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In The Barn 15 Years: 1955 Packard Clipper

Packard introduced its 1955 line-up in the fall of 1954, just months after Packard and Studebaker had merged to stay relevant. By 1957, Packard designs and engines had been discarded, with the cars becoming nothing more than rebadged Studebakers. The end for Packard came quickly in 1958. The Clipper was the modestly trimmed Packard offering, like this 1955 edition which is said to have been in the barn since 2007. Needing an unknown amount of work at this stage, the Packard can be found in St. Mathias, Minnesota, and here on craigslist where the asking price is $4,500. Thanks for another find from yesteryear. T.J.!

The Clipper was named for a type of sailing ship called a clipper. It was built at different times by Packard/Studebaker-Packard just before and after World War II and again from 1953-57. For the latter period, the Clipper was Packard’s lowest-priced series, and – by the time of the merger – management saw it as diluting Packard’s image as a luxury automobile marque. Had Packard survived as its own brand, the Clipper would likely have been gone.

Besides being very dirty after 15 years, we don’t know much about the seller’s car. We assume the 320 cubic inch V8 is still under the hood as is its partner, an automatic transmission. The mileage is barely 51,000 with no indication of what caused the car to be parked. The body and paint may be okay, but we only get one outside view, and the same can be said for the interior. We hope the driver’s side (or any) window wasn’t left open so critters could get in. Clipper production included 8,039 Clipper Deluxes, 14,995 Supers, and 15,380 Customs during the model year 1955. As the seller only provides two photos, the last pic here is of a similarly colored Clipper as to indicate what the rear end may look like.


  1. Avatar photo Henry Davis Member

    I’ve bought two of these with the idea of restoring them, but finally gave ’em up as too rusty. But I’ve got a bunch of spare parts I’d be glad to give to whoever ends up buying this, including a low mileage engine. Heck, if you live between Charlotte and Orlando not only will I give you what I’ve got but I’ll bring it to you for free.

    Like 34
    • Avatar photo Jake Thesnake

      Can’t argue with free.

      Like 9
    • Avatar photo SG

      I wish you were close to Ohio, I own the twin to this car and need a motor! Mine was even the same color scheme originally…only difference was a 3 speed OD trans.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Henry davis Member

        How soon do you need it?
        I get to Ohio occasionally, know l’ll be in Lexington Ky either late Dec or early January. Could leave engine at Georgetown airport if you can come that far to get it.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Pnuts

        I’d think Ohio to Charlotte would be a worthwhile road trip for a free engine …. And whatever few parts you may find.

        Like 1
      • Avatar photo SG

        I’m not in a rush, if you’re in the area please let me know. I could probably go down to Georgetown too. Let me know how to reach you thanks!

        Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Artemus Autlav

    I have been enjoying the BARN FINDS web site for many years. The post by Henry Davis offering to not only give the Packard parts he has to who ever buys this car but to deliver them for free seals the deal for me ! I am going to quit procrastinating and sign up to become a member. In 1969 my Dad tried to get me to trade me a 1954 Packard Clipper Deluxe for the 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster 4 door that I had bought for 35 dollars with my lawn mowing money for my first car. He told me that they made millions of the chevys but the Packards were better cars. But alas being a stubborn self appointed boy genius I declined the offer. You sir in my humble opinion you are a class act Henry Davis! I live deep in the mountains of western N.C. and have gearhead friends and family that run across some interesting true Barn finds. One recently was a 1940 Ford coupe that has been in the barn since 1958 when it got shot up running from the revenuers. Still in the same family. They never got caught ! Still afraid to take it out of barn after 64 years! I will send pictures once I become a member ! Thanks again HENRY !

    Like 14
    • Avatar photo Henry Davis Member

      Thanks Artemus for the kind words. —Beginning of a philosophical rant— I find that I do most of the things you mentioned…some I attribute to the way I was raised and the others…I guess…are DNA. I’ve said for years that “rich” is not a number, its a ratio. If you’ve got $20 and you need $50 you’re poor. If you’ve got $20 and you need $10 you’re rich. I find myself in the middle ground. I’ve always worked for a paycheck so I guess I ain’t “Wealthy”, but I know the meaning of the word “enough”. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy to help keep the hobby alive, so I guess I do it more for me than for others.

      Like 16
      • Avatar photo Ken Vrana Member

        You’re AMAZING. There are still people like you in the world.

        Like 5
      • Avatar photo Lee Stevens

        WOW. Reading that made me feel really good. What a nice thing to do. Pay it forward. It’s a fantastic gesture and speaks volumes about you, and how you were raised. We need more Henrys in the world today. Many, many more. I am going to share this great story with my friends. It’s WORTH passing on. Happy Holidays everyone, however you celebrate.

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Solosolo Member

      Looking forward to those pictures Artemus. Welcome to the BF membership.

      Like 1
  3. Avatar photo Vance

    There aren’t many people left in this country that will do anything that doesn’t benefit themselves. Hat’s off to Mr.Davis, you are a rare commodity that deserves to be applauded. It seems like the people on this site are ones that still hold doors open, let people go first at a 4 way stop, address people as Miss and Sir, look people in the eye, help an older woman or man with a flat tire or are out of gas. That’s one reason why I check out this site daily, the people are genuine and our love for cars and memories of them share a common ground. I appreciate all the gear heads and car enthusiasts that BF gets together, if only more people would feel this way. Thank’s again Mr. Davis, you deserve to be noticed.

    Like 11
    • Avatar photo Henry Davis Member

      Is there a way to blush in an email?!?!

      Like 5
  4. Avatar photo bruce baker

    So he’s going to be disappointed if it has a 352 (245 hp) in it instead of the”320″(225 hp)? If this is the car my late father used to own, then it’s a 352 as I helped him put it in. My grandfather’s two 1956 Packard’s had the 374 dual quad engine. I used to drive to high school in the 1955 Clipper. I hope that is a decal.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Thomas N Crum

    Mr. Henry Davis: I am restoring three 1955 Packards. Mine are all patricians. I live in central California and my Packards are all rust f=free. We never have freezing weather and never. I am sure I could use the parts you have on hand.
    I have two that have been stored indoors and the interiors are still in great condition. If the Packard has sat outside the interiors will be well burned from the sun.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo TheOldRanger

    I loved the old Packards, and I remember as a kid, age 10 (1952), my step-father stumbled upon a 1936-7 Packard Touring Sedan (we never had a new car). This was great for us (7 kids) as we had some room. I remember when we went to the drive-in movies, I sat on one of the front fenders using the headlight for support. Sometimes I drifted off to sleep, but never fell off due to that headlight. I loved the 55 Packard Caribbean. What a car !!!

    Like 3
  7. Avatar photo Thomas N Crum

    Henry, I see you grace the east coast of the United States. Here I am in central California, (shucks).

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo "Edsel" Al leonard Member

    is that you Hank Davis?? I bought a ’58 tri colored Edsel from you a few years back…that is now in France…

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Henry Davis Member

      I am indeed A Hank Davis, but not THE Hank Davis since l’ve never had an Edsel. Sorry!

      Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Thomas N Crum

    In 1972 I was a student at Henry Ford College and University of Detroit. I studied at night. My professors were auto executives. One of them offered to give a 90 optional lecture on the Edsel. One fact that I clearly remember from the lecture is that one year after the last Edsel was built not a single management employee with Edsel was no longer with the Ford Motor Company. Ford is a very ruthless company, believe me.

    Like 1
  10. Avatar photo "Edsel" Al Leonard Member

    The “pencil-pushers”..i.e. Robert Mc Namara and Company ruined a fine car

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Thomas N Crum

    Not really the “pencil pushers”. Having been one in the auto industry for many years. myself. Packard continued to produce at their oiriginal manufacturing plant that was built around 1920. In 1950 it was now no longer efficient and Packard maintained way too much overhead and office personnel. Packard failed to retain earnings thus when developing a V8 engine they had 3 prototypes. GM had over 180 prototypes.

    Like 0

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