Supercharged Project! 1957 Packard Clipper

Both Packard Motor Car Co. and Studebaker Corp. were struggling in the early 1950s, so they merged in 1954 to form Studebaker-Packard Corp. Going into the deal, Packard had the stronger balance sheet and executive team, yet the Packard portion of the business ceased to exist after 1958. This 1957 Packard Clipper is a reworked Studebaker President and appeared in this format for only one year. It carries a supercharged Studebaker V8, but its running condition is unknown. Located in Vale, Oregon, the Packard is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $2,500.

Within Packard, the Clipper was a popular nameplate between 1941-47 (with time off for WW2) and again from 1953-57. The ‘57s were nothing like the Clippers that had come before and reflected the consolidation of the two companies. Because they were Studebakers in disguise, they were smaller and leaner than before. To compensate for Packard no longer making its own engines, the 289 cubic-inch powerplants under the hood were the same as Studebaker used and came with superchargers provided by McCulloch.

Those supercharged motors were rated at almost one horsepower per cubic inch or 275 hp, so the smaller Clippers should have been peppy cars. But buyers accustomed to Packard’s being big, luxurious automobiles were disappointed in the new models and sales numbers were not good. Fewer than 4,000 Clipper sedans like the seller’s car were built in ’57, so Studebaker-Packard pulled the plug on the nameplate after that and then the entire brand in 1958.

We assume this Packard has been sitting for a while and doesn’t run. The seller says it’s pretty much a complete car, but it has some rust brewing in the rear quarter panels and took a hit in the rear section, damaging the taillights. No photo is provided of that area but the seller is including replacements so they can be repaired. The paint job is wearing ample patina and the interior likely needs work given that the front seat has a sheet over it. Mileage on the car is rounded off at 100,000.

For $2,500, you’d have yourself a non-running auto of which may be only a few hundred survive today. Rebuilding the engine and transmission shouldn’t be a big deal, but we don’t know the status of parts availability for the 64-year-old supercharger. Restored, this Packard could come across as an interesting sleeper of sorts. But keep in mind that the car is not likely going to fetch more than $20,000 no matter how much you put into it (according to Hagerty).

Comments

  1. Steve Clinton

    Wasn’t the greenhouse the same on the ’59 Stude?

    • Will Fox

      Basically yes. But it goes back farther than that. It’s the same greenhouse going back to 1953 for Studebaker. Outer sheetmetal is the only real change Studebaker saw for `56-58, until the Lark showed up in `59.

      Like 2
  2. Uncle Buck

    What a cool car to do a mechanical restoration on and drive it in power tour or something like that. Or budget build find a running and driving full size Chevy or Ford carburetor engine and overdrive transmission and highway rear gears swap it add vintage air ac for comfort and road trip it. Maybe east coast trip or rt 66 trip. Leave the body as is restoration would be expensive and unless you have a personal connection may be difficult to do. Cool car

    Like 5
  3. Vince H

    @Steve Clinton. It is the same as a Studebaker President Classic. The supercharger parts are not a problem just expensive. The whole supercharger setup is probably worth the asking price.

    Like 8
  4. Will Fox

    Even among collectors, the `57-`58 Packard-bakers aren’t very popular, and if restoring, plan on never getting your investment back because these will always cost more to restore than they are worth. Packard fans will tell you, `56 was Packard’s last REAL year of building cars. These `57-`58 models rolled off of Studebakers ass’y line in S. Bend.

    Like 3
    • John E. Klintz

      Great example of what we’ve “discussed” previously, that Studebaker ruined Packard and a great company by tacking the name on their POS cars. I agree with the purists; sad. This thing isn’t worth a second look, other than the engine.

      Like 1
  5. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I’ve owned 2 of these. First one was my everyday car thru high school, it was light blue like the car in the brochure. I would go to Packard Club local events and the club members would jokingly say “Park it over there”. The Studebaker club guys said “Park it over there” as well. My best friend and I went to the Studebaker-Packard parts division in South Bend, IN in 1970. I was able to buy almost all the chrome trim, emblems, padded dash, even the upholstery material and a carpet set. Spent under $500! I also had a complete and running black ’57 Clipper sedan, but it had a lot of rust issues.

    On my heading to College, dad decided I needed a more reliable vehicle, so he ended up footing the bill to put me in a more sensible car: A near perfect 11,000 mile bright red 1966 Plymouth Fury III convertible, with the big 440 4 barrel engine.

    Traded the black Clipper in for $200 credit. The Fury convertible was offered [at the local Chrysler-Plymouth dealer] for $900. As it was September and a convertible, they wanted to see it disappear, so they came down to $600. Less, the black Clipper trade-in price, I ended up paying only $400.

    Weeks before we did the deal, and knowing the rusty Clipper would be “wholesaled south”, I spent a few hours pulling the entire supercharger set-up and all related parts, sticking a Studebaker Stromberg 2 barrel carb on the manifold. Also switched the pressurized fuel pump for a good standard 289 fuel pump.

    I knew the dealer’s vehicle appraiser hadn’t even tried to open the Clipper’s hood because I had a lock & chain on it. So when I drove the car in, signed the paperwork & they transferred the plates, I gave them the key to unlock the hood. The used car manager opened the hood, and expecting to see the supercharger, was visibly upset and asked me where it was. I simply said what you see is what you bought.

    Years later I bought a 1962 Studebaker Hawk with the 4 barrel engine and 4-speed. I put the entire supercharger set-up on the car. It was still working when I sold the car a few years later.

    Like 17
    • Vince H

      Bill I had one too but the supercharger was gone when I it. I drove the rust bucket all winter when I pulled the engine for my 54 coupe which was the reason I bought in the first place. 25 bucks for a running driving car was a steal.

      Like 4
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        Vince H,

        My black Clipper was owned by a sleazy character, an old man [at least to my teen eyes] with a big belly who was the night manager of an even sleazier hotel in a rough part of Washington, DC, a place where the hotel rooms were available by the hour.

        There was an actual sign that said travelers waiting for a connecting airline flight at National Airport could rent by the hour, but you had to ask up front for the hourly airport deal. This was the first time I saw someone working behind a bulletproof window that wasn’t part of a bank location!

        The manager had been keeping the car behind the building, and he wanted it gone as it took up a parking space. He pushed 2 sets of keys and the title thru the slot under the thick glass, and said “The car’s all yours kid, now get it the hell off the lot before the sun’s up.” Thinking about him today makes me think of Darnell the junkyard owner from the movie Christine.

        My friend and I went out back and I unlocked the Clipper’s door. On opening the door, the dome light lit up! I inserted the key and turned it. Within seconds that rusty old car was running, and I drove it home without a problem.

        I’ve never seen a more rusted Studebaker body and frame, the floors were 5/8″ plywood, and the plywood trunk floor rested on the gas tank. The spare tire on the board kept the plywood from flopping around. The bottom 6″ of the front doors were gone, as were the bottoms of the door panels. Anyone standing outside could see what kind of shoes the driver was wearing!

        Like 6
    • Gerard Frederick

      In the csr business we always looked upon customers suspicioyusly due to their frequent dishonesty. When people complain about the shady salesman, they forget that the buyers are more often than not very questionable as well. It is sad, but it is the result of the ¨I beat ém down¨ syndrom, the dog eat dog thinking which goes into overdrive when an otherwise perfectly nice guy sets foot in a car dealership. The old Romans said – Buyer, beware -. Well it´s also – Seller beware -. What is truly revealing is, that someone would proudly recall the moment he was a big time cheater, never realizing it. THAT is depressing.

      Like 7
  6. Ben T Spanner

    Bill states “rust issues”. In 1958 the cheapest car in the SP lineup was the Studebaker Scotsman, which used this same body shell. It was built to a price and even had painted, not stainless or plated, dog dish wheel covers
    I think they also deleted some rust proofing or underpanel painting, because in 2 years there were holes. The wheel covers also rusted away.
    I think it was hard to sell a 1957 or 1958 “Packard” when the lot also caontained cheap Studebakers with the same greenhouse.

    Like 2
  7. John

    My father bought a 58 Studebaker golden hawk S/C car about 50 years ago.
    The engine and trans were gone.
    Would this set up drop into the car?
    Family is probably going to sell it.
    John

    Like 2
    • Vince H

      Yes it is the same set up except the transmission went to a
      one piece driveshaft in 58. 57 was a two piece as this Clipper.

      The Scotsman was on a shorter wheelbase and the rear doors on the Clipper are the same as the President Classic. Scotsman rear doors are smaller.

      Like 2
  8. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel_Cadillac_Diva Member

    @Bill McCoskey

    Your story reminded me of when I traded in my 1962 Buick Electra 225 convertible on a brand new 1972 MG Midget convertible in 1972. They also gave me $200 on trade-in.
    As fun as the MG was, I really wish I had kept the Buick

    Like 3
    • MikeH

      That’s about as large a size step down as I’ve ever heard. That Electra was a boat and the midget you put on rather than got in. I’d take the midget.

      Like 1
    • stanley j kwiecinski

      traded a 73 Lincoln MK3? with front fender damage for a rusty 66 MGB. guy thought he made out? maybe? I had more fun with the MGB than i woulda with the Lincoln.

  9. Kenn

    I wonder if Bill McCoskey knows that Gerard Frederick was commenting about him???

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Kenn,

      Perhaps he was, perhaps not.

      I traded in a car after the “expert” had the opportunity to check it out. I was a young kid, the other guy a seasoned appraiser at a large car dealership. The hood was chained down and locked so that the supercharger remained securely attached to the engine, no other reason. I made no effort of any sleight of hand, and I had removed the specific parts long before offering it to them for inspection. I don’t even remember if the appraiser drove the car.

      Perhaps I was only teaching them a lesson in a round about manner. Had the appraiser come in to ask me for the hood lock key, I would have gladly provided it. The simple fact is, he didn’t ask. Not only that, it’s clear he had no intention of even checking under the hood, or he would have found it locked! So in that regard, they bought what they expected: An old clunker! It wasn’t until the deal was done that the used car manager found out it wasn’t supercharged. His error, not mine.

      As for a “big time cheater? To who does that refer? Could it be me because I didn’t disclose the missing supercharger to someone who didn’t care enough to even open the hood? Nah.

      But perhaps it was the used car sales manager who thought he would be able to pick up a cheap McCulloch supercharger set-up? Perhaps, but if so, then he was the person who tried to get the upper hand in the deal, not the appraiser, or me.

      Mr. Frederick’s comment was worded in such a way as to be considered either way, and I decided he certainly couldn’t possibly be referring to me!

      And one more thing: Have you ever seen those teen boys who used to hang around a dealership, fascinated with the new cars and the occasional vintage cars that came in for service? I collected stuff pertaining to rare luxury marques, Imperial included.

      I was one of those kids, and most of the sales & service staff at this Chrysler-Plymouth dealership knew who I was. My dad bought our family cars there. The sales manager used to let me know when he planned on throwing out all of last year’s stuff from the showroom, you know — the banners, flags, posters, sealed boxes of brochures — and I would retrieve them from the dumpster out back after they had been carefully placed there. I certainly wasn’t a stranger there. My biggest score from that place was when they took down the big 2-sided IMPERIAL sign out front, they set those 2 big plastic signs out behind the dumpster for me, giving me 24 hours to get ’em off the property! [The signs were officially broken up.] They barely fit in my Fury III convertible, with the top down!

      Like 3
  10. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel_Cadillac_Diva Member

    😂😂😂

    Like 1
  11. Lou Rugani

    One of the best-looking cars in the gaudy 1957 model year.

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