Packard Tail Fins

Packard Tail Fins – James Ward Packard started Packard in 1899 and it quickly grew into a prominent automaker. By the 1930s it was one of the most popular luxury automobiles with sales greater than Cadillac. In the 1940s they tried to compete with Buick, Chrysler and Mercury. Then in the 1950s Packard took a nose dive into oblivion. In 1954 Packard joined with Studebaker to form The Studebaker-Packard Corporation. It is hard to understand how a company that once dominated the market could sink so fast in 1958.


1951 Packard Tail Fins
1951 Packard Tail Fins

“Packard’s the one for ’51” claimed one advertisement during the early 1950s. Packards boasted with pride an all new look for 1951. No wonder they earned the “The Most Beautiful Car of the Year” from one art group. The redesign with small tail fins only on the Patrician more than doubled sales.


1952 Packard Tail Fins
1952 Packard Tail Fins

Except for power steering, Packards for 1952 had very few changes. The Mayfair hardtop coupe was priced at $3318.00 while the tail fined Patrician four door sedan was priced at $3797.00. A model 250 Packard now had small tail fins.


1953 Packard Tail Fins
1953 Packard Tail Fins

Tailfins appeared on most packard cars in 1953 except for the cheapest cars such as the Clipper Club sedan. Only 90,252 1953 Packards were sold this year. 1952 was a very bad year with only 62,921 units.


1954 Packard Tail Fins
1954 Packard Tail Fins

Packard’s big cars such as the Pacific hard top, Patrician four door sedan and Caribbean convertible had similar styling and tailfins like the 1953 Packards. These cars were built on a 127 inch wheelbase.


1954 Packard Clipper Tail Fins
1954 Packard Clipper Tail Fins

The Packard Clipper was introduced in 1954 and became the midpriced offering. Clippers were identified by a unique tailfin, a slightly different grille and its 122 inch wheelbase. The new Clippers started as low as $2544.00.


1955 Packard Tail Fins
1955 Packard Tail Fins

Along with Packard’s 1955 styling changes and new V-8 engine came restyled tailfins. Also new was Packard’s Torsion Level suspension. The Patrician four door sedan, and Caribbean convertible returned. The Caribbean convertible cost customers almost $6,000.00 in 1955.


1956 Packard Tail Fins
1956 Packard Tail Fins

The Clipper was made a separate make for 1956. Even the name was change to the Packard-Clipper Division of Studebaker-Packard Corporation. The Clipper no longer wore different tailfins and tail lights. 1956 Packards included the Deluxe, Super, Custom and the Super and Custom Constellation hardtops.


1957 Packard Tail Fins
1957 Packard Tail Fins

In 1957 Packards moved to a body shared with Studebaker and were built at the Studebaker factory in South Bend, IN. Styling was similar but Packards featured their signature tailfins. This four door Town Sedan Station wagon was Packard’s first since 1950.


1958 Packard Tail Fins
1958 Packard Tail Fins

The so called “Packardbakers” of 1958 tried to project a fresh look in their last year. Features included quad headlights, a widemouth grille, slooping hood with built in scoop and double tailfins.


1958 Packard Hawk Tail Fins
1958 Packard Hawk Tail Fins

The Packard Hawk shown above was the sportiest of the four Packard-Studebakers produced in 1958, the final year of Packard production. The 1958 Packard Hawk was essentially a Studebaker Golden Hawk.