Our Cars: 1953 Packard Clipper

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

We all have cars that we’ve previously owned and miss for reasons that we can’t always remember the reasons why we sold them. Today is the latest in a new series of posts about cars that I’ve loved and cars that I’ve owned. If you would like to write a post about one of your favorite cars, please drop me note using the Contact tab above. I’ll be glad to provide the photography at no cost to you.

In 1941, the Packard Motor Car Company introduced the Clipper model as part of their nineteenth Series of automobiles. Later in 1948 as Packard issued its twenty-second series automobiles, the Clipper nameplate was dropped. When James J. Nance became the company’s president in 1952 he decided to separate Clipper as it’s own marque to target the mid-range market and keep it apart from Packard’s high-end cars. But dealers hated the idea of losing their best selling car and it became a Packard after all, that is until 1956 when it become a separate marque again only by them it was too late for Packard.

The above car is the 1953 Packard Clipper Club Sedan that Mary and I originally purchased to participate in The Great Race. We never made it to the event because our initial sponsors evaporated when it came time to put up the money. We kept the car only a short while and after participating in several car shows and Packard Club events sold it to a private museum in Phoenix.

What was surprising to me about our Clipper was how modern it felt to drive, especially when compared to its contemporaries from Ford and Chevrolet. The manual steering and brakes did not require excessive effort and after replacing the worn out shocks it drove and road like a modern big car. The straight flathead eight cylinder engine would cruise at highway speeds and we easily kept up with traffic flow, never dawdling behind like in an “old car.”

When driving it I always got big smiles from everyone from young people to little grey-haired grannies. It was a great car to own, much cheaper to maintain than some modern German cars that Mary and I’ve owned have and like some other cars that appear in this series, it miss it to this day.

How I made this shot: The above image was shot near Brighton, Colorado at the outdoor Adams County Historical Society and Museum with a Leica R9 with Digital-Modul-R back. EXIF data does not record the lens that was used (and I don’t remember) but it was made with an exposure of 1/350 sec at f/13 and ISO 200.