Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Photos from a 1980 Car Show, Part 6

Packard's rather inglorious final series, the 1958 model, often called the "fish mouth" for obvious reasons. Packard used thinly-disguised Studebaker bodies for 1957 and 1958 before closing its doors forever. I actually like this car quite a bit, but for kitsch reasons having nothing to do with elegance or Packard's long, long history.

Packard used a fin-on-top-of-another-fin in the quest for relevance in the late 1950s. 

Rather more in keeping with Packard's real place in the automotive world, is this Twin-Six V12 engine from the early 1930s.

A 1942 Packard One Eighty Darrin, also featured in the earlier 1980 Car Show series.

1956 Lincoln, left, and 1957 Lincoln, right, show off their respective rear ends. The '56 was tasteful in every way, while the '57 went just a bit garish with its rising fins, but compared with other '57s from luxury makers, was still quite restrained.

1956 Chrysler 300B, the second year of Chrysler's "Banker's Hot Rod." Oddly, the first 300, the 1955 model, was named the C300 (this corrects my mistyping 300C the first time, I swear I knew that, lol—thanks to Paul NYC for pointing out my error!). From '57 onwards, the 300s were consecutively named, C, D, E, F, G, H, and then J, skipping over "I" as they felt it might be seen as 3001, then K and L, with the '65 300L being the last in the original series.

Even then, if I found some flowers I'd photograph them.

7 comments:

  1. Oh, those 58 Packards! The 57s were pretty restrained and tasteful (for Studebakers!) but the 58s were just over the top (as were a lot of the 58 Studebakers)! The next town to where I grew up had a cab stand at the commuter rail station and had always used Studebakers in cab livery. The elderly cab proprietor also had a 55 Packard 400 for his personal car but, in 1958, he consolidated business and personal and bought a 58 Packard sedan, all black with with gold spear and white walls and licensed it as his taxi. He used that for three years and replaced it in 1961 with a very nicely turned out (also black with white walls) Lark Cruiser (the sedan on the longer station wagon wheelbase). That was his taxi until the end of taxi service a couple of years later.

    The contrast between the 56 and 57 Lincolns is interesting. The 56 is a much more unified design and the way the fins were added to the 57 is executed better but is really the same concept that Packard did with their fins in 58 -- they look like they are just added over the rear fenders of the 56. The 56 was Lincoln's return to glamour after the staid 52-55s which are wonderful but were really competition for Olds 98 and Chrysler, not Cadillac.

    Speaking of Lincoln and Packard, a very early CA had a drawing of a 57 Packard using the body shell of 56 Lincoln -- evidently this concept got fairly far in discussions but ultimately didn't happen. What might have been!

    I think the first 300 was called the C300, not 300C. I don't know if they didn't know whether it would continue after 55 or what but the success of the 55 encouraged them to continue. The regular 300 that came out in 62 was pretty much the death knell for the 300 letter series, although the 63 300J is one of my favorite cars of all time -- it is so clean and elegant and looks like nothing else -- the last gasp of the Exner Chryslers! As you know, the 63 Imperial was supposed to be a further development of this design concept -- we've seen the studio pics of an Imperial with tehse proportions and a stand up taillights and a tire imprint on the rear deck.

    Paul, NYC

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  2. You're right about the first Chrysler C300! I thought I typed that, but apparently I didn't, lol! I'll change it in the story for the historical record! thanks!

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  3. yes, I remember reading that the Lincoln bodyshell was considered for the next Packard. It would have been more appropriate! There were also some good looking "blue sky" new Packards by Teague, with "Predictor" styling cues, had Packard the money to continue independently. Such a sad, sad story of mismanagement and not reading the postwar market correctly,

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  4. You know what happened to Packard is one of my obsessions! If they had built only Custom Super Clippers (with convertibles added as soon as practical) after the war and skipped the 48 redesign and gone right to the Reinhardt design (or something similar) for 49, they could have been in a much better place to compete with Cadillac. A lot of cheap Packards were sold in 46-47 to people who came out of the war with money -- if there had been only expensive Packards to buy, people would have bought them. Lincoln was floundering at that time and Imperial was no factor at all until 55 and not really until 57. And of course, Packard should have merged with Nash when there were still honorable people in charge at Packard but they didn't and that's one of the sad stories of the mid-20th century autodom!

    Sometimes I sound like a broken record!

    Paul, NYC

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  5. Also, I was not a huge fan of some of the proposals for the Predictor-based Packards, particularly the Clipper vesions, although they certainly fit in with what else was going on in 57-58-59. I think they would have dated pretty fast. If Packard and Nash designers had teamed up, I think some pretty impressive work would have come out of what should have been the REAL American Motors.

    Paul, NYC

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  6. i would like you posts even if you WEREi a broken record, which you aren't. You know so much about the Packard/Nash situation, it's great to read about it every time!

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  7. Love this blog, keep up the great work wish you all the best.

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