A company whose name has always been recognized for its production of luxury automobile, the Packard Motors Company was based in Detroit Michigan before shifting to the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana.
Producing their first automobiles in 1899, the brand continued on the market until 1958. Today, Packard vehicles are still sought out as priceless collective by fans.
Entering the 1940's with an entire new style and more reasonable prices, the Packard was now innovated with eletro-matic clutch Econo-Drive and over drive.
Introducing a less expensive line of car, the Clipper line was introduced in 1941. A direct competitor to the Cadillac 61 Series, the Clipper is responsible for moving Packard's sales ahead of both Cadillac and LaSalle sales combined.
On February 7, 1942, all passenger car production was halted by the U.S. Government and Packard switched to war production. At the end of the war in 1945, Packard wartime production had reached 55,000 aircraft engines and more than 12,000 marine engines.
Besides producing aircraft and marine engines, Packard also developed a jet engine. Packard-Henney ambulances were also used extensively throughout the war, and Packard staff engines were utilized by Generals Patton, Eisenhower and MacArthur.
The Packard facility had managed to make $33 million during the war through their jet and aircraft engine sales and decided to use the money to renovate the facility. Costing approximately $2 million dollars, everything was completely renovated.
Possibly the most important period in Packard's history, after the war ended the company was stepped out of the role of master car engine builder. They were now faced with intense competition from the 'Big Three'.
By the end of the war, Packard had a total of 1793 dealers, the most dealers in its history, and all were hungry for cars.
At the beginning of the war, the Clipper had been exceptionally modern and a vehicle that everyone wanted. Following the war, the four year old design now seemed old and outdated.
The Clipper Eight Standard (2101) and the Clipper Eight Deluxe (2111) were introduced October 19, 1945.
With a small engine that only measured 282 cubic inches, two body styles were available on the 120' Clipper chassis 2101.
A 4-door touring sedan and a 2-door sedan, with body numbers 1695 and 1692, both came on a 120' wheelbase.
The price of these vehicles ranged from $1,500 to $2,150.
A continuation of the Clippers that were introduced prior to the war, the
Packard eight models were an effort to modernize the model and speed up production.
Concentrating on the Clipper design and deciding to drop all other lines, including the very Packard looking senior cars of the early 1940's, the new series would still have to provide the luxury synonymous with the Packard name. Packard had a very affluent clientele that kept high standards.
In 1946, the introduction of the Clipper Six 2100 and 2103, and the Super Clipper 2103 and Customer Super Clipper 2106 was launched. The following year brought out the new Super Eight and Custom convertibles.
The older bodies were sold to Russia where they formed the foundation for the Ziss cars.
Purchasing the whole lot, including the 110, 120, 160 and the 180, everyone benefited from this venture. Packard no longer had any use for the older models, and their value was little more than scrap.
During the 1946 and 1947 model years, the factory had returned to vehicle production, but unfortunately the slow start affected production. A total of 80,660 Packards are made for ‘46 and ‘47.
Making it the widest vehicle in production at the time Clippers were now designed a foot wider than tall.
In 1949, the 23rd series Eight and Deluxe Eight were introduced by Packard. A total of 117,000 cars were sold this year, though the luxury car sale had dropped substantially.
Briggs Manufacturing, a maker of Packard vehicle bodies, was bought out by Chrysler in 1953. Choosing not to continue the present arrangement between Briggs and Packard, Packard was forced to locate another body maker quickly. Fortunately, a deal was arranged with Chrysler in 1955 to temporarily produce Packard bodies.
In November of 1955, the 56th Series Packard Patrician and 400 and the Caribbean were introduced by Packard. The last Packard cars ever produced, June 25, 1956 marked the end of Packard.By Jessica Donaldson