What we didn’t get: the Predictor-inspired Packards for 1957.
A frequent, if not favorite, activity of Packard enthusiasts (myself included) is to “Monday Morning Quarterback” the collapse of the company and offer “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda” alternatives, always with the hope that the company could have been saved.
In a series of posts on my old blog (now deleted), we looked at what might have been for Packard in 1957 had not the house collapsed so quickly in 1956. The series included the fine “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda” article written by the late Packard historian, Robert J. Neal where I offered an alternative to his happy scenario for Packard.
As the house fell, instead of the beautiful and very technically-advanced (for the time) cars that we should have gotten, we got the hastily cobbled together “Packardbaker”, a “Packard Clipper” that was a Studebaker President gussied up with left-over parts from the Packard parts bin. There was no money to do anything more. It was the equivalent of trying to dress for a White House inaugural ball and having to buy the clothes at Ross Dress for Less.
What we got instead: the Ross Dress for Less “Packard Clipper” based on the Studebaker President body shell.
Over at Packard Info, there have been three recent threads of Packard “What Ifs,” one HERE, one HERE and another HERE. One of the more intriguing ideas in one of the Packard Info threads was a proposal that the ’55s should have been based on the ’54 Panther show car. We would hope that the horrid grille on the Panther would have been fixed on the production car had this come about! That said, the Photoshop mock up of the proposal in side view is quite handsome:
Above is the proposed Packard Panther-based design for ’55 as found at PackardInfo.com (pg. 4).
Below are two versions of the Panther:
Five of the Panther show cars were built. They were fully functional. One, fitted with a supercharged engine, ran at Daytona. The Panthers originally were built with the “sore thumb” taillights used on the ’54 and ’55 Clippers. Two were later converted to use the “Cathedral” taillights of the ’55 Packard Patricians, Caribbeans and Four Hundreds. The overall design is good, but the best thing that can be said about the grille treatment is that it is ghastly.
All five of the Panthers were originally fitted with the “sore thumb” taillights used on the ’54 & ’55 Clippers, but two were later fitted with Dick Teague’s famous “cathedral” taillights used on the ’55 & ’56 Senior Packards.
About a year ago, Hemmings published an intriguing “what-if” for Packard for 1957. A contributor (whose name, unfortunately, I am not able to locate) did a Photoshop proposal of ’57 Packards that would have been an inexpensive but very effective and competitive update of the ’51 John Reinhart-designed body shell that Richard Teague had so skillfully re-worked for ’55 and ’56. Three of those ideas are shown below.
It was often said that Packard was the car company we couldn’t afford to lose – but due to events swirling out of the control of Packard management, we lost the company anyway …
The simple trick of adding the full wheel cutouts used on the ’53 Caribbean would have made a stunning update of the body for this ’57 “What-If.”
Here is a formal sedan version (above) and a two door hardtop (below)
Coulda. Shoulda. Woulda.