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Affordable Cruiser: 1955 Packard Clipper Custom


With a breath taking appearance, this 1955 Packard Clipper Custom is attention grabbing. Being an older restoration, and having low miles this looks to be a nice example of a Clipper. The price grabbed our attention even more so than its looks! Priced at $3,550 this Packard is hard to pass up. Find is here on craigslist out of Norfolk, Virginia.


Upon closer inspection it is clear that this Packard did not undergo a concourse quality restoration, though that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a nice driver that could easily be enjoyed without concern of rock chips. The 352 cubic inch V8 is listed as being a solid runner, and appears stock. A little detail work on the engine and bay would clean it up and yield a much better presentation. The 352 is backed by an automatic transmission.


The interior has obviously been re-upholstered, but looks very nice with only minimal wear since the work was completed. The dash and door panels look spot on and the steering wheel looks nice as well, but wears a few cracks from age. The exterior of this Clipper looks nice, and the chrome looks fantastic. The only negatives we can see is the windshield is delaminating, and there looks to be some rock chipping and minor rust on the front edge of the hood, and there looks to be minimal rust developing around the lower corners of the trunk edge.


There are some issues with this Packard, but the price is awesome for a running driving car of this condition. If the future buyer spent some time detailing, and rust proofing this Packard, it is likely it would look much better, and its condition could be maintained much longer. So would you pick up this cheap ready to drive Packard?


  1. BradL

    And it’s gone. That was fast.

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  2. Hoos Member

    I would have seriously looked at this one. I also saw some rust on the driver’s side front fender, too.

    I am a little confused, though. This listing reached my inbox at 6:01pm. The previous comment was posted at 3:56pm. Any idea how/why that happens?

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    • Mike

      I don’t know where this site is sourced, where you are or how time stamps are applied on the site but if you’re in the east and the site is based in the west you could be a few hours behind, but seeing it at the same time as everyone else?

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  3. Vince Habel

    These were called just Clipper not Packard Clipper.

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    • Ed P

      In 56 there just called Clipper. In 55 they were not yet a separate marquee.

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    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Vince: Packard & Clipper didn’t actually split into 2 different & separate marques until 1956. These still had a small Packard script on the trunk lid, and the original certificate of origin said Packard as the make, Clipper Custom as the model.

      Towards the end of 1956, with sales way off even the low estimates, Packard relented and added the Packard emblem back again, primarily because the dealers were doing it already!

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  4. Howard A Member

    The ’55 Packard is kind of an odd car. It looks like they started refreshing the car from the front, and ran out of steam, and finished it off with the older styling. The ’56 was the nice one, and this car was almost there. Cool car.

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    • Andy

      The running out of steam was mostly for the Clipper. Even in ’55, they were trying to differentiate them to ease into the brand separation in ’56. The uprange Packards had a fresher rear end.

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  5. Fred W.

    That was a LOT of car for $3550. Look for this to appear on some dealer’s website soon for $8500.

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  6. Joe Haska

    Great buy, it went fast! Would have been a fun car to play with.

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    • Willis A.

      I’m the guy that bought the car. Started with the first turn of the key. The chrome is in great shape. Actually got it cheaper than $3550. I am 55 and bought a ’55. You don’t find great buys like this everyday.

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      • Greg Mason

        You got a great deal. Enjoy it and good luck with it.

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  7. Paul B

    The ’55s were Clippers. Notice it doesn’t say Packard anywhere on the car. James Nance was trying to create a separate brand. But as I understand it, he ran into rebellion not only from customers but from Packard employees. Some customers obtained Packard nameplates and rebadged their own cars. Same in ’56. And then it was over. The 1957s (modified Studebakers) were called Packard Clippers, and the sad 1958 models names simply Packards.

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  8. Paul B

    It is true that Clipper wasn’t registered as a separate make until 1956, even though Nance was already trying to have it perceived as separate in ’55. My error.

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  9. erikj

    I just moved to Spokane wa. from the coast. On my many trips to Spokane I pass a hiway sign for Packard. Looks like a small town maybe. Once I,m settled I will check that out. I allways think that you cant live in a place with a name like that and not own a Packard. Weird thought , but that’s me.

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  10. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    On first look at the pics of this car, I missed a rather rare difference in production: This is a very early production car. The front fender chrome spear continues straight into the front door and ends about half way along the door. The Clipper hardtops had a different door chrome, it curved downward to the rocker panel. Early public feedback suggested the sedans should have the same curved trim, and after only 2 weeks, they made the change, installing the curved piece on ALL Clippers.

    I don’t have easy access to my 55 Clipper showroom salesman’s book for the colors, but I have a feeling the Gold color was a special order color, and in looking at the interior metal it appears to be a factory color, or someone went to a lot of trouble to change color.

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  11. Dusty Stalz

    If I had the money and the wherewithal I would have bought this car just for it’s colors. Nice combo.

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  12. Chuck

    Learned something new, did not know Clipper was ever a separate Marque. Also, until a couple of years ago did I find out Imperial was Marque of its own.
    Now—-if people would realize that EDSEL is NOT a Ford Edsel, but a Marque of its own, I will be happy. Would you call a Mercury a Ford Mercury or a Lincoln a Ford Lincoln ?

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  13. onree Member

    “did not undergo a concourse quality restoration…”
    Sheesh! Any automotive writer ought to know the difference between concours and concourse.

    Like 0

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