Packard


Packard was founded by William and James Packard along with a business partner George Weiss in 1899 as the Ohio Automobile Company in an effort to make a better car. Weiss was a stockholder in a company called Winton and was dissatisfied with their vehicles, thus with the help of the Packard Brothers he used their engineering expertise to create the ultimate super-luxury cars.

Packard Car Logo

During that time Ford Motor cars were selling at around 400 dollars per vehicle, while Packard’s prices were at around 2,600, with a focus on absolute opulence and luxury. Because of their decent and good demand they opened a 3 million square foot factory in Detroit after finding several investors. Until 1930 Packard built cars that were driven by many heads of state and by the high wealthy class of the United States. When the recession and depression struck the United States in 1930 it caused a huge effect on car companies, with many attempting to manufacture cheaper vehicles, and most independent car companies folding up because they could not handle the strain. Rather than do that, Packard focused on making an even more luxurious model of car at first and met success. As other luxury car brands failed in the market, they limped on, watching their competition like Peerless, Franklin, Sterns-Knight, Marmon, Pierce-Arrow, Stutz, Ruxton and the almighty Duesenberg fail.

In 1935 Packard finally debut a lower class vehicle, and introduced the Packard 120, a car that cost less than 1,000 dollars and was produced via mass production techniques. The car sold well enough that they had to open up another manufacturing line for it, and by 1936 their workers were divided evenly between the lines. By 1937 Packard was still the lion of the Luxury car maker brands, and in an attempt to grab a hunk of the market they eyed they produced a car called the 115C, a six cylinder engine powered vehicle – and it arrived just in time for the 1938 mini-crash. This provided people during the recession with a vehicle that was inexpensive.

1932 Packard 900 Sedan

During the war Packard manufactured the P-51 Mustang engine, PT boat engines, and various other war related goods. This left the company with a great amount in the bank, and thus they went back to car making in 1948 – and messed it all up by 1958. They decided to use a design that looked like a bathtub, and was called as such, and then in 51 they restyled – previously all their cars looked the same under that design. They planned on making their less expensive line of vehicles a new brand called Clipper Cars, and later in 1954 they bought Studebaker without really knowing what kind of fiscal condition it was in – and it was bad. Studebaker-Packard finally pulled the plug in 1959 because of the sales crashing to nearly nothing, and ended up wanting to focus on the Lark. The Lark was a Lark, and became the final gasp of the company before it finally went to hell in a hand basket.

Currently the Packard name and rights to a newish prototype are for sale at http://www.packardmotorcar.com/ . Their newsletter states that the owner is looking to sell the company, the name rights, along with a V-12 running prototype along with all engineering data and photos.

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