On November 6th of 1899, James Ward Packard ran his first automobile. He was aided by his brother, William and business partner George Weiss. The company began as the Ohio Automobile Company which turned into the Packard Motor Car Company on October 13th of 1902. A number of design innovations, including the modern steering wheel, quickly became a favorite among the wealthy.
Though the Packard Company had a reputation for building luxury cars, the Depression forced them to produce a 'Junior' line of automobiles. The Packard 120, the first Packard priced at under $1,000, was introduced in 1935 and was the first Packard to feature independent front suspension. IN 1936, Packard increased the displacement on the L-head eight-cylinder engine, increasing the horsepower to 120 and giving the car a top speed of 85 mph. This was also the first year the cabriolet body style was offered.