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1965 Packard V-12 Prototypes


B.H.
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Has anyone else read the article in the just-released Summer 2002 issue of The Packard Cormorant (PAC's glossy, quarterly magazine) about the last factory attempt to revive the marque? The gist of the story was the execution of a plan by Studebaker to bring Packard back to its former glory by producing an all-new line of Senior-only cars, complete with a V12 wrought from a rework of the original V8 molds and tooling.<P>When I first turned to this article, I saw a "photo" of a prototype that loked like an airbrush job on a late model Cadillac, but I decided to read on. It was a nice story, and a nice idea, but I noticed other oddities in other photos. A picture of a "Caribbean prototype (coupe) being serviced" looks like it was taken in more modern times, though in an older dealer service department, surrounded by more late-model cars that had been airbrushed with Studebaker trim and signage.<P>Today, a Studebaker friend e-mailed me about a similar story that had been published in the Studebaker Drivers Club magazine, Turning Wheels. Seems there is some skepticism brewing over there as well.<P>Now, when eyebrows were raised several years ago about the reappearance of the 1955 Packard Request, my first instinct was that it was indeed the Real McCoy.<P>However, I am a bit more skeptical in this case. In this age of digital photography and graphic software, anything is possible.<P>At the risk of causing Peter Hartmann to start foaming at the mouth, does anyone want to weigh in with their thoughts or additional facts on this strange tale?<p>[ 08-07-2002: Message edited by: BH ]

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I just got my Cormorant yesterday, and read that article and also thought it quite strange. I was struck by the same thing you were -- the incredible resemblence to a late 90's Cadillac. It sounds nice, but did you look at those dash drawings? I can hardly believe that a Packard revival in 1965 could be THAT modern and forward thinking in appearance. The two spread picture of the back end of a black 2 door looked like the back end of a '67 ElDorado with the sidelines of a mid 60's Lincoln Continental. Even if it is real, I don't think it's an exceptionally attractive car design. <P>I also thought that the pictures looked much too modern to be real. The color tone doesn't seem right. And look at the picture of the light blue coupe. Doesn't the door window and quarter window treatment look a lot like an '84 Ford Thunderbird's?<P>The unmade Packards that I really like are the sketches and prototype for the '57 model year. Now I think that was a great looking car that I'm very sorry wasn't built. It had such clean lines, reminding me a lot of the '56 Lincolns (the only Lincoln that I'd actually buy). I would have loved to own that car!

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So last night, while having a midnight bowl of cereal, I looked again at the picture of the supposed Carribean prototype being serviced (light blue 2 door) and noticed a few interesting things in the picture. If you look just above the trunk, you'll see a car in the background which has a line on the trunk, which I'm convinced is the led third taillight for a Cadillac Seville. Directly behind the "prototype" (viewable above the car and through the glass) is what I'm convinced is a Cadillac Escalade. I also think the fire caution sign on the wall is too new. I definitely think someone is having us on, but for the life of me, I don't know why. confused.gif" border="0

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As far as calling PAC's bluff on this, it seems to me that there are some people in that club who simply wouldn't listen. As such, I won't waste my time. While I am a still a dues-paying member, I really don't find myself interested in that club much these days.<P>Back when the '55 Request reappeared, I clearly remember a great debate as to its authenticity. Editor Richard Langworth was "all over it," but in the end he acquiesced. From start to finish, that was an example of fine journalism to me.<P>It's a whole different story in our culture these days (sensationalism is what sells), and I have found that it works better if you just let some people learn their lessons the hard way.<P>It's a bit late in the year for an April Fool's joke - don't you think?

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If their desire was to fool us, then they did a pretty poor job. The story in and of itself is fairly unbelievable, but the pictures are what I think are really bad. If that was truly what those designs were to look at, the car would have been a dismal failure, since it was a blah car with outdated styling cues from the unbuilt '57 models grafted onto the front. Also, if you look closely at the pictures, you can see that they were doctored, adding emblems and such to try and convince you that it was real.<P>My question is what is the point of an article like this? If someone wanted to hypothesize "what if" so to speak, then fine, but at least call it what it is. I can't understand the point of this article at all.

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Regarding modern "V-12's"<P>Yeah...both Packard and Cadillac went as far as having colored drawings publisized of their so called "proposed V-12". Somewhere I THINK I saw a picture of a wooden-mock-up of a Cadillac V-12.<P>This would NOT have been that hard to go into production on - it has been done successfully before - the Lincoln Zephyr/Continental V-12 was nothing more than an ordinary Ford V-8 with extra cylinders, so it could be quickly and cheaply machined with cost-acceptable modifcations of their ordinary production tooling (please do NOT compare that V-12, which was only about 290 cu. in., and nothing more than a dressed up Ford in quality and performance....with the "REAL" Lincoln V-12's, which were WELL over 400 cubic in., and, typical of the cars we call "classic"...was superior in quality and performance .<P>Now - where was I...oh yes...why DIDNT automakers in the United States do a V-12 in recent years...well...for the same reason the mfg's gave em up in the late 1930's....!<P>Let's face it...those multi cylinder giants were obsolete the day they came out of the factory ! During the classic era, we see development of higher octane fuels, which allowed ever higher compression ratios, "insert" rod bearings to enable even small motors to survive high rpms (remember...the faster you spin a motor..the deeper it "breathes" fuel/air mixture... and "three point" rubber "floating" engine mounts, all made it possible to make smooth running fast powerful motors WITHOUT the extra expense of multiple cylinders. And now that we have precision high pressure fuel injection....heck...my dinkly little Toyota RAV 4 idles as smooth as, and, at lower speeds, can run circles around my Packard Twelve. <P>Has anyone driven the Ford truck V-10 side by side with their other engines..?<P>European upper class motorists have traditionally been more receptive towards exotic engine designs, so we do find V-12's being made in top-of-the line European cars...but they dont sell all that well...for the obvious reason..that given modern technology, they just dont offer that much more excitement (other than bragging rights), then a motor with fewer cylinders.<P>Pete Hartmann

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Unregis...you are partially correct..smaller cylinders for a given "target" displacement...do make for smoothness and greater rpm range...well...they DID...back when Packard first came out with its famous V-12..known as the Twin Six. But that was before World War ONE.<P>By the time the MUCH more modern Packard V-12 came out in '32, three point engine mounts were starting to come in, and the advantages, tho still great, were coming down. The famous V-12 italian race cars of the immediate post-war era demonstrated, given the technology of THAT day, the argument you proposed could still be demonstrated. But remember, within a few years, along came the Jag...doing even better with only SIX cylinders.<P>Interstingly I have "wrung out" both 6 and V-12 Jaguars, and I have to tell you....the 6's had more "grunt" in the lower rpm ranges, where most cars 'live' most of their lives.<P>Today, I am not sure you can demonstrate REAL "seat of the pants difference" between a modern fuel-injected computer controlled rubber suspended motor, once you get above four cylinders.<P>Pete Hartmann

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Yeah, the 3.8 Jag 6 (as i understand it) will outrun the V12 and even a Corvette at speeds above 60 MPH. BUT, thats a regional issue that most Americans dont care about nor even understand. Its more of a European thing.<P>The idea of the even the 6 cylinder vs 4 cyl is thinly understood even by most modern engineers. THAT IS, if ONE cylinder becomes weak in a 4 cyl the percentage of power lossis much greater than that of a 6 or 8. This is an issue in racing.

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Packard V12 in 1965; That story has to be palin hog wash. The people at PAC have to be IDOTS for printing it. When Studebaker went north in 1964 they couldn't even produce thier own engines. No money was eer provided for R&D for the Lark. In 1965 on sales of 200 millin dallors they made 10 million in profit. The only reason that production was moved north was to use up the remaining parts and when the parts where gone so was the cars. There was no money for any comeback for the Packard brand let alone the Studebaker brand. Even not having laid eyes upon this story knowing what i do the story is pure rubbish. It shouldn't have been printed in the first place.

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I myself, as a dues paying member, don't have a problem with hypothetical what-if stories, IF they are labled as such. That's my problem. Call it what it is if you want to run such an article. And heck, if you're going to fake a story, at least remove the Escalade from the dang picture! Any idiot with a digital camera and photoshop could do a better job than they did. rolleyes.gif" border="0

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As someone else mentioned, almost the same identical article appeared in the Studebaker Turning Wheels this month. I had never seen reference to anything later then the Predictor and about 1957 in any of the books or old magazine articles I have collected. Hope someone can clear it up. The car does appear, to me, to look a lot like a newer Lincoln Towncar with modified Cadillac taillights.

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I believe that Mr. McKeehan, the author of this put-on, was drinking some of that rare Packard wine and watching the Packard diamond swing slowly back and forth, back and forth. rolleyes.gif" border="0 <BR>Does anyone think Richard Langworth would have printed this article? I almost hesitate to use his name in the same post as the farce the Cormorant has become. blush.gif" border="0<BR>On the other hand I enjoyed the dealers "service cars" pictures and article. grin.gif" border="0 <BR>YFAM, Randy Berger

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as long as there are dues paying members who like that sort of thing then it will be an acceptable issue and part of the organization.

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Why is this "story" on the 65 just coming out or have I missed it over the years? If there were 3 prototypes why is there no trace of them now, previous owners, etc.? Seems like there is a lot to question in this piece.

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Good point, JT.

I have a few pix in my personal collection of what appear to be full-size clays of '57 Packard and Clipper prototypes on a turntable in an engineering department, but with a date of 1962 <span style="font-style: italic">written on the back</span>. (It's a damned shame that Packard never got the chance to build those cars; they might have saved Studebaker.)

Both the Request and the Predictor survived, and though it was cut up for parts, there are one or two bona fide (undoctored) photos and (so I've heard) engineering drawings of Black Bess.

When Avanti came to Youngstown, Ohio, in 1987, so did two different Avanti-based "three-door" prototypes made by (or for) Studebaker for consideration as to their next generation of coupes and sedans that never were). Now, contrary to the opinions of several misguided fools, these "three-door" cars were never intended to be a new radical form of body style, but were merely an expense-saving measure that allowed the stylists to explore both four- and two-door versions on a single body. Last I heard, these cars were still in the hands of the Cafaro family.

It seems very unusual that not a single shred of evidence regarding this Packard story has ever surfaced in over three decades.

(BTW, the only wine I ever recall as having a car's name on the label was "Thunderbird" - hic.)

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Well guys, I got my Cormorant today with the article about the "1965" Packard. I basically agree with all the previous comments, but have a couple of "engineering" observations to add:<P>(1) using 1956 block/head cores orginally intended for "gray [cast] iron" for aluminum castings seems preposterous to me. While I'm not a metalurgical engineer, it seems questionable because the expansion and cooling rates between alum and iron are so different that one could NOT use the same casting core to cast an alumnimum block or head compared vis-a-vis iron! Much less keep this somehow quiet amonst the foundry folk.<P>(2) Long cross-ram intake manifold shown in the article. A similar design was used on the Chrysler 300-ltr 426 wedge engines, as most enthusiast know. My Chrysler buddies tell me that the (particularly cold) low speed performance and idle characteristics were really BAD with these manifolds. Imagine having the carb a several feet away from the intake port! No way would Packard get that V-12 to idle at 400rpm as the article claimed. With modern computer-controlled fuel injection...yes, but not with mech FI or carbs.<P>(3) 1/4-speed camshaft. It would require a computer-generated computer profile to determine the cam curve. Much less the described hoped-for forward-backard advance as some sort of low-hi speed cam profile change! Honda only had a rudimentary version of this in the 1980s. This is unthinkable for 1965 since the only people who had such computer power was NASA and other government agencies (I know, I was there...and we weren't doing cam profiles). Besides, why bother? Camshaft lobe wear (1/2 speed) was not a particular problem with Packard V-8's that I'm aware of.<P>There are other obvious "techno-hindsight" insights and therefore holes in this article which I can enumerate, if anyone is interested.

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I ponder what the next chapter of this alleged farce is. I heard the author spoke at the Packard club national meet in July. Did the editors of both Packard AND Studebaker publications get suckered in or what. I see those modern vehicles in the photos now...a Dodge Ram, an SUV, et. al. Thene there are the techincal issues and the $$$$$$. And a 400,000 mile engine? And I may have missed it, but I saw no mention of the transmission in this big alleged V-12.

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I just received my SDC "Turning Wheels" magazine in the mail today. It has EXACTLY text identical) the same article as "The Cormorant". However, there is a blow up in full color on the front cover of the service bay side shot of the ersatz 1965 Packard. This allows for closer scrutiny of the other cars in the background. <P>In the far rear service bay is what vaguely looks like the rear ends of 1965-66 Studes. The taillights are different as is the "C" pillar shape from the production cars. <P>In the front service bay directly behind the "Packard" is clearly a modern SUV (as noted in another post above). Besides being substantialy taller than the 1965-66 Stude Wagoneer, the roofline is much rounder and the "A" pillar has NO VENT WINDOW!!! <P>To the left of the SUV is another modern looking sedan (maybe Cad?) with yet another style "C" pillar. The other two cars behind the "Packard" are of yet another style "C" pillar, make unknown.<P>One other odd thing about the picture is that the "Packard" is backlit and under the car one can see the shadow of the left rear tire. However, light is coming thru the middle section, just like it would with wire wheels! These do not match the stylized full cover wheels on right side.<P>Can we say doctored picture here? mad.gif" border="0

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Over the weekend, my Studebaker friend showed me that issue of SDC - yes, same article, verbatim, as what appeared in The Packard Comorant. The cover pix were slightly larger, but I could tell that the ones published by PAC had been doctored, at some point.<P>For less than five hundred dollars, anyone with enough time on their hands can snag a digital camera, a scanner, and a decent piece of graphic software and figure out how to make "pretty pictures" of things that don't actually exist in the real world.<P>Clearly, the S-P styling elements have been "grafted" onto late model vehicles. Nice parlor trick, eh?<P>Yes, Craig, using tooling designed for a cast iron V8 engine block to make an aluminum V12 makes about as much sense as GM's attempt to turn the venerable old Rocket V8 into a reliable diesel. (While GM acutally did the latter, it was quite a failure.)<P>Well, my friend (who is also skeptical) tells me that the SDC stands behind this guy and his story, but there is supposed to be some sort of explanation published in the next issue. (What's next - alien abduction?)<P>Perhaps the author will admit to the doctored images, yet with the excuse that this project was so secretive that no photos were allowed back in 1965. (Yeah, that's the ticket!)<P>What is lacking here is any substantiation of the story and its details - a very poor example of journalism on the part of SDC and PAC.<P>Even if Sherwood Egbert had carried this "secret" to his grave, it's hard to believe that word of such a program hadn't surfaced in the 37 years that have passed - let alone, that no real evidence survived.<P>Granted, I could be wrong about this, but if I'm not, there are going to be a lot of people in both clubs with egg on their face - who won't have a shred of credibility left - for standing behind this story.

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BH: well written and accurate post! You are right. Those Packard Clubs and Studebaker clubs credibility IS at stake now. We all have REAL Packards and Studebakers setting in our garages in various states of restoration. While we are needing important information to help us with the cars we own those 'Clubs' are feeding us fairy tales.

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If this were a joint Packard and Studebaker Clubs April fool joke, they missed the boat and alleged nonsense like this (didn't I see a modern Dodge Ram through a window or in the background in one of the photos?) can only do harm as folks will lose confidence in the publications and the clubs and that could affect membership in the negative. By the way, what is the deal with the extra split or seam in front of the front door.....is that another mini door for access to the firewall or were them big doors supposed to slide up in there? Hey, Kaiser Darrin had that a decade before, maybe not electric, but that is where the doors slid to.

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I must admit that I was taken in by the possibility of the 1965 Packard. (pangs of what could have been) I first learned of it from a Stude friend when he shared his Studebaker monthly with me. Upon sharing this 'news' with some of my one line pals, they redirected me to all these posts. (Shame on me for not logging in few a few weeks.) Anyway, my Cormorant arrived late yesterday too and viola, right on the cover was more about this mysterious Packard. Upon looking closely at the supplied photos minus the emotionalism & excitement, it seems now that mischief is certainly afoot. Those newer car images in the backgrounds, the red upright tool box & those bumpers on the cars appear to have been air-brushed. And how about those shadows? Do they match? Hey, maybe this fellow also took the real status about those Russian Packard dies to the grave with him too?

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PackardV8 -<P>At least the SDC has long-cultivated a feature of their "Turning Wheels" magazine, called the "Studebaker Co-operator." It is a technical column, manned by several highly-knowledgable members and fed by the good old mail bag. Not every piece of mail gets printed, but I'm told that every letter gets answered - with a real answer. It is executed in a manner that is of public benefit to all members of the club, not just the priveleged few.<P>In my opinion, however, PAC is rather weak in this area. Several years ago, they had a technical forum in their monthly "News Bulletin" - which was in the right place, but it fell off the radar in the late 1990s. Some said that the volume of incoming mail did not merit such a column, but a few members have told me that they did not receive adequate answers. To its credit, there was some good material in the early days of that column, but it never came close to what the SDC accomplished.<P>While the PAC website has an online tech forum, not every Packard owner has access to the Internet. Also, most of us, here, know of the overly restrictive nature of that venue.<P>As such, I stopped participating at that site a few years ago, but I recently revisited it to check out a new format for the tech forum that someone told me about. Turns out they were right - it is a real mess. Although topics are listed in a drop down menu, trying to find answers is still like looking for a needle in a haystack - needs to be more searchable. I'm no webmaster, but I know that there are more suitable and user friendly forum tools out there.<P>Funny, I know of other clubs that have that functionality in their site - accomplished with volunteer effort. Although I hate their approach to advertising, even Yahoo Groups provides a keyword search of their message-base.<p>[ 08-09-2002: Message edited by: BH ]

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RHO - <P>I believe those lines in the front fender, just ahead of the door opening, represent the intended opening for an access door to a compartment where a side-mounted spare tire was to be stored.<P>If the car were actually made with a V12, it might have allowed for just enough room between the wheelhosue and the hinge pillar, but it would have been a real PIA to strong-arm a real tire out of that space without damaging the finish.

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Aw...c'mon...you guys...upi are SOOO suspicious....you are acting like we should raise our eyebrows every time someone calls themselves a "car expert"...or says they have a "classic car".......are you saying that all the guys who wander up to my car at car shows, and tell me all about the "big V-17 my uncle had"....or..."we had one just like that..same wheels and everything...think it was a '43 Edsell"......or... "ha...bet it won't pass a gas station"....."I saw a Russian Packard once".... etc...etc....are FULL OF IT...?<P>Geez...what narrow-minded party-poopers....!<P><BR>Pete Hartmann

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Hi...JT....<P>What you pointed out ( dress clothes under their smocks)... just might be the only LEGITIMATE part of that silly story...! I distinctly remember the service managers at Packard agencies wearing a company-approved style 'jumper' and underneath, shirt and tie !<P>Pete Hartmann

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Pete, you're right, I would expect shop personnel that are dealing with customers to dress in a more formal attire under the smocks but for your hands on prototype builders working with tools and machines I would think it unnecessary. Hey don't you remember the first rule of 7th grade shop class? no ties. smile.gif" border="0

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JT...yes...I remember very cleary what my first shop class was like...but that was in the early 1950's....NOT a Packard facility in the "golden era" of Packard's supremacy as a "master motor builder". Of course I suspect those old photos we see of what it was like in Packard's version of the "Skunk Works" (the semi secret research and development labs).....but...look at them carefully...you can sometimes see those guys really WERE dressed up underneath their company over-alls.<P>Personally, I find it MUCH more interesting to contemplate what the young girls have on these days...undereneath THEIR cover-alls...my suspicion is...nothing but a SMILE !<P>Pete Hartmann

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I have just uncovered evidence of plan to revive Studebaker - buried in the depths of the SDC website:<P> <A HREF="http://www.studebakerdriversclub.com/NewsGroup/Hawk2002.htm" TARGET=_blank>The 2002 Studebaker Hawk Concept</A><P>Really, I don't know if someone was serious about doing this, just daydreaming, or taking a poke at the '65 Packard revival story, but they certainly did a nice job of "imagineering" this graphic.<p>[ 08-11-2002: Message edited by: BH ]

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  • 1 year later...

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