While becoming more competitive with Buick than with Cadillac, Packard made sure to retain its highly distinctive grille design on all its models from the lowly Six to its luxury V-12 line (dropped after the 1939 model year).
But a price had to be paid here too. While competing brands began to feature more streamlined looking front ends and horizontal rather than vertical grill formats, Packard's retention of traditional details made its cars increasingly old-fashioned looking. Finally in the spring of 1941 Packard introduced its non-traditional Clipper whose body became the standard for all 1942 model year Packards.
The images below show some 1940 and 1941 pre-Clipper Packards along with competing Buicks that were far more up-to-date styling-wise.
The body shown here dates from the 1938 model year. Due to Packard's styling conservatism, the area from the front axle line aft is no more advanced than the same parts of General Motors' 1935 Pontiacs and LaSalles.
The body on this Buick was new for 1940. The grille's layout is becoming horizontal, and door hinges are now hidden by body panels, as is the running board. Its overall appearance is sleeker than the Packard's in the previous photo. The most out-of-date feature is the positioning of the headlights; they are not quite fully integrated into the front fenders. GM was slow to follow other brands in this regard even though it otherwise was the auto industry style leader in those days.
Buick's 1941 facelift finally integrated headlights into the fenders.
Meanwhile, Packard had its own facelift that gave the old body style better front-end integration. The front fenders were restyled and the catwalk raised to blend with them. Headlight integration is about on par with the 1940 Buick, nevertheless a significant modernization from the previous Packard. Speed stripes on the fenders are in line with current styling fashions. The rest of the body looks old-fashioned compared to the Buick.
The extreme rear part of this Packard is not far out of line from 1939-40 competing brand styling. But by 1941 several other makes were featuring streamlined-looking "fastback" designs.
Here is a side view of a Packard One-Sixty, a luxury level Packard. Despite the various old-fashioned (for 1941) details, I can see that a car such as shown here would appeal to a rich, conservative clientele not quite ready to buy a more trendy '41 Cadillac.