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1957 and 1958 Packard Concept Cars


The 1957 Packard Line Concept Cars
This Clipper sketch shows a rather down-to-earth interpretation of various ideas, plus a hint of Predictor in a squarish roofline with vee'd C-pillars.
This Clipper sketch shows a rather down-to-earth interpretation of various ideas, plus a hint of Predictor in a squarish roofline with vee'd C-pillars.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Naturally, the Predictor influence was most evident in the proposed 1957 Packard Line concept cars, but the entire line had the concept car's general feel.

Clipper evolved as something wilder than the Packard, with sharp "shark" fins and more sheetmetal sculpturing in line with Schmidt's aim of appealing to younger buyers in the Dodge-Mercury-Olds class.

The 1957 Packard line would have been the same as 1956: four-door sedans in Patrician and Executive trim; Caribbean, Four Hundred, and Executive hardtop coupes; and Caribbean convertible.

A Patrician/Executive hardtop sedan was slated for 1958, when Executive would divide into Standard and Deluxe series. Also planned was a new factory-built limousine for the "carriage trade" market that Packard had abandoned after 1954; the proposed limo was another Nance ploy to restore the make's once-proud pure-luxury image.

A rear view of the Clipper concept sketch. A showroom 1957 Clipper would not have looked nearly so long and low as shown here.
A rear view of the Clipper concept sketch. A showroom 1957 Clipper would not have looked nearly so long and low as shown here.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Clipper was first intended to go through 1957 as a holdover 1956 then be updated for 1958. Later, it was decided to offer the new one for 1957.

In both cases it was planned for just two- and four-door Standard and Deluxe hardtops, though a convertible was sketched and would have been a first for Clipper. Technically, none of these cars would have been Packards, as Nance had registered Clipper as a separate make for 1956.

Down in the low-priced ranks, where a broad lineup was essential for sales, Studebaker was assigned all the above body styles save the limo, plus a station wagon.

The pillared and pillarless Hawk "family sports cars," which Raymond Loewy had evolved from his timeless 1953 coupe design, would have returned with few changes from debut-year 1956, again in pillared and pillarless styles.

This 1957 Clipper Custom series concept car would have been offered as two- or four-door hardtops in Custom and less-costly Deluxe trim.
This 1957 Clipper Custom series concept car would have been offered as two- or four-door hardtops in Custom and less-costly Deluxe trim.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

There were also plans for a new Express Coupe, reviving Studebaker's light-duty car-based pickup from prewar times. This was set for 1958 as the same sort of station wagon "hatchet job" that Ford used to create its new 1957 Ranchero and which Chevy emulated two years later in the El Camino.

The 1957 Packards offered advanced engineering features. Continue to the next page to learn more about these features.

For more on concept cars and the production models they forecast, check out:


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