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Classics Junkyard Treasure: 1953 Packard Clipper Touring Sedan

19:40  14 may  2020
19:40  14 may  2020 Source:   autoweek.com

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Before World War II, Packard competed on equal terms with the likes of Lincoln and Cadillac, but got stuck in a self-reinforcing downward spiral of obsolete technology and outdated styling when civilian car sales resumed after 1945. One of the biggest handicaps the Packard Motor Car Co. faced in 1953 was its lack of a modern overhead-valve V8 engine, but a previous owner of today's Junkyard Treasure fixed that problem with a Buick swap … which wasn't enough to keep it out of a Colorado self-service boneyard.

a car parked in a parking lot: A 1953 Packard Clipper sedan, complete with Buick V8 engine swap, in a Denver-area self-service car graveyard. © Murilee Martin A 1953 Packard Clipper sedan, complete with Buick V8 engine swap, in a Denver-area self-service car graveyard. a cake made to look like a car engine: Buick V8 engine in 1953 Packard Clipper © Murilee Martin Buick V8 engine in 1953 Packard Clipper

Underneath the snow, this swapped-in engine appears to be a Buick 215 V8 (later to be known as the Rover V8) engine. The original engine in this car would have been a flathead straight-eight of 289 or 327 cubic inches, rated at 150 or 160 hp. The straight-eight design reeked of the old prewar days by the middle 1950s; Buick and Pontiac still sold straight-eights in 1953, but Buick switched to a V8 during that year and Pontiac—a decidedly proletariat marque not often mentioned in the same breath as upscale Packard—followed in 1955.

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1953 Packard Clipper interior © Murilee Martin 1953 Packard Clipper interior

The Clipper was the lowest-priced Packard of 1953, though the Deluxe Touring Sedan still cost $2,735 (about $26,500 today). Meanwhile, a new Ford Mainline Fordor sedan with flathead V8 went for just $1,766, and a Dodge Coronet sedan with Hemi V8 cost $2,220.

an old car parked in a parking lot: 1953 Packard Clipper Sedan in Colorado junkyard © Murilee Martin 1953 Packard Clipper Sedan in Colorado junkyard

With minimal rust and a not-too-far-gone interior, it wouldn't have taken much to put this Packard back on the road. Sadly, though, postwar American sedans just don't get much enthusiast interest these days, and I keep seeing nice ones headed to the crusher.

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