(Photo Courtesy of the LeMay Collection)
The 1957 Packard is a Town Sedan with a chassis length of 120.5 inches. The 1957 Packard cars were available in just one other model: four-door station wagons called Country Sedans, which had frameworks about four inches shorter. These cars were produced following Packard’s 1954 acquisition of the dying company Studebaker. The formation of Studebaker-Packard was meant to combine the independent automakers into a company competitive with Big Three manufacturers. Instead, it – and the production of the 1957 Packard – started the company’s slide towards massive losses and closure.
The 1957 Packard, also known as the 57th Series Packard Clipper, possesses a misleading name. Though its nameplate is that of the Packard Clipper, the car is merely a Studebaker President with Packard trim and interior and dash designs. Production of the actual Packard-designed cars ended the year before when plants were shut down. This fact made the car unattractive in the eyes of Packard customers, who shunned the vehicle despite the Studebaker engine’s fine reputation. The same distaste remained among car buyers even after the company’s death in 1964.
Relatively few – between 4,800 and 5,500 – of the two styles of Packard cars were produced, with both models selling in the $3,000 range. The cars were unpopular with consumers and sales were awful. The lethal combination of poor leadership and little buyer interest resulted in Studebaker-Packard’s nearly $100 million operating loss and a similar plummet of net worth. 1957 marked the death of the Clipper name. Packard cars were removed from production the next year.
The 1957 Packard is now a relatively affordable luxury car in classic vehicle markets. Town Sedans sell for $5,000 to $17,000. Country Sedans sell for $6,000 to $30,000.