1955 Packard Cars Fact Sheet
Packard’s New Designs
Everything seemed new this year. Massive bumpers with bullet-shaped guards and full-width grilles with bowed upper bars. The front fenders were extended over to hood the headlamps and sweep-around windshields appeared.
General Year Information
The 1955 Packard products were introduced to the public on January 15, 1955, with the Clipper Special four-door added on March 29. Everything seemed new this year. Massive bumpers with bullet-shaped guards and full-width grilles with bowed upper bar were on the front fascia of both Clippers and Packards.
To prove their sparkling new OHV V8, a Packard Patrician ran 25,000 miles at an average speed of 104.737 miles per hour in an AAA supervised test at the Utica Proving Grounds. The Packard “Request” show car was shown in this year.
Packard supplied V-8 engines and Ultramatic transmission to American Motors Corporation for use in Nash and Hudson Eights. Richard Teague was now Chief Stylist at Studebaker-Packard Corporation. Work commenced on the styling changes for 1956.
Model year output was 55,517 cars. Calendar year sales were 69,667 units. Packard was America’s 14th ranked automaker. While this seemed an improvement, Clipper’s chief competitor, Pontiac, who also introduced their own OHV V8 in 1955, sold ten times Packard’s entire production – 554,090 units. The Packard line’s chief competitor, Cadillac, sold 140,777 units. If something stupendous in sales did not happen in 1956 – including a big uptick in Studebaker sales, Packard could not go on.
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SERIES 5540 – The DeLuxe and Super series eliminated the Clipper Special Series so as to move up even with Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Mercury, Dodge and DeSoto.
A ship’s wheel was now the hood face’s center medallion and bumpers with bullet-shaped guards and full-width grilles with a bowed toward top upper bar were on the front fascia, along with very fine vertical blades. The front fender tops hooded the headlamps and finally wrap-around windshields appeared. The front “clip” was a clever disguise to the fact that this was a facelift of previous Clipper bodies. The disguise showed somewhat at the Clipper’s rear, where a 1954 look was retained. It was an excellent job, as now both front and rear reflected the more jet-age look being pushed by the Big Three.
At the middle of the rear deck was another ship’s wheel medallion and, on either side, model identification scripts were placed. The left-hand said “Clipper” in script and the right-hand said either “DeLuxe” or “Super”. Side moldings curved down and back from the front “ventipane” to the rear edge of front doors, then ran straight to the tail lamps.
With “integrated two-toning”, everything above and behind this molding was painted one color, everything else was done in another. “Clipper” in script decorated the hood and the fender area above the front bumper’s wraparound edges. The only Packard identification was a very small script on the right corner of the trunk.
DeLuxes had small hubcaps and lacked rocker panel moldings. Supers had chrome wheel discs and bright metal strips on the rockers, along with upgraded Nylon and vinyl interiors.
SERIES 5560 – The “Custom” was designed to go head to head with top of the line Oldsmobiles and Buicks. Sporting an engine larger than all except the Oldsmobile, the Super exuded the class and performance that had been missing since 1951. It featured chrome wheel discs, rocker panel moldings, and fender skirts as standard Clipper Custom equipment.
The Clipper Custom “Constellation” two-door hardtop had no skirts but had a chrome molding on the fender openings. A “Custom” in script was placed on the right hand side of the trunk. Interior materials ranged all the way up to the genuine leather that was used in Patricians, although the trim patterns varied between the two cars.
Two-tone Constellation hardtops came standard with a side molding treatment that gave a double color sweep effect. This was done by extending the lower front spear which ran from the upper bumper bar to mid-door on other Clippers, then in a downward curve toward the rocker molding, ending near the rear of front doors. The region below this molding was colored to match the roof and the panels above the upper rear side spear. It was a novel approach and could be ordered as an option on the Clipper Custom touring sedan.
SERIES 5580 – The Cavalier was gone, and only one 4-door remained, the Patrician. A two-door hardtop called the “400”, replaced the Pacific hardtop, and there was only one convertible – the Caribbean – which moved even further up the scale and competed with the Eldorado, Cadillac’s newest offering.
The senior Packards had the same shape front fenders and fascia treatment and the same grille opening as Clippers, but used a grid type grille insert. New features included wraparound parking lamps, wrap-around windshields, “Packard” in new style script on the rear fenders, and all new, more modern hood ornaments. The most striking feature on Packards were the all-new rear fenders with cathedral-shaped taillights. Somewhat flat, rounded tail fins were integrated smoothly into the rear fenders as well. At the leading edge of these rear fenders were vertical, simulated vent panels finished in chrome. Trim and decoration varied between models.
The 400 hardtop had “Packard” block letters on the hood, gold trunk ornaments, a modified and subdued pelican hood ornament, roof medallions and “Four Hundred” in script on the deck and front fenders. A straight spear of chrome ran from the corner of the upper grille bar, over the wheel opening, then across the door to the vertical faux vent. A second spear ran from the back bumper, over the fender skirt, straight to the front wheel housing. It touched the bottom of the vertical rear fender chrome “vent”. Thus, a rectangular panel was formed where the higher molding passed over the lower one. This allowed three-tone finish with one color on the roof and under the bottom molding; a second within the parallel moldings and a third on all other areas.
The Caribbean convertible had a twin-scoop hood with no ornamentation, except on the front edge of the scoops. A slick styling treatment was an overlapping, fender-over-fender treatment was seen at the rear of Caribbeans. The shorter of the two fenders was banded with a thin molding that dropped to gas filler door level, then ran straight to the headlamps. The longer fender dropped to the bumper exhaust pod, at which level another horizontal spear ran forward to the front wheel housing.
To achieve a three-tone finish, everything above the upper molding was one color; everything between the moldings plus the fender extension area was a second, and all the panels below the bottom molding were a third. Every Packard specific option, except air conditioning, and including dual outside mirrors and rear antennas was standard.
Against the treatments on the 400 and Caribbean, the Patrician was elegantly simple. It had one straight molding on the back fender which hit the vertical “vent” at right angles and a separate front molding was attached that ran straight from the upper grille bar edge to the rear of the front door.
A split-finned hood ornament was fitted as well as two-tone treatments that resulted in only a different color for the roof. Optional trim was offered, however, to give the Patrician look more like the 400. In that case, the higher molding was simply extended back to the chrome “vent”, thus forming a horizontal rectangle that was finished with the same color used on the roof. The rectangle also had “Patrician” in script placed inside it. All Patricians had “tin foil” side trim.
All three senior Packards came with rocker moldings, fender skirts, chrome wheel discs, the 352 CID OHV V-8, and Ultramatic Drive.
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Clipper DeLuxe and Super V-8. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 320 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.8125″ x 3.5″. Compression ratio: 8.1:1. Horsepower: 225 @ 4600 RPM. Torque 325 ft. lbs. @ 2400. Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake & Exhaust: 250°; Lift: 0.374″; Overlap UNK. Carburetor: Carter Type WCFB four-barrel Model 2232-S with cylinder head No. 440689; Model 2284-S with cylinder head No. 440854.
Clipper Custom V8. V-8. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 352 cubic inches. Bore and stroke: 4.00″ x 3.5″. Compression ratio: 8.5:1. Horsepower: 245 @ 4600 RPM. Torque: 355 ft. lbs. @ 2400. Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake & Exhaust: 250°; Lift: 0.374″; Overlap UNK. Carburetor: Carburetor: Rochester 4GC four-barrel Model 440823.
Packard Patrician and 400 V8. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 352 cubic inches. Bore and stroke: 4.00″ x 3.5″. Compression ratio: 8.5:1. Horsepower: 260 @ 4600 RPM. Torque: 355 ft. lbs. @ 2400. Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake & Exhaust: 250°; Lift: 0.374″; Overlap UNK. Carburetor: Rochester 4GC four-barrel Model 440823.
Packard Caribbean V8. V-8. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 352 cubic inches. Bore and stroke: 4.00″ x 3.5″. Compression ratio: 8.5:1. Horsepower: 275 @ 4800 RPM. Torque: 355 ft. lbs. @ 2400. Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake & Exhaust: 250°; Lift: 0.374″; Overlap UNK. Carburetors: two Rochester Type 4GC four-barrel carburetors fitted as follows: (front) Model 476010; (rear) Model 476011.
- Wheel base: Clipper – 122″, Packard – 127″.
- Overall length: Clipper – 214.8″ Packard – 218.5″.
- Front tread: Clipper – 59.7″, Packard – 60 inches.
- Rear Tread: Clipper – 60″, Packard – 60.98″.
- Tires: Clipper – 7.60 x 15 tubeless, Packard – 8.00 x 15 tubeless.
- Torsion-Level Suspension: Standard on Clipper Custom and Packard, not available on other models, which came with conventional springs.
- Electrical: A 12-volt positive ground electrical system was now standard.
- Power Brakes: Standard on Caribbean.
Power Train Options
- Three-speed manual transmission was standard on all Clippers.
- Overdrive transmission was optional on Clippers at $110.
- Ultramatic Drive was optional on all Clippers at $199.
- Ultramatic Drive was standard and the only transmission available on Packards.
- An oil bath air cleaner was standard with Packard; optional with Clipper.
- All Packards had dual exhausts with reverse flow mufflers and resonators.
- Available rear axle gear ratios included: (SMT and overdrive) 3.9:1, (Ultramatic) 3.23:1.
Body Paint Color Codes
Click on the Paint Code Name to See the Mix Codes for the appropriate color:
1955 Packard & Clipper
|H Gray Pearl|
|J Fire Opal|
|M White Jade|
|U Rose Quartz|
1955 Packard –
Current Market Values
- Air conditioning ($647).
- Curb feelers.
- Door edge guards.
- Drink holder and pocket pouch.
- Fog lamps.
- License plate frames.
- Lighted vanity mirror.
- Locking gas cap door.
- Power antenna.
- Power brakes ($40).
- Power seat ($70).
- Power steering ($115).
- Power windows ($108).
- Radio ($102). Heater ($80).
- Rain vent shades.
- Rear window defogger.
- Remote brake master cylinder filler.
- Remote spare tire filler.
- Roll-up trunk light.
- Snap-in Car-Pet mats.
- Tinted glass.
- Traffic light viewer.
- V8 engine chrome rocker arm covers.
- Wire wheel covers.
- Wonderbar radio.
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