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Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

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Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

1955 Packard Clipper Custom – Rare Barn Find Impresses at 2017 Detroit Autorama


A 1955 Packard Clipper Custom – From Barn Find to Crowd Pleaser

Sometimes when you are not looking, the most amazing things drop in your lap. At the 2017 Detroit Autorama, we had the opportunity to speak with Larry Telles about his incredible barn find, a 1955 Packard Clipper Custom. Have you ever uncovered a hidden classic? Share our video with other car enthusiasts and see if they have. Tell us your stories in our comments. We would love to hear them.

Despite 15 Years in a Barn, It Was in Great Shape

Larry was not looking to add another car to his collection. It just happened. At a friend’s request, he reluctantly checks out a barn find. Whatever reservations Larry had vanished when he saw the car. The 1955 Packard was in great shape despite having been stored in a barn for 15 years. Larry’s biggest problem wasn’t getting the car out of the hayloft but rather breaking the news to his wife.

Merry Christmas, Dear – It’s a Packard

Fortunately for Larry, his wife understands what marriage to a classic car collector means. After 50 years, she realizes sometimes you just have to get on board with your spouse’s restoration dreams. That is why she made the Packard her Christmas gift to Larry that year. (Have we mentioned just how lucky Larry is?)


One of Only 25 in the U.S.

Larry knows his 1955 Clipper Custom is exceptional. It is one of only two in Michigan and twenty-five in the U.S. His Packard has 37,000 miles on it, little body damage and still possesses all the original parts, trim and glass. Larry keeps the original color combination of Citrine yellow and white and redoes the upholstery. His biggest obstacle is overhauling the engine and transmission.

The 1955 Packard Was Ahead of Its Time

The 1955 Packard Clipper Custom was direct competition for mid-level models by DeSoto, Oldsmobile, and Mercury. It was an innovative car for its time. The torsion-level suspension allows the car to compensate for load and weight. It provides better handling and a smoother ride. This unique suspension became a popular option on Packards.

Packard’s DeLorean Connection

The Clipper Custom features a powerful 352 cubic inch V8 engine that generates 245 hp. The Twin-Ultramatic transmission, designed by the engineering team of Forest McFarland and a young John Z. DeLorean, features futuristic push-button controls on the dash. This model also comes with power windows, power brakes and 4-way power steering.

Last Packard Produced in 1956

With difficulties on the corporate level and quality issues plaguing it, sales for the Packard Clipper plummeted. Though the Studebaker-Packard Company continued to build cars until 1958, many consider the last true Packard made in 1956. Collectors consider the 1953-56 models to be some of Packard’s best.

Preserving a Piece of Packard History

As a member of the Packard Motor Car Foundation, Larry wants to preserve the cars and history of this once great company. By restoring his 1955 Packard Clipper Custom, Larry is saving a piece of automotive history for future generations. Finding the car may have been chance but hard work and determination brought it back to life. Having the opportunity to enjoy this fantastic car makes us the lucky ones. Thanks Larry.

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Preserving pieces of automotive history is what the classic car community is all about. Whether your collection consists of Packards or Corvettes, they all need the best protection available. Classic Auto Insurance offers affordable coverage for your collection. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can answer all your questions and customize a policy to meet your needs. Visit our website at or call and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.
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