The ’55 Packard Clipper four-door sat on a trailer in the Car Corral at the Fall Jefferson Flea Market in Jefferson, Wis. To a person unfamiliar with old cars, it probably looked like the biggest bargain in the world. After all, it was a P-A-C-K-A-R-D and it was all there. How could you go wrong buying it?
First of all, that novice hobbyist may not realize that there is a big difference between one Packard and another Packard. It’s for sure that the Packard name is magic, but that doesn’t mean that a ’55 Clipper and a 1932 Packard V-12 are cut from the same cloth.
Secondly, the new hobbyist might not know that four-door cars (with few exceptions) are worth less than two-door cars. Coupes, hardtop coupes, convertibles and roadsters are sexy and stylish and usually have two-door styling. Collectors have traditionally sought two-door cars the most and therefore they have higher collector values. The four-door Clipper in our “This” photo will probably never be as desirable as the four-door Clipper in our “That” photo.
Thirdly – and most important – is the fact that the four-door Clipper on the trailer needs restoration work. Bodywork and mechanical repairs are very expensive today. And the cost of restoring a car naturally goes up when it is an “orphan” model that no one is making reproduction parts for. In many cases, parts for such cars must be custom made by the restorer. This adds to the time spent working on the car and time equals money.
Today, it is very difficult to find an old car that does not need restoration and it is very expensive to do a restoration, whether you do the work yourself or have a professional shop do it. Restoring a classic car is still a very rewarding experience, but if you’ve never tackled this job before, do your homework.
Figure out what it is going to take to turn THIS into THAT before jumping into the project with both feet.