1948 was Packard's finest post-war year, as its clean, modern, "bathtub" styling was a hit with buyers. However, the small company could not afford annual restyles like its rivals. All-new postwar Packards, known within the company as the 22nd series, reached dealer showrooms in September of 1947. Disposing of all traces of a fender line resulted in a slab-sided, "free-flow" body design, with very sleek and flowing lines.
While this new design was a hit, the modern styling of the forthcoming Cadillac and Buick designs would steal some of the thunder. Still, Packard garnered many awards for its design, including the New York Fashion Academy's "Fashion Car of the Year" award. At the front end, the grille was a shorter and broader version of the traditional Packard "ox-yoke" grille, with an egg-crate insert. On Custom Eight models, two lower fullwidth horizontal bars created a horizontal grille section, and the new front bumper carried on the grille theme into a painted center section that continued the vertical bars of the grille. Rectangular parking lamps were placed between the two grille bars and beneath the headlamps. The horizontal grille bars and front bumper were of a wraparound design and extended to the front wheel opening. The base and Super Eight series used three horizontal grille bars and dispensed with the grid work between the bars and within the bumper. The hood sat high enough to accommodate the new inline 8-cylinder engines but blended into the fender lines at the cowl. Atop the hood, on all but the base Packard Eight, was a new V-shaped hood ornament dubbed the "Winged Goddess," the design of which harkened back to the glamorous Packards of the 1930s.
Along the bodysides, there was minimal trim, but as was typical of the period, the more trim the car had, the higher its place in the model lineup. Base Packards had a rocker panel molding and beltline stainless steel trim, while the DeLuxe Eights added front and rear window trim. These two lines replaced the former Clipper series. Super Eights, the replacement for the Super Clipper, added side window trim, and the top line Custom Eight, the replacement for the Custom Super Clipper, added a second chrome strip above the rocker panel molding. On all series, the lower panel moldings ran from the front wheel opening across the fender skirts and ended at the rear bumper. Around back, two-doors used a fastback style with the roofline sloping down to the rear bumper. Four-door and convertible models had a slight notch to the roofline for the trunk. Under the hood, changes were also seen. The old 282 CID engine received a larger bore and shorter stroke, along with other upgrades, and now boasted 288 CID and 130 horsepower. A new mid-range 327 CID inline 8-cylinder engine was introduced with 145 horsepower 3600 rpm, and the 356 CID 8-cylinder continued with only a slight camshaft change and resulting compression boost. The inline 6-cylinder engine was gone, and would not return to the Packard line.
Besides the previously mentioned new series designations, there were a few models returning to the Packard line. First, a convertible rejoined the lineup, having last been produced during the 1942 model year. In keeping with Packard tradition, the model was available in the Super and Custom series, with leather interior appointments and hydraulically powered top as standard equipment. The second new model was the Packard Eight Station Sedan. Packard's first station wagon since 1941, it essentially used a 4-door sedan body as its basis, and added the rear cargo compartment. It was of all-steel construction, except the tailgate and surrounding structure. The wood was northern birch, and was also used as trim panels on all four doors. Interiors continued the luxury car look and feel with combinations of pinstripe wool cloths and leather depending upon model. Instrument panels were redesigned, featuring new black-light "Flite-Glo" instruments with two round gauges in front of the driver on a flat panel. The passenger side housed a glove box, and multiple horizontal bars that created a grillwork for the optional radio speaker covered the center section. Upholstery was relatively plain on the base line, while the Super added more stitching and nicer fabrics, and the Custom added rich-looking fabrics and leather along with wood trim on the back of the seats and door panels. Note that the 22nd series Packards would continue until May 1949; however, cars built from November 1948 until May 1949 were titled as 1949s and were sold as "Firstseries" 1949 models. Features, prices and comments here also pertain to the first-series 1949 models, while production figures are included within the 1949 section.