the requirement that the name Packard somewhere should appear at the Clipper again, he came reluctantly in and let the lettering right below attach it to the trunk lid. As part of this inspection chrome insignia was also subsequently mounted on request and free of charge so that today Clipper without him are rare with as such.

But above all, led Nance a new model: the Packard Executive. This replaced from 15 March 1956 to date Clipper Custom, with whom he was technically identical. This single Packard 122 -inch chassis had had a full - Packard and Packard Front logos everywhere where previously geprangt the Clipper steering wheel. The stripe on the side not had the Clipper downward swing on but not the metal appliqué of large models. The tail was identical with that of the Clipper up on logos and fonts. The interior came almost entirely from the Clipper Custom addition to the identification of the Executive received the Packard instrument panel ( with fabric cover made of gold instead of silver threads and other decor) but the new, now highlighted in blue instruments of Clipper; the Packard they were still white background. In addition, the Clipper Instrumentation contained warning lights instead displays for oil pressure and temperature. Priced Executive was about U.S. $ 200 via the Clipper Custom, but also had a more comprehensive standard equipment.

The production of model year 1956 ended for Packard Clipper for as on September 25. Previously, Studebaker -Packard was acquired by Curtiss -Wright arms company whereby the impending bankruptcy of the whole group could be prevented. Most members of management, including James Nance and Richard Teague, left the company. The Packard works on East Grand Boulevard and the body shop at the Conner Avenue in Detroit were then closed. But while there was a new Packard for 1957, the Clipper brand was no longer needed - Packard sold myself now exclusively in the Clipper - market segment. The 1957 Packard based completely on the Studebaker President Classic and ran into the Studebaker factory in South Bend (Indiana) from the tape. For them, the name Clipper reappeared - but only as a model designation but complete with Schiffsteuerrad at the bow.

The rear light of 1956 Clipper was used for both the Packard models 1957 as in 1958 from South Bend, which may have the Studebaker designers prepares some headaches. Thus calculated, a component that has been restyled otherwise annually, one of the most durable and begot by the brand Clipper when it was long extinct.

1956 Packard Clipper and 122 -inch chassis

The model year ran from November 3, 1955 to June 25, 1956, the Clipper Custom was replaced on 15 March by the Packard Executive. Total production amounted to 18572 piece (excluding exports).

Allen Packard Clipper and Executive in common is the OHV V8 engine with 352 cubic inches Displacement ( 5801 cm3), which carried the Deluxe and Super 240 HP (SAE ) at 4600 rpm. Custom Executive and had a highly compressed version of this engine with 275 HP (SAE ) at 4600 rpm.

The chassis of a Clipper Custom was used as a base for the Packard Predictor show car, which should anticipate the planned design direction for 1957.