Style: 4 Door
Engine: 6L 368 Y-Block V8
Number Produced: 7,979 Super Clipper Sedans
Pre-Build Price: $5,000
Packard's increasing inability in the 1950s to compete in the auto business was really a shame, since the '55s -- the first designs President James Nance and his managers had wholly controlled -- were the finest crop of cars Packard had produced since the war. But the 1955-1956 Packards would be the last built in Detroit. With no redesign coming for the 1955 Packard Clipper, the company restyled what it had. Packard stylists did a splendid job with what they had, adopting a fashionable wraparound windshield, attractive new grillework, chic hooded headlights, new side and tail treatments, and a plethora of new colors and upholstery. Series were shuffled again, with the DeLuxe four-door sedan now the base model topped by hardtops and sedans in the Super and new high-end Custom series. Even more impressive was 1955 engineering. A complicated electrical system allowed the suspension to correct for load and weight, and the interlinking of all four wheels provided truly extraordinary ride and handling, especially over very rough surfaces. Combined with the new ride was potent new power that put Packard back into the horsepower race: oversquare, powerful V-8s, displacing 320 cubic inches in the Clipper DeLuxe and Super. Handling the power was Packard's latest improvement on Ultramatic transmission, designed by engineer Forest McFarland and a young associate named John Z. DeLorean. Called Twin Ultramatic, it featured two ranges. For quick getaway, drivers would select an alternative Drive range that started out in Low, shifted to 1:1 ratio, and then locked into direct drive. Clippers now did the all-important 0-60 leap in 11 to 12 seconds, keeping pace with the competition.