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 Following the war, the four year old design now seemed old and outdated.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
Sold for $90,750 at 2010 RM Auctions
The Packard One-Twenty, also known as Packards 'junior' Six, accounted for the bulk of Packard's sales. 1938 was the second year for independent front suspension (via wishbones and coil springs) and hydraulic brakes. These features greatly improved drivability making them great for driving tours.
This example is finished in cream with green wheels and matching pinstripe. The car has an older restoration, rides on wide whitewall tires, and has chrome trim rings and small hub caps. The twin side-mount spares have correct metal covers and the tan canvas top is in good condition. The interior is tan leather and the odometer shows 18,500 miles.
In 2010, this Super 8 Convertible Coupe was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook event presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $75,000 - $100,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $90,750, including buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
The Packard Motor Company relied on making luxurious cars that were highly refined, fitted with luxurious coachwork, and powered by proven engineering. This belief had placed them among the elite in the auto industry during the early 1900s. As the world entered the Great Depression, the Packard Company was one of the few that managed to survive. In fact, they outsold all of their competitors combined. They had entered the Depression in excellent financial health and they emerged with strong financial footing. But the post depression era had them worried, as the number of potential buyers had dwindled as fortunes were lost. Production had dropped nearly half each year when compared with the previous, from 1929 to 1933. In response to the decline, Packard continued to make improvements each year.
In 1932, Packard introduced their Ninth Series. It featured many improvements which helped segregate it from other automakers in the industry. Improvements included a revised steering geometry which made steering smooth and easy. Braking was equally as easy thanks to the new driver adjustable power assisted braking system. The shifting action and clutch were improved making driving a very enjoyable activity. The drivers workload was eased even further with the spark advance and automatic choke.
By making these changes they attracted a growing segment of buyers and drivers - woman.
The 1933 Packard's were called the Tenth Series cars as the company still refused to adopt the convention of the model year system which called for new cars to be introduced in September or October to coincide with the auto show schedules. The following year, the reluctantly joined with other manufacturers which resulted in a shorted run for the tenth series, lasting just seven months. The new Packard model line was introduced in the fall. Because of the seven month production lifespan of the Tenth Series, very few were produced making them very rare in modern times.
The Tenth Series were given a new X-braced frames, dual coil ignition, and downdraft carburetors. The styling was updated with skirted fenders and a 'V'-shaped radiator shell. The interior featured upgraded trim and a new aircraft inspired dash.
Packard continued to offer three chassis, the Eight, Super Eight, and the Twelve. The Super Eight and Twelve both rested on a wheelbase that measured 142-inches and had a hood that was nearly six-inches longer than the Eight. The fenders were longer as well.
The bodies on the Twelve's and Super Eight were interchangeable, with the Super Eight featuring an eight-cylinder engine while the Twelve featured a twelve cylinder engine. During this time, Packard also produced the Eight, which had a smaller wheelbase size and the eight-cylinder engine. The Super Eight and Twelve differed by interior appointments and engine size. The bodies were constructed of wood and steel.
In 1936 Packard was producing their Fourteenth Series as the number thirteen had been skipped. It is believed that thirteen was not used due to superstitious reasons. The Fourteenth Series was the last year for Bijur lubrication, ride control, a semi-elliptic suspension, mechanical brakes, heavy vibration dampening bumpers and the 384.4 cubic inch straight eight engine. It was also the last year for the option of wire or wood wheels.
In 1936 the fourteenth series received a new radiator which was installed at a five-degree angle. The Super 8 had a new sloped grille with chrome vertical bars which gave the vehicle a unique look and served as thermostatically controlled shutters which opened or closed based on engine heat. The headlight trim, fender styling, and hood vents saw minor changes. A new Delco-Remy ignition system was the new updates for 1936 under the bonnet.
For 1936 there were a total of 1,492 Super Eights constructed.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008