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Packardbaker? Supercharged 1957 Packard Clipper Station Wagon

It would be fairly easy to write a few pages just about the Packard and Studebaker merger, an event that took place in 1954 that most auto enthusiasts don’t seem to have a lot of favorable memories of.  Some gearheads even comically referred to the resulting cars as “Packardbakers”, and by 1957 the Packard cars were largely Studebakers with badging that read Packard.  Less than 5,000 examples of the Clipper were produced in 1957, and of that number fewer than 900 were the station wagon model, so they’re not exactly common sightings these days.  If you like the wagon styling and have been in the market for a nicely preserved Packard, this 1957 Clipper might be worth checking out.  The car can be seen here on Facebook Marketplace with an asking price of $27,000, and it’s located in Lodi, California.

Many thanks go out to Barn Finds reader Edd for spotting this one and letting us know about it!  The seller tells us that the Packard actually belongs to his father, who is the car’s third owner.  The station wagon has 58,000 original miles on the odometer, and they’ve owned it since 2003, with the body remaining in the same condition as when it was acquired.  The Packard still seems to give a decent presentation outside from every angle we can see, with original paint on the top half and a respray at some point on the lower part.

Under the hood is a factory supercharged 289 Studebaker V8 engine, which was good for 275 horsepower right out the door.  The drivetrain is where the seller focused most of his attention, which is said to have been completely rebuilt, including the motor, transmission, and even the supercharger.  He also overhauled the brake and cooling systems and states that the car now runs and drives great.  The car has been on the road for roughly just 3,500 miles since the rebuild in 2003, so hopefully, there’s plenty of good motoring left in it for the next owner.

Most things inside are still original, with the exception of the front seat which has been recovered, but it appears to match the rest of the interior quite well.  Everything looks pretty good in there, although no word on whether or not the gauges are all functioning.  There are also a lot of NOS parts that come with the sale, as they originally had plans to restore the Packard, but now that’s not going to happen on their watch.  I think it looks alright as it is now, how about you?  The car has already been listed for 22 weeks, so they may be ready to make a deal. What are your thoughts on this 1957 Packard Clipper Station Wagon?


  1. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    I had a great aunt, Aunt Charlotte. At 66, they told her, she had 6 months to live. She lived to be 88. She had a saying I’ll never forget at funerals, “you can’t focus on the end”,,and she was right. I’m here to defend this car. While many compare this to a Studebaker, not many Studebakers were this nice in their BEST day. The seemingly standard supercharged version is all we see, but I read, they actually sold a very small number, and a worthless option today. All glitz, but about the only thing that helps sell a car like this, and that’s a shame. The Studebaker was an excellent car, and I’m sorry, Packard siding with them was no deterrent to me, 2 very high quality cars, and a rift of reasons why they both failed, but it wasn’t because of their quality, I feel. There was a shift to smaller cars, Packard tried to change their long time big car image by offering this. I don’t think they were far off, it’s a really nice car.

    Like 37
    • Avatar photo JEV

      Crazy thoughts, GM-FORD-CRYSLER forced all the Independents to die quick deaths. Such as Preston Tucker whom had the most advanced car ever built died before they hit the road. Packard had a long history of prestige and quality workmanship for decades. But it was politics and underhanded Washington DC greed that forced the small automaker out of business, not the demand for the cars they built! JV

      Like 10
      • Avatar photo John E. Klintz

        Good comments, JEV, but I slightly disagree. Studebaker stopped making good cars in 1953 when the Hawk came out. The Lark made them money but was a turd, which is why they didn’t sell TWO of them to buyers. They destroyed Packard and this car, IMO, is disgusting. Packard was one of the very best manufacturers ever on US shores. By the time Studebaker finally got decent management and started to improve in the early ’60s it was over. Can’t blame that on the government.

        Like 4
      • Avatar photo JustPassinThru

        Klintz, I CAN blame it on the goverment.

        The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, taking effect in 1968, required compliance in various manners. It killed various small operations, such as King Midget. It put the future of Kaiser Jeep (not, then, a big marketer) into question.

        And it put the post-Curtiss-Wright management’s future of Studebaker-Packard, into serious question.

        That question was answered with the expiration of the UAW contract with S-P, 1964. Closed plant.

        Hamilton, Ontario, protected Studebaker-Packard-Worthington against lawsuits from dealers. One model, the former Lark, somewhat updated. Take it or leave it.

        Dead by March, 1966. The eve of US government standards.

        Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Jerry

    Its good 👍 the miles is original and not unoriginal, since I’ve never seen a car with unoriginal miles 🚓

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member


      I have a car with unoriginal miles showing on the odometer, because the entire speedo/odo unit was replaced with a used one with different mileage numbers!

      As for “original” miles, the original miles on a car was 0.0, as it left the factory line.

      Like 7
      • Avatar photo Paul R

        If the odometer turns over back to zero and starts again , the miles are not original.
        You have to watch this in Canadian cars . We went metric in ‘75 so the odometers were calibrated for Km’s but remained only 5 digits from 1975 to 1985 anyways and would turn back to zero at 99,999. , that’s every 60,000 miles !
        Lord know how many times the odometer has turned over on cars with “only 66,000 kilometres!”
        I had an ‘85 Roadtrek on aDodge Custom 250 chassis with the 318 V8.
        It was great fun to watch the odo turn back to 00,000.
        Even on the third time around !

        Like 2
  3. Avatar photo MrF

    A very unusual car

    Like 4
  4. Avatar photo Gary Haas

    Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched) owned one of these.

    Like 7
  5. Avatar photo charlie Member

    Pug ugly. But some dog owner will say this is PC against their dog.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

    JEV and John E. Klintz,

    The Hawk first appeared as a 1956 model, not 1953. The Lark was widely considered a success [look at production numbers pre-and post 1958], but with the big 3 automakers introducing compact cars within a year or 2 of the lark’s introduction, along with Studebaker’s higher production costs, It simply wasn’t possible to maintain sales levels.

    As for Packard’s end, here is a BRIEF synopsis of what happened. For more details I suggest you read Beverly Rae Kimes definitive book on Packard.

    Packard was very profitable when it bought Studebaker [not the other way around]. Problem was Studebaker management was ‘cooking the books’ and Packard didn’t hire a 3rd party accounting agency to look closer. Studebaker was losing money on every car they made due to high material and labor costs.

    It was standard practice for auto manufacturers to borrow money for the new model tooling, and they traditionally chose the insurance industry for the financing due to that industry’s huge reserves. However by 1956 it was evident Studebaker-Packard wasn’t doing well, and the insurance companies basically said because Studebaker was selling about 15 times more vehicles than Packard, they would only provide money for Studebaker.

    Plus, by then the big defense contractor Curtiss-Wright had bought financial control of S-P, and then siphoned-off Packard’s defense contracts, leaving the company in dire straits.

    So S-P had no choice but to close the Detroit factory and continue in South Bend only. Gone was a very promising plan to create a new line of Studebakers and Packards based on a new common chassis, to be built at both locations.

    It was the Purchase of Studebaker, the limited access to finances, and the Curtiss-Wright bleed-off of the profits from S-P, that doomed Packard.

    Like 14
    • Avatar photo John E. Klintz

      Agreed; I’ve heard most of this sad saga. You’re right; my bad; I was referring to the 1953 Commander, I believe; the new coupe that they introduced then. That began the downward spiral of Studebaker good cars. I mentioned that the Lark was a sales success, but that did not make it a good car, which it was not.

      Like 2
  7. Avatar photo TheOldRanger

    When I was 10 (1952), we had a 49 Packard, and that was the best car we ever owned. It was large (there were 7 of us kids), it was a great road car (it didn’t drift if you let go of the steering wheel) and it had style. A friend of mine owned a 55 Studebaker President (I was 13) and I loved that car, next to our 49 Packard. My first car was a 1965 Impala SS and that was my all time favorite. I have great memories of these cars and every car I have gotten in the past 50 years have been compared to these 3, and all of them were good cars, but fell short of the quality and style.

    Like 5
  8. Avatar photo Hank Davis Member

    I’ve got both a ‘1950 23rd series Packard (Standard) and a 62 GT Hawk. The difference in the two cars, given their only 12 years difference in age is amazing!. Packard is a stodgy old man, Hawk is a 40 year old lounge lizard! To get breakfast…Packard. To go for a cruise…Hawk!

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Verlin J Boes

    I really like the car it makes sense does it have power steering works or air conditioning I really like it I can I don’t got the money to buy it I just need to talk to you more about it than I’d like to see the car and I live in Kansas City by the airport please call me Verlin Boes 816-223-7017 I don’t have time to waste on things that I don’t really like and I’m sure you feel the same have a blessed day

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Verlin J Boes

    I really like the car it makes sense does it have power steering works or air conditioning I really like it I can I don’t got the money to buy it I just need to talk to you more about it than I’d like to see the car and I live in Kansas City by the airport please call me Verlin Boes 816-223-7017 I don’t have time to waste on things that I don’t really like and I’m sure you feel the same have a blessed day

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member


      This car has both power steering and power brakes. A/C was not available on the wagons because they were trunk-mounted. However starting in 1958 Studebaker changed to a under dash unit, and these can be had used, but not cheap.

      I would suggest you go with a modern add-on underdash unit, as Freon R-12 can get expensive fast, and the modern units will provide far better cooling capacity.

      I’ve owned several 1957 & ’58 Packards. Mechanical parts are easy to find, but trim pieces have always been harder to source.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Vincent Habel

        I agree with Bill about modern a/c. No cars came from S-P with both A/C and supercharger.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member


        Actually, while very rare [even when new], ’57 & ’58 Studebaker Hawks and ’57 Clippers could be ordered with factory A/C, and the McCulloch supercharger. There is evidence of a couple of ’58 Packard Hawks with A/C, but it’s been suggested due to the thickness and design of the fiberglass hood, both A/C and supercharger was not available due to lack of space. So far I’ve been unable to find any evidence of both on the Packard Hawk.

        But to accomplish it on the other Hawks and Clippers, many changes were made. As the compressor was the huge Lehigh V-93 four cylinder unit as used on the V8 Packards and early Buicks, everything else had to be relocated. The compressor was mounted on the right side of the engine, the generator was mounted on the left with the power steering pump driven off the back of the generator. The Bendix power brake unit was mounted in front of the generator, on the inner fender, and the voltage regulator was all the way up front on a bracket supporting the Bendix unit. All these changes required a different wiring harness as well. I’m attaching several photos of a 1957 Golden Hawk that has A/C and the supercharger. The owner said the factory order form shows both options.

        First photo shows the Lehigh V-93, the next 2 photos show the changes on the left side of the engine.

        Like 1
      • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

        Photo #2

        Like 2
      • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

        Photo #3

        Like 2
  11. Avatar photo Tom

    At 15 years old I inherited my first car from my folks. It was a ’59 Lark VIII wagon, 3 on the tree with a kick-down overdrive. Loved that car. Used to transport half of the football team to the local Chuck Wagon after practice. We’d eat them out of house and home then try to fit back into the wagon. It defines my high school memories and first driving experiences. Would love to find an affordable one in good condition. Driving it would knock 50 years off my age as I reminisced about those days. This Packardbaker is cool… just too fancy for my memories.

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo jwaltb

    Bill, thanks for those pictures. I never want one of those- what a mass of stuff under the hood!
    And thanks for the history lesson- I never knew what really happened to finish off these companies.
    I like the wagon. I had a friend whose father owned a ‘55 or ‘56 Caribbean convertible. The fun we had with that when his Dad was out of town!
    Good memories. Too rich for my blood but love those taillights-

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member


      I asked th owner of the Hawk how hard it was to change the spark plugs, and he just started laughing, so I suspect it’s like changing plugs in a big block Mustang or Camaro.

      I also like this wagon, I’ve had 2 ’57 sedans and a really beat-up wagon, but it ended up as a parts car due to severe body rot.

      As for the taillights, I have always felt Dick Teague did an incredible job in creating the 1955’56 Senior Packard “cathedral” lamps, and the flowing 1956 Clipper taillights, later used on the ’57 & ’58 Packards. Note that the Clipper lenses interchange with all 3 years, but the 1957/58 taillight housings are different from the ’56, as the later versions have a hole at the top peak of the housing, for a sheet metal screw needed to keep the lens in place.

      Like 2
  13. Avatar photo chrlsful

    cant get the pic of the ‘shortie’ posted awhile back here when admiring this one. Dont do that to me again BF, lol

    Ppl speak of the under hood messes starting in early ’80s. Bills above sure shows another time for it, no? Now we got all those plastic covers all over obstructing view (began w/super cars, 80s?). What’s next?

    Like 0

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