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In the Garage: 1955 Packard Clipper Custom
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1955 Packard Clipper Custom owned by Dan and Kathy Curran
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
For nearly the first half of the 20th century, the innovative Packards were considered America’s finest luxury car except, perhaps, for the Duesenberg. But by the 1950s, competition – primarily from Cadillac – helped to put Packard’s finances in disarray, even though the company was still producing excellent cars through 1956. The Currans say that their Clipper Custom is the most deluxe sedan of three trim levels offered by Packard in 1955.
“The car,” says Dan Curran, “came factory-equipped with power windows, power brakes and steering, power four-way front bench seat, power antenna, auxiliary rear heater, auxiliary rear speaker with volume control, the first lock-up torque converter and automatic rear leveling suspension, which are all still functioning.”
HOW LONG THEY’VE OWNED IT
For several years
WHERE THEY FOUND IT
“We found the car a few years ago in Greenlawn,” Curran says.
“We spent almost two years restoring the body and interior,” he says. “The car runs great with the original Packard 352 (cubic inch) V-8 and ‘Twin Ultramatic’ transmission. The original two-tone paint had to be redone, but a lot of the ornate, patterned interior was saved.” The green roof sports a custom lace-patterned paint.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“In this economy, you can buy a car done as there are some real values now,” Curran advises. “If you want to buy one to restore, just realize it takes a tremendous amount of time, work and
Curran estimates the value “in the low $20,000 range.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
“I really was not a big fan of Packard until I got this car,” he says. “It caused me to learn about the make’s history and all the engineering firsts the car company pioneered. It has helped my wife and I spend more time together going to shows and ‘cruise-ins’ because my 1940 Willys coupe was too loud and uncomfortable for her and had no trunk space.”