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'55 & 56 Build Quality


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How do you feel about the build quality of your 55 & 56 Packard or Clipper as compared to earlier models? I'd like to know what were the major problems with your cars. Such as; door openings being larger on one side of the body than the other like mine. Or misalligned trim like you even see in some factory photos etc.

Bob Bosworth

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A great anecdote in the Fall of Packard book tells about Nance pulling a new 55 Pat off the line to drive home. He found neither of the rear doors would open. To prove his point he took a crowbar and pryed them open before turning it back into the plant. Glad I got a hardtop. -SteveB in TX.

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On the other hand, the 1955 Patrician that I bought a few years ago has NO fit problems. As a matter of fact, the 1955 Clipper Super 4dr Sedan that my dad owned in 1960+ (bought it for $454, BTW), was absolutely reliable and never had a body fit problem. Until: his 16 year old son (me) started "hot rodding" it around... then the T-U gave up. He was really p**s'd, but got it fixed cheap by a retired Packard mechanic. I didn't drive it like that again. (He made me help R&R that heavy beast.)

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One more "oops" I did as a 16-year old on my Dad's 1955 Clipper Super 4dr Sedan (Torsion-Level option BTW) which reduced it's reliability.

The power steering pump reservoir cap did NOT have a "dipstick" attached (this was 1962 or so, when I observed this). Rather than "eyeball it" as the current service manual supplements advise (which we didn't have any of), I decided (in my High School pre-engineering arrogance) that the cap was "missing" the dipstick, therefore I would fashion one from 1960s household aluminum foil (kitchen variety). Needless to say, the "aluminum foil dipstick" eventually (through engine vibration) fell off and down into the power steering pump.

So what happened was that the power steering would sometimes work and sometimes not work because the control valves were partly and intermittently blocked with aluminum foil. That was a surprise when you were driving! After a while, the power steering function returned to normal.

What I belive happened eventually is the household aluminum foil got chewed up into fine enough particles so that it no longer affected the power steering control valves.

What I learned from that experience was:

(1) Don't try to re-engineer the factory engineers until you (a) have has much education as them and (B) understand the system as well as they do.

(2) One gets "grounded" for screwing around with Dad's car when you don't tell him that you've done so.

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That story about Nance...well...the general idea was correct...it actually happened at an auto show - Nance got into the back seat of a new '54 Patrician....in front of a crowd. He couldnt get out...my recollection is that he KICKED his way out. He was NOT a "happy camper"....!

Pete Hartmann

Big Springs, AZ

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I do know that there were a number of problems. One concerning a Packard executive that brought home a new '55 Patrician on a Friday only to find out that one of the rear doors would not under any circumstances open. He was upset and brought the car back on Monday. The door under no circumstances would open. even for the factory people. It had to be cut from the car. It then was discovered that the door opening was smaller than it should have been. In assembly someone actually managed to get the door slid in place and the hinges bolted in. The door was so tight that it couldn't get past the jam.

The one story concerning Nance was his trip to a Distributor. He was there when a shipment of 55's came in only to be embarressed at the shoddy condition of "so called new" Packards. In his own words, "It was pretty grim". It seems the early '55 cars were really not up to par. There were problems all the way through at Conner Ave. Its amazing that under the circumstances that any of them turned out as good as they did. The first of the new 55's came off the line at Conner on November 1, 1954. East Grand was shut down in July 1954 to facilitate the move to Conner. This was supposed to be done in 60 days, but it took over 90 days to complete and was really never complete.

Why Nance & Co got talked into this fiasco is beyond comprehension. There was some discussion at one point of even moving back to East Grand only there was no money for it. My opininion is and take it as it is. Nance was a great salesman. He knew little about manufacturing engineering or corporate finance. When he tried to save S-P in 1956 he got some bitter lessons. He found out how ruthless things are in Corporate Finance. Something he should have known from the deal with Studebaker where he got taken for a ride. He also got a lesson in how to manufacture an automobile the hard way.

Bob Bosworth

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TO--ALL

I feel I should attempt to ans. a difficult ques. about quality. In a previous similar subject, I said, dealer we worked for did not receive cars with these major problems, and was a true statement. The mystrey, how was this dealer lucky to not havebeen shipped a few bad ones?? We corrected quite a few water leaks, shimmed front fenders, at cowl and bottom, doors, and for trunk gaps, spread with porta-power on a couple. Nothing much different than any other new cars. I DO BELIEVE what has been reported here as true. It was just that we did not get the real bad ones. The report on the bad doors got me inspecting our "56" Clipper HT. Repair garage owner kept it for 43 yrs. also had 2--400s. This one has been wrecked front and rear. Unless body shop had experience repairing front end damage they were difficult. The front of ours is too wide and pressure on upper grille bar is cracked, probably after being jacked up in center of frame. Left front fender is little short, which makes it bow more than right but have to look hard from rear to detect. Not checking details of the right door, thinking misfit from wreck, I think it is one of models stated in here as a bad one. The door looks original, not re-panneled, and same for 1/4 panel, although repaired at rear. The door seals perfectly, dollar bill trick, closes correctly, no rattle. Problem, roll of door panel from handle down, is too wide, to mate with 1/4 panel, and flush down to rocker panel. Door is not twisted, and cant be adjusted in at top, and all this time not really checking it, thinking bad repair. Now I know, HA Thanks, Jack

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Bottom line - Packard was "the" pioneer in the manufacturing industry. Many of its greatest contributions ( such as standardized engineering blue-prints ) are not that exciting to the ordinary car buff, and thus do not receive much notice in the car buff press. By the mid 1930's, the "technicals" who had built American industry, were starting to retire, and with them went the traditional "work eithic" ( i.e. pride in themselves and what they were doing, and an actual delight in the manufacturing process ) and in came the accountants and "Harvard Business School" types. These people hated the manufacturing process and everyone connected with it, and took a fiendish joy in seeing how little "product" they could produce for the maximum sales price.

Packard was a pioneer, but this time, in a shameful manner. Take 1938, for example - the "economy" Packard was a good seller, and was the right product to take the Packard Company thru the dark years of the later 1930's ( when the market for luxury cars just about disappeared - - Packard's traditional large, powerful luxury cars still out-sold Cadillac in that market by more than five to one - 1938 Cadillac V-16 production was about 100 cars...Packard Twelve...almost six hundred...but that obviously couldn't have kept the factory running).

But...talk about incincere greed and lying to the customer... ! Again...as an example...look at 1938...they dropped the traditional Packard Super Eight..a powerful 384 cu. in. motor, that gave almost as good performance as the Twelve at lower speeds...and called the little 320 cu. in. Standard Eight....the Super Eight...then called the economy model Packard One Twenty.....the Packard Eight. They didn't fool anyone. Then, ignoring a resurgent interest in large, powerful luxury cars, they destroyed their facilities for making that product, "changing over" the entire plant to the smaller cars, leaving Cadillac to literally "run away" with their old customer base, which had re-appeared, and knew what it wanted. Then, in 1939, they stuck that obsolete 1924 "standard eight" ( originally designed as a low priced replacement for the Packard "six") into a "120" body ...and called it a Super Eight....!

The "new" Packard Company came out of World War Two fat, rich, and lazy. Their products reflected that. Packard pioneered the "head in the sand" methodolgy that just about killed the American auto manufacturing business years later, by ignoring the competition, and building ever less competitive cars, and assembling them, each year...more and more shodily.

Everyone who was actually "THERE" knows exactly what I am talking about ( I dont have to talk to somebody's uncle who knew someone who knew someone...etc...I worked as a mechanic in a garage in those years as a summer job).

Isn't it amazing that, thru all of the insincerity, and un-competitive products, there was still enough good will left in the name, that when the '55s were announced ("PACKARD IS BACK") ...they still could sell the things as fast as they could make em.....! Well..for a couple of months...until the cars got into service in the hands of new car buyers, who were repulsed at the terrible "build quality". Within a few months, the '55's disgraceful reputation with new car buyers just about killed Packard sales, so that they couldn't give away the last of the '55's, and the marginally improved '56's couldnt save the "dedication to disaster".

That the later post-war Packards can be made into useful transportation with a little tinkering, says more for the ingenuity of the dealer network and the car buff still entranced with the Packard "name", than it does for the cars themselves. Also, there was less and less of the finished product for Packard to foul up - Packard correctly recognized the "economy of scale" theory, and bought more and more of the car from outside vendors. By the 1950's, about the only thing left on the car that Packard was actually manufacturing itself, was SOME parts in that miserable automatic transmission, and that absurdly out-of-date "L" head motor. The "stuff that makes a car run" was all bought from outside vendors, who still had SOME idea of what "build quality" meant.

So - keep in mind the "horror stories" about post war Packards....are just the "tip of the ice-berg" as to how the American industrial base destroyed itself thru greed and inward-looking stupidity. For those of you who get the OLD CARS WEEKLY, the current issue has a fascinating article on how the EDSEL "con" was attempted....and failed so completely, again, due to effectively de-frauding the buyer thru lousy quality control.

The Japanese have always been great imitators of what was the best about American manufacturing genius in its "golden years". For example.... "Just in time" assembly....Japs love it as a way to concentrate their efforts into product quality. Where did "just in time" come from ? Get a 1937 issue of FORTUNE MAGAZINE, and read about it in an article about Packard ! Same for "zero defects". A product-oriented dealer network, out-doing itself to make sure customer brand loyalty is maintaned....You can reach back in history, and visit a Packard dealer, or...walk into your nearest Toyota or Lexus dealer....!

The "Packard Mystique" was built, in its "golden years", on a ferocious determination to provide the best possible product for the upper classes, and then keep the customer proud and happy with the product in the years that follow. That this "mystique" lasted into the 1950's, and beyond...is frankly amazing, given how hard the Packard Corp. tried to destroy itself, and its image.

Sic Transit Gloria !

Pete Hartmann

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Here's another perspective on the "build quality" of 1955-56 Packards. How about comparing them to every other American car built during 1955-56? Same labor force. Same working conditions. Same general suppliers. Etc, etc.

For example:

A 1955-56 (actually thru 1957) Chevy is easy to restore right now because of many aftermarket suppliers. But during it's heyday, it was very problematic. We've heard about the mal-performing trannies. We've heard about the unmaintainable mechanical fuel injection, etc. If you bought one, you would trade it in a few years either because it was broken (and you could buy a new one cheap) or it was worn out. 1955-57 Chevys probably were and are popular because (1) most teen/20-somethings had their first sex in one, (2) they were cheap, (3) they were relatively quick and (4) you could get good info about one from your buddies or a magazine. They are popular today because of the same reasons.

Let's compare this "build quality" to 1950+ Packards. Packard owners tended to keep their Packards longer than Chevy-Ford-etc owners and also (1) not have sex in the back seat (unless you had a 16-18 son), (2) pay relatively a lot for their cars, (3) not "hot rod" from stoplight to stoplight (althought 1955-56 Packards were relatively good at this) and (4) find almost no info about their Packards in car magazines and among friends. 1950+ Packards are popular today for different reasons that the above, many have been elucidated in these chat room threads.

With the hindsight of almost 50 years since the demise of Packards, it's easy to be critical. On the other hand, the current young generation needs to become enamoured with Packards.

This does happen. At a "show & shine"-type car show not that long ago at a local McDonalds hosted by a local rock & roll radio station, I took my Packard. The "best of show" award was to be determined by popular vote, which I had NOT entered my 55 Pat. During the show, some teen-something girl came up to me after having inspected my Patrician and said "I'm going to vote for your Packard as best of show because 'man, it's AwwSUUUUUM!'" Well that comment made my day. I didn't even stay for the "awards", but maybe there is hope for the younger generation, even of the female gender. Or maybe it was just my Pat's "Dagmars"? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/blush.gif" alt="" />

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You forgot the only perspective on Packard post-war build quality that matters. The NEW CAR BUYER ! We know what they thought of post-war Packards !

And that is the bottom line.

Pete Hartmann

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Craig

This is a bit odd you listing items like you did. We got a new neighbor down the street, but I never met him. This evening he came over, said he is Chris. His neighbor and him talking and he asked Chris if he had met me and that I had trains, so he wanted to see them. Thurs. is train night at my house, so he met them also. Then the fun began (we kid a lot) He was asked if he wanted to buy a Packard, but Chris, in his 30s, didn't know what it was, so all went in garage for him to see. He sat in it etc. gave the $3.00 tour. He is a GTO lover, and couldnt believe room inside. My buddie said to him it was messed up, cause didn't have any springs cause it was last one built, and ran out of parts. He got down to look and I stopped him, and to push down on rear with me. at full up travel I cut switch, and he got down to look. Flipped switch, back to normal and he couldnt believe this. Wants to go for a ride, but I told him might be expensive, that he might want to buy one. We are going out Sat. for a run. So I guess it doesnt matter today, about new car buyers, there are no new Packards to buy. Jack

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What your saying about 50's cars in general is true. I grew up in the New Bedford, Mass area. New Bedford was a big Packard town for some reason. There were lots of Packards on the road including my Father's. This was true into the late 60's. My car spent part of its life under my very nose, right around the corner from me. In fact I can vividly remember it 35+ years ago. It was painted all black at that point. The man who owned it had a '56 400 as well and his neighbor had a '55 Patrician. Yes the people who owned Packards kept them longer. I knew where most of them were around the area and kind of kept tabs on them. I'd see one and tell my mother or father to stop so I could see it.

You know I still can't go anywhere without someone especially children and teeagers saying, "Nice Car". Everyone in Fairhaven knows who I am. I still say the car got elected to the B.P.W. and not me. Where were these people in 1956? I ask myself.

One interesting story took place in March, 1999 in the center of New Bedford. It was a nice day, I took the Packard out as I had to go to the City to do an important errand. I parked the car on Purchase Street. As I was putting Money in the meter, 3 oldtimers marched up the center of the street. One of the men said to the others "I told you it was a Packard". They proceeded to guard the car as I went on my business. They were still there an hour later when I came back. I thanked them. They didn't want anything to happen to the car. "You don't see 'em like this any more".

Minutes later on my way home, I drove up to and had to stop by a group of elementary school kids outside the Whaling Museum. The tour guide was trying to point out something of interest to the kids. He lost their attention when they saw the car. Imediate cheers of "Nice Car and WOW" went up and instead of taking pictures of what the guide showed them, they all took pictures of the car. The guide and the teachers threw up their hands as they couldn't compete with a 1955 Packard Clipper Custom Constellation.

Bob Bosworth.

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Mr. Bosworth

Strong and weak Packard areas. Harrisburg, Pa. was a good one. I dont recall ever being asked what is it? Its asked all the time in Tampa, area. Transfering title, Motor vehicle Dept. doesnt have Packard listed? After long time to find it an older employee, brought up Studebaker, bingo, there it was.

Her Dad had one in Ohio. Another hard to believe story. We heard about foreign cars, Indy, and sprints better handling with tortion so we bought a "56" Clipper HT totaled, all high damage, perfect frame, with TL. We went to Darlington, late "56" bad move, HA. Moved up to 800X15 bias tires, back then, just stock street ones every one had to use. It had a bad front end push, refused to turn left, and we lowered rear to improve, mabe? Got blacked flag after 3 laps or so. Pit boss said couldnt run with broken springs. We leveled it out, said no springs had torsion, instead. He, red taged us and left to confer with higher ups. They called Packard dealer in Atlanta, found it factory, stock not smart Northerners that modified it, and this was NASCAR? The bottom line. My Daughter bought NASCAR's "Stock Car Racing Encyclopedia" as a present. If any fans have this book they know NO PACKARDS listed as ever raced. I know of 2 other Packards that ran, and we entered I think 14.???? Kinda makes a guy a liar huh? It doesnt bother us we are not listed, just why or how NO PACKARDS They list a Jaguar, though, that entered 1 race?? That one we went to, was in Baltimore area, around a baseball field. Not listed in book?? Was difficult from 3rd base to home plate and getting to 1st, with Railroad ties for back stop. Again No disrespect, but Packards must not been well known in the South. Jack

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Pete,

I want to respond to some of points you made in your post.

Packard like GM, Ford and Chrysler did out source for a number of the parts in the assembly of their cars. It wasn't practical for them to make every little Part. These parts like the ignition systems or carburators and such are routinely contracted out for.

I do agree on the point you made about how management had their heads in the sand. The wrong people were incharge of the day to day operations of the company in the last 15 years of production. Christopher wanted to build Pontiacs, Ferry counted the beans and Nance wanted to build cars like ice boxes. Its that simple.

Christopher had the notion to turn Packard into a mid priced auto maker which it wasn't. With a design the original Clipper, which was never evolved past a 2 and 4 door sedan. The pregnant elephant 22nd and 23rd Series cars were ill concieved facelifted Clippers were the real effect of what Christopher wanted to accomplish. The retooling of the Straight 8's in 1947 was his idea too. That locked Packard into a design that they couldn't get away from to make the tooling pay. It was an open secret that GM was working on an OHV V-8 for both Caddy and Olds. Packard engineers were working on one of their own. That was quashed. The board of directors saw the light and revolted and old George was sent back to the farm.

Hugh Ferry was the Bean counter at Packard. you can blame him for the cut in the low volume model elimination in the Senior series model line up. They were low sellers and he didn't think they were worth tooling for the belated 24th series Cars. Hence no 127" Covertible, Hard Top, or 2 door Sedan. If you wanted to compete with Caddy, Olds, Buick and the like, guess what you better have the model in the show room. Packard didn't until 1955.

Nance came in with his brand of doing things that had its good points and its bad. On the Bad side he and his henchmen destroyed the company from the inside. If you actually hired people to go in and destroy a good working company as far as the meat and potatoes of making a car these guys couldn't have done a better job. Nance and his Key Men either retired or fired all those who had opposition to any of the shennanagins going on. These people were replaced with Yes Men from the appliance world who did not know how to build a car. Hence the culmination was the fiasco at Conner Ave. as an example. Nance just didn't have a handle on the day to day operation in any way shape or form. He never accepted resposibility for what happened in the end either.

On the good side Nance did have a program to try to make a modern (1950's) company out of Packard. He did fight the fight in the sales war to a point with what he had. He refocused the company back in as far as the luxury market.

Bob Bosworth

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Bob. Thats an excellent analysis. The auto industry requires a real automobile man at the helm. Nance was just NOT such a man. This has been proven many times. Also, Nance has no claim to fame following Packard either. Which pretty much proves your point. I'm sure Nance was an excellent chief for most run-of-the-mill business. But not for autos.

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Jack,

Packard Dealers were as good as the Distributors above them. The Boston Distributor was good. So was the entire Massachusetts area as far as established dealers. New Bedford Packard Co. was very good. They treated my father good on his '51 he bought in June, 1955. The car was burning a Quart every 1000 Miles. He brought it back to be checked and they re-built the engine. He didn't expect that. There was no charge.

I'd contact Nascar and give 'em a history lesson on Packards at the race track. To bad about that '56 Clipper.

Bob Bosworth

P.S. Give Ken and Maxine my regards.

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Bob: I really liked your post. You are able to explain some things to Peter in away that he understands. Some of us in here have bee tying to do this for along time, but have failed to find the right words. Peter: Steve's post about using a crowbar to pry a door open on a 1955 is correct. Go to a good library and get a copy of THE FALL OF THE PPACKARD MOTOR COMPANY BY JAMES WARD. One page 175 the second paragraph reads as follows. One March 7th 1956. Nance wrote his vice president that the cars Conners was were still horrible. One Patrician was so bad I couldn't begin to itemize all the things wrong with it, but suffice it to say it wa litterally necessary to use a crowbar to get one of the rear doors open <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif" alt="" />

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Let me get this straight....Mr. "53".......are you serious...John...you really think YOU can explain Packards to ME...?

I am still waiting for your report on your findings when you

1) crawl under the front end of your '53 Packard, and compare what you find in front bumper - frame bracing, to a '53 Cadillac, Buick, or Oldsmoble....

2) try to race one

(of course the Packard V-8's got Packard back into comporable performance with other cars of its era....but...gawd......the "build quality".....

P.S...folks...in case you havnt noticed...Packard went out of business because the new car buying public rejected their offerings.....Was GMC better...well....ask yourself this question....what were Cadillac sales in '55 and '56......and WHY ...!

Pete Hartmann

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<img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif" alt="" /> Peter: I was mearly confirming Steve's story. Whic I might add you claimed was untrue. I quoted the source from where I got my information. Do you have a copy of the book that I mentioned? Please confirm your story about Nance and the 54 Packard. Please list your written sources htat you have confirming your story. Now why would I want to race a 53 Caddy. To start with I can think of about thirty reasons why I wouldn't want to rac a 53 Caddy. TO start with my car is only rated at 180 horsepower. Correct me if I am wrong but the 53 Caddy was rated at 210 horsepower. A 0 to 60 time takes 18.2 seconds for my 53 Packard to obtain.I would certainly like to know some speed times for a 53 Caddy. You and I have no disagreement about the poor quality of 55's which did killed Packard. I see no reason to attack me such as you did when I was just confirming what somebody else had said. It kind of sounds tto me YOU DON'T LIKE WHEN SOMEBODY POINTS OUT WHEN YOU ARE WRONG.

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It is unfortunate that this story about Nance and the Packard's rear doors is circulating again as evidence of Packard's poor build quality. In truth it has been documented that this was an experimental show car and was called the Packard Virgin. The concept was too many daughters (and at this point granddaughters) of Packard owners were being ravished in the back seats of the then modern automobiles. Packard knew of this problem all to well from its merger talks with Nash. The astute reader will remember Nash had the seats that made into a bed. Nash had been threatened with several paternity suits which caused Romney to vow to "never build a car large enough that gratification could occur in the rear seat of any car he sold." The Packard engineer's solution to this quickly growing problem was to build a faux door automobile, and indeed they called it that, a car that appealed to the concervative tastes of the Packard clientel, giving the look of the four door, yet keeping the back safe and pure from any violations. Nance either forgot about this, or was never informed, and when the rear doors didn't open, opened the trunk and took the tire iron to the door, causing Tom McAll to report that Packard was (tire) "ironing out the details in the new models." And that's the truth!

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YES.....not only that....but secretly, Nance hired Elvis Presely and Amelia Earhart ( he had inside information they had secretly married....and were part of Roosevelt's secret plot to hire the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor, which would distract us from his selling the Packard dies to the Russkies......) to make certain those post-war Packards were secretly so wonderful...they didn't DARE sell too many of them .... all those new car buyers standing in line outside Packard agencies...demanding to buy Packards......why...think of the traffic jams had they sold as many as people were demanding...

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John ( '53 packard ).

I do not remember WHICH auto show it was...( that Nance had his famous "fit when he couldn't get out of a then new Patrician.)

I did not hear about that story until weeks after the auto show "circuit". I dont even remember now if I first READ about it...or heard about it from one of my buddies at the local Packard agency. And...yes...several different versions of this story started floating around a few years ago....winding up in books by so called "Packard experts"....for all I know..it happened more than once.

I can tell you I saw a particularly unpleasant scene at the '54 auto show in Los Angeles at the old Pan Pacific Auditorium, when a fellow from the local Pacard Distributor ( Earle C. Anthony ) got so aggravated with the bull puckey "white washing" by a Packard factory "rep", they actually started airing dirty laundry and screaming at each other...right in front of the public !

I distinctly recall this as '54 models...so this would have been around August '53. One of the big problems with the '54 Patrician...is that it was nothing more than a "warmed over" '53....all they did...was bore out the 327 engine to 359 cu in........juiced up its compression and tried aluminum cyl. heads........problem....was the cyl. head bolts were too far apart, even for the iron cyl. heads.......which further aggravated the tendency of those straight eights to "blow" head gaskets.

And the "leisurely" accelleration ( or lack of it....! ) Later in the '54 production run, they did improve the 'get-a-way' with a change to the Ultra matic...(think they called it the "gear start" version....but the introductory ones...had the same miserable excuse for an automatic tranny you and I had in our '53's. And even the '54 with the "gear start"..well...the '54 Cadillac...would do the same thing to it...that my '38 Packard Twelve...will do to a '38 Cadillac V-16.

Take a good look at a '54 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special...then compare side by side...and performance..with a '54 Packard Patrician.... any wonder why what was LEFT of Packard's market...went over to Cadillac..?

To add as a side-note, to my previous comment that Packard pioneered the best and the worst of our industry.....I remember back in the mid 1970's...when my parents were still alive...we went to the local Buick agency in North Hollywood ( Harvey Tyrell Buick ) to see my parent' new Buick get un-loaded from the transporter (due to union rules, we werent allowed to pick it up at the assembly plant only 6 miles away.... - had to pay em a three hundred dollar "shipping" charge....!)

Anyway...the sad mess that came off that transporter reminded me of how Packard had "pioneered" sloppy "build quality" twenty years before....this thing...well...it took em three days at the dealership before we could actually take the car...a spring had collapsed...car was listing to one side....lower door panels hadn't been fully covered with the finish coat of paint...numerous accessories not connected....!

Wife and I...a day later..picked up our new Toyota....FRESH OFF THE TRANSPORTER...THEY WASHED IT...PUT THE HUB CAPS ON....CHECKED IT OUT...AND DELIVERED IT TO US...JUST LIKE PACKARD, IN ITS GOLDEN YEARS...DID. ... !

You may or may not be aware that Packard pioneered the high rpm over-head valve engine concept - taught the rest of the industry how to build engines that could deliver "rated" power without tossing a rod.....Even today, aircraft racers...much to GM's chagrin, prefer the Packard Merlin ( not the Rolls Royce version...but the re-engineered PACKARD version)....to the GM ( Allison ) which was pretty similar in basic conceptual layout. Given that background, Packard's REFUSAL to put its war profits into keeping up with the times, and waiting so long to come up with a modern short-stroke over-head valve motor..is even more disgraceful.

Yes...the fellow a few paragraphs above...is correct...same stuff you have been rejecting from me.....but if you like it from him..that's fine...

Bottom line...Packard committed suicide...out of incredible greed, smug self-righteousness. Its products...each successive post-war year...sealed its fate. It is that simple. All the fancy theories wont change the fact...."if the public dont want em...they wont sell..and if they dont sell...there is no money to keep the factory doors open....".

Pete Hartmann

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Dear Packard '53 and Anonymous,

There is truth to what your both saying about Packard vs. Caddy.

Its just that it seems its getting little to personal.

As I go through the other posts on this board. There are some things that do need Clarification.

As far as looks, Packard lost it in 1949 with the 23rd series cars. These would have been excellent 46-48 models that were based on a show car that was designed by Ed Macauley. The pregnant elephant 22nd & 23rd series cars were held over to long (over 3 years) and styling changed too much in the meantime.

Thats one of the reasons as to why Christopher was sent back to the farm.

If the 24th series had come out in 1949 instead of August 1950 it would have put Caddy at that time to shame. George Walker did some of the work on the 24th before he joined Ford to work on their lines along with Reinhart. Take a good hard look at a '52 Lincoln or Mercury some time and see the Simularities in detail on the looks of the bodies. Packard waited to long with the design before it went into production. Granted G.M. came back in '50 with a more contemporary design that really put Packard behind the 8 ball. However, blame Management for this not the car.

As far as frame work the Packard Chassis was more modern than the G.M. Chassis in that it was better able to take road shock and it was as strong as anything G.M. could muster except in maybe a Chevy or GMC truck of the era.

Where Packard lost ground was in the fact that the 24th series 1951 cars were more devoid of chrome and stainless trim than the should been. Though it was corrected somewhat by 1953 This became more pronounced in '52 when they took the block letters off the hood. They had the look of a stripped '51. They were to conservative in their bright work.

The lack of a modern overhead valve V-8 was another blunder and I had stated earlier, it was quashed in favor of re-tooling a straight 8 in 1947 hence, the 288 and 327 8's and as a cost cutting measure the 327, 9 main bearing 8 for 1951. Packard who had imeasurable experience in building V type engines, chose wrongley to opt away from it. Their reputation at that time from the recent War would have made a Packard V-8 based on a more compact design a sure winner in the Market Place.

You really can trace the fall of Packard back to the day that Max Gilman who was the President of the Packard Motor Car Co. drove a new Packard into an open Manhole in Detroit. Mr. Gilman who was a married man was with his girlfriend at the time. There was a Scandal. Mr. Macauley the Chairman let Mr. Gilman go. George Christopher became the President.

It was never fully explained how that manhole was open and unmarked. You some times have to wonder.

The one thing about Max Gilman was that above else he wanted Packard to stay Modern. He was responsible for most of the changes the company took in the late 30's and early 40's and turned East Grand into a Modern Automobile Factory. It was still a better complex than what Caddy had 20 years after the last Packard was made.

Bob Bosworth

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Bob:

Please dont think I am critisizing you personally - your defense of the post-war Packards is admirable - and indicative of a very human trait. You KNOW what you want to believe, and being human, you want desparately to structure your understanding so as to support your "belief system".

Unfortunately, there is mischief in this - again..VERY normal trait. History is full of both comic and tragic examples of this - at Packard, "word got out" in the late 40's that anyone reporting these "silly tales about our failing quality" would be fired..and they were !

One of my favorite examples of how people try to remove a "reality" that clashes with what they WANT to believe.....I saw a memo once, from the early fifties, requesting destruction of the parts inventory for the earlier Packards, (even tho Packard's parts business consistantly made good money) on the grounds that the appearance on the streets of Packards (from its "golden era) was an "unneccessary reminder of earlier theories of product and thus destructive to our current sales efforts.....!"

So...Bob...may I suggest you re-examine your thought process...and "dont pull a Packard" on us....!

For example...your comments about Packard frames being more advanced and as strong as comporably priced GMC products..is nonsence. Honestly, have you ever actually crawled under a 1950's era GMC product in Packard's price range, and looked at how much more rugged GMC's produts were ? I spun off an icy road once in my '51 Packard convertible (front frame stub sections were pretty similar on all the later post - war Packards . Just barely TOUCHED the guard rail, sliding at an angle side-ways into it, the side of the front bumper taking the "load". Since there was NO bracing on those weak frame horns, and the front portion of the "front clip" was attached to those frame horns, that minor contact "totaled" the car, "tweaking" the whole "front clip" ( not to worry - I found a rear-ended Packard abandoned...stole the front clip off that one....and fixed mine....!)

As for the technical improvements on the '55 - '56...of COURSE the torsion bar suspension was a great idea. Of course when they finally got a "modern" motor, that helped bring them up to par on performance. But....look at what those concepts were MOUNTED in....!

Packard failed dismally to match its competition in other areas that were pretty obvious to informed new car buyers. Look at how the hoods are braced on GM cars of that era, even tho their more rounded shape was inherently stronger... GMC cars were built sturdy enough NOT to get the "hood flutter" that added to the Packard's general feeling of "cheapness" when you were on anything but a VERY smooth road. Packard had gotten so cheap and lazy...there is NO bracing whatsoever under those broad flat hoods.

Stand on a short ladder or box and "thump" a post-war Packard sedan's roof. Then try it on a GMC car. BIG difference. Packard was too cheap and/or dis-interested in its product's "feel of quality" to be bothered putting a brace under that broad roof expanse. Now look at the GMC product....BRACES under there....which add the general feeling of solid-ness.

The examples go on and on...bottom line - the later post-war Packard products just "didn't cut it"...and THAT is why they were rejected by the buying public.

I do not agree with you that Packard's down-fall dates to the fiasco with Max Gillman ( for readers who do not know what we are talking about - it is hard for you young people to imagine how much more conservative we were as a culture in days gone by...! Max had a relatively minor auto accident in the late 1930's.....happened to have a woman in the car with him who was not his wife.....! end result...he was kicked out of Packard management ).

My own personal suspicion, is that the "rot" of the "Harvard Business School Type" mentality had already set in, and was well established in product methodology by that time ( mid 1930's ). As I noted in earlier "posts"...what in hell was Packard thinking of...in 1938...trying to pass of the "120" series as a Packard Eight...and calling the Packard Eight..a SUPER Eight....! (again, for those of you who do not informed on Packard product line development )..Packard correctly recognized it needed a middle class car, to "carry it over" during the late 1930's, when the market for very expensive "super luxury" cars just about disappeared. The Packard "120" was a marvelous car for what it was.....but to try and pass it off as one of the "real" Packards.....you can imagine how that lookd to a "class conscious" era.

GMC, unlike Packard, did not lose faith in the "super car" buyer. They were ready when these buyers started looking for cars again, and Packard wasnt. The early 1940's saw Packard destroying its ability to compete in the expensive car market. Post war years showed how wrong Packard was.....people who WOULD have bought Packards...and had in the past...shifted over to Cadillac.

C'mon...Bob...what is this "dont blame the car" business...? Of COURSE management produced the things.....and they were a failure in so many respects....but..in particular...in the ONE area that counted....in the minds of prospective new car buyers....!

Pete Hartmann

Big Sprngs, AZ

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Peter? The follwing is 'cut & pasted' directly from your message:

I spun off an icy road once in my '51 Packard convertible (front frame stub sections were pretty similar on all the later post - war Packards . Just barely TOUCHED the guard rail, sliding at an angle side-ways into it, the side of the front bumper taking the "load". Since there was NO bracing on those weak frame horns, and the front portion of the "front clip" was attached to those frame horns, that minor contact "totaled" the car, "tweaking" the whole "front clip" ( not to worry - I found a rear-ended Packard abandoned...stole the front clip off that one....and fixed mine....!)

Now who's fooling who? You reportedly totaled the convertible and yet you managed to fix it by switching out clips? Hmmmmmm, maybe the minor contact didn't really total the car? Pete are you pulling our legs again?

And let's remember, I've never in my life slipped off an icy road in my life, as that's one of the benefits of Southern Arizona living!

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Pete,

I'm not pulling a Packard. My association with Packard automobiles goes back 50 years. I grew up with Packards around me including the one I own.

I 'll give you credit on some points about G M vehicles. My question is weren't they still using the antiquated Lever Action Shocks well into the 50's on Caddy's, Buick's and the Like? Packard had tubular shocks like modern cars. Didn't Buick have a horrible brake fade problem ? Packard didn't. Isn't it by the way G M who took the WW II tank tranny and developed the Dynaslush for Buick? Packard built its own automatic from scratch.

Your right about the hood flutter. Granted there are some things in any car that could have been done better. I have a list of stuff that should have been done better and have made some improvements already. I'm going to do more.

Don't get down on Packard too much. You still had to turn cars out in a good clip to make money, especially as an independent. There is one more thing though. I seem to recall reading that back in the dark days of the depression that G M was considering closing Caddy down. The only thing that saved it was Caddy's junior companion car LaSalle.

Bob Bosworth

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Peter Hartman

After reading your expert Knowledge of Packards, it upsets me that you did not work there as V.P. of Quality Control Div. Just mabe there would still be new Packards today. What year did you have accident? That has a lot to do weither a total or repairable. Packards had very poor re-sale value, that enters the equasion. The body style, larger overhang, had a crush factor that helped protect passengers, even back then. The frame comparisin dont cut it. How many buyers crawl on the floor to check them, pound on roofs, etc. as such?

Paul Whitman, Band leader entered a "59" de-ville in NASCAR, Tiny Lund was the driver. The A frames collapsed, and every thing up front required reinforcement, including plating frame from fire wall front. This, 3 years after last built Packards. Even then, later in race was so bad, bottom of bumper scraped the track. Caddy didnt run many races. We raced 2 different lowley "52" 2dr. Clippers hard, guess what, stock frame, no problems. Later a "55" & a "56"with T.L. both H.T. nothing required beefing up the frames, and this was on rough dirt tracks, very hard on suspension. Had to laugh (sorry) when you told Packard 53 to race one.

As to what Mr. Bosworth said, Caddy thinking bout closing down.

GM also had money problems, so bad they went to Du-Point to manage it along with him buying enough stock for them to get back on solid ground. If Du-Point hadnt bought them we may not be having all this fun. Of course he sold his stock back to GM, but still does big business with them. Im usually pretty laid back, and dont disagree in public, so I promise not to send messages that compromize this site or me. Jack

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To Jack, Bob, and Peter H, I have enjoyed your exchange despite your disagreements. Perhaps you can entertain a question from a younger Packard fan who is somewhat well versed in Packard history BUT was not there at the time like you were. The question is this--after the war, why do you think the company did not move back upmarket? Was it because George Christopher had the influence and prevented it? It seems that even he could see the logic--steel and other materials were limited and more profit per car could be made while probably maintaining volume in the postwar boom. It seems the prestige was probably still there, if reduced, and Clipper styling had been praised before the war. Of course, the 1941-42 GM styling did look fresher after the war, but it still seems a high end car would have been a better bet than a Buick competitor. What are your opinions? Todd Crews

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For Kevin:

regarding your above "post" questioning my discussion about an "ice-skid" accident in my '51 Packard convert.

I am going to give you the "benefit of the doubt" and interpet your comments as made in good humor. Be advised I do not take kindly to having my integrity questioned. Yes, I am aware that some of our younger contributors here have no way of understanding the concept of self-respect and integrity, and thus have no problems in posting any such nonsence as makes them feel good about whatever "point" they want to make. Please do not confuse me with that "ilk".

Now, in answer to your questions, here's some info. you, and, hopefully, other Packard buffs might find interesting..

In the insurance business, we say a car is "totaled" if its repair cost comes up to 80% of its wholesale value (well...some carriers vary that per centage a few points one way or another, but that is the general idea).

The incident I referred to was in the winter of '60. The "mechanism of damage"

was a low speed glancing blow into a guard rail, coming down from Mt. Wilson on the Angles Crest Highway in Southern California. The "wrap-a-round" portion of the right bumper contacted the guard rail. The front frame "stubs" folded to the left of the car, distorting the entire "front clip" i.e. both fenders, hood, and interior structure bent.

Oddly, I did pretty much the exact same thing, a few years later, to a '53 Caddy sedan, but the much heavier front end structure maintained its alignment; "focused" the damage to the bumper - and a little dent on the fender.

I was pretty mad at myself - I liked that car, and by that time, it and I had quite a "history" together - some damn "hot' dates, and two pretty neat cross-continent trips. I had it set up to my satisfaction, and was furious that the only realistic thing now was to drop it off at a junk yard and forget about it.

To give you one example of one reason why I liked that particular '51 convert... ...some years earlier - oh...I am guessing now..I'd say around '57...my mom was out shopping in the '51, didn't notice a radiator leak, and ran it till it over-heated and froze up the motor. I found a good motor in a '53 or '54 ambulance - was a 327 with a four barrel. With that installed, and a "trick" I did with Ultra matcs...the thing had almost passable acceleration.

Anyway, I was then working my way thru college on a night electrical crew - about 4;00 am, coming back thru East Los Angeles, I locked up the wheels on our big boom truck - there was an abandoned '52 "200" two door sedan by the side of the road, hit from the rear so hard the top had buckled and the doors were jammed. But the "front clip" was MINT MINT MINT...! Later that day, I had a buddy "run" the engine I.D ( no "VIN" in those days)...learned the registered owner had "skipped" on the finance company that was still the legal owner. I phoned em....told em the car was now a wreck, and would probably be picked up and crushed - but they told me to go to hell unless I paid em the full eight hundred dollars or so the guy still owed ( lord knows what kind of "scam" they pulled to get the guy into a purchase contract for that much money...remember...by '60...post-war packards were ophrans...practically worth-less).

You probably guessed the rest of the story - "screw em"...I thought...late that night...the front clip of the '52 found itself on my my '51...and my smashed front clip, and the "hulk" of the '42, were left to their fate...probably went to Japan and got reincarnated as a Toyota....!

So - if you guys ever spot a '51 convert. with no rear fender chrome "vent-a-ports" ( I hated those things...pulled em off every one of the '51 - '52 Packards I owned...!) and a '52 "tooth-less" grill...it is probably mine...!

Pete Hartmann

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Todd,

I think I can answer that question and can give you some insight.

George Christopher was a production genius that had previously worked at G.M.and was hired by Packard to set up a new assembley plant. He was the man responsible for setting up the production line for the 1935 Packard 120 in a new building across the street from East Grand. Packard was operating in 1935, two very distinct assembley lines using different methods. Mr. Macauley (no one dared call him Alvan, he commanded that respect)and the board of directors wanted to modernize Packard. Max Gilman who had become the president of the Company oversaw much of this work. Within a couple of years the whole of the operation was consolidated into the famous Mile Long Assembley Line. Thus there was a lot more sharing of parts from the Senior to Junior Car lines as they were all built in the same way.

In 1937, the Packard 110 6 cyl. came out and Packard went further down market and sales went up and so did profits. Christopher was a hero. When Gilman ran afoul of Mr. Macauley. Christopher became president. By 1939 Mr. Macauley's time was further stretched working for President Roosevelt on War Production and was chairman of the War Resourses Board. Christopher was left to his devices more and more. Defense work was figuring more and more at Packard. so much so that by 1941, Car production was taking a back seat. World War II came along and Car Production halted in February, 1942.

In October, 1945 the first of the 21st Series 1946 Packards went down the line at East Grand. It was a 6 cyl 2 door sedan. This was a harbinger of things to come. Christopher loved Production and all he cared about was Production. He knew that the average Joe Shmoe who had a few bucks in his pocket would be wanting a new car that he could afford. The Senior Cars were out of reach of this Market. He knew he could turn out Junior Cars at a good clip and make tons of money doing it. There was not that big a market for the Senior Cars and he knew he could never produce them in big numbers. The whole direction of the company changed dramatically over the course of the War. There was also huge Defense contracts to consider for Jet Engines and other work that took center stage in the profit column. Remember, Packard wrote the book on Cost Plus Contracting for the Government. Christopher figured you could retool the same car over and over again and make money at so why change anything. Except the market had changed and so did styling. Packard was not Modern anymore and that was when the company lost it.

Bob Bosworth

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Hello friends... I am young and have no self respect or integrity. In addition I think my 1955 Packard 400 Rocks! So I am probably pretty stupid too. Bottom line for me is. I don't care why Packard went out of business.. In fact I am glad that they did not survive long enough to make a car in the 70's style or later for that matter. Those cars to me are horrible.(To me I said so if you love your 73 Bunkie Bird I apologize) In addition everyone I tell that have purchased a Packard says, Whoa! I remember those... Those were really nice cars and we couldn't get one back then but I always love them. For some reason I am not greeted with "You bought and Edsel"? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/tongue.gif" alt="" /> So even though the cars were so bad that the car buying public was so repulsed and stopped buying; no one I have spoken to who "lived back then" seems to remember this. I know my age prevents me from understanding anything that came before me so I am sure this was a waste of my time.

Tim

MBL

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For TIM..and Bob Bobsworth :

Again, I am NOT attacking you personaly - I am just using your "posts" to illustrate a very normal and understandable quirk of human nature.

Of COURSE Bob wants to believe there was a "combining" of Jr. and Senior parts. I really dont think anyone CARES any more that this is absolute nonsence - it makes Bob feel good about his car, and his reasoning. Hard to find fault with that. As we move further and further down-hill towards a "third world" culture, where "feel good" concepts replace precision of speech, this is what should and MUST happen. Who CARES that Bob's statement is absolute poppy-cock - that the ONLY part from packard's SENIOR division (take 1938, for example) that will fit their JUNIOR division ( "120" and "110" series), is the lense and shell of the dome light !

Tim - of COURSE it makes you feel good to debunk my statements, and tell everyone how "no one cares why Packard went out of business"...and "you dont remember anyone" REPULSED by what Packard did to itself.

Tim, back here in the real world, there really was an incredible industry leader called the Packard Motor Car Co. Its contributions to technical matters were far out of proportion to its relatively small size. It was a major contributor to technical innovation, much of it in areas that are not exciting to the non-technical minded car buff with limited exposure to higher education.

Its products were such fantastic buys for the money, that it consistantly out-sold other cars in its price class by ten or more to one. Even when the luxury car market temporarily evaporated in the late 1930's (for example, in 1938, Packard sold nearly 600 V-12's compared to only 112 Cadillac V-16'.) ( incidentally, the outstanding sales of post-war Cadillacs, a good part of it from former Packard buyers)..shows us how incredibly wrong Packard management was in walking away from the luxury car market.)

Of course I believe you are wrong, Tim - I think an understanding of the many factors that caused Packard to become such a famous industry leader, that generated this "Packard mystiqe' that even today, fifty years after it died, generates warm feelings of admiration.......is a worth-while study. I also think it is essential to understand how it later led the entire American manufacturing industry down-hill.

Tim's dis-interest in what killed Packard is a normal and human reaction. We now have a dock-worker's strike that is crippling what is LEFT of American industry ( now little more than a series of automated assembly plants - most of our manufacturing capability, skills, engineering, etc. is now over-seas, in semi-slave labor plants run by the Chinese Communist Army....).

The dis-interest in technical matters, again, IS an understandable, logical result of where we are going as a nation, and as a culture.

Who in here remembers, or cares, that for years, during its "Golden Era", Packard's slogans included "Ask The Man Who Owns One" (you sure didn't want to do that in the last years.....!) and "REPUTATION....A HARSH MASTER". (illustrating Packard's understanding on how important it was to "deliver" a product that matched its sterling reputation".....

All right....all right...I confess..I admit it...the reason Packard failed....is MY fault...I ran around all those Packard show-rooms in the 1950's...all over the country...and stood outside and chased eager buyers away....!

Pete Hartmann

Big Springs, AZ

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Bob : Seriously, on the off-chance you DO have a serious interest in correcting some of the nonsence you "posted" about the "sharing of parts' between the JUNIOR and SENIOR parts, and "combining assembly"....may I suggest to you...an excellent article in a 1937 FORTUNE MAGAZINE - I forget which month, but it should be pretty easy to find.

In there, FORTUNE's business reporters give a pretty good account of both Packard management's analysis of where they wanted to go, and how they executed production methodolgy on that analysis.

In that article, is a fairly complete discussion of how different both in theory and application, the SENIOR and JUNIOR divisions were. Again, while the JUNIOR Packards were good buys for the money, they had NOTHING to do with the SENIORS. In fact, employees who worked in the JUNIOR division werent even ALLOWED in the Senior Division - working there was a reward on proof of excellence in the JUNIOR division.

Pete Hartmann

Big Springs, AZ

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Pete,

You are right about that part and in that time frame, 1937. I can honestly say that would have been true. However, by the 1940 model year this wasn't really true anymore. There was alot of stuff interchangeable by then except for trim pieces. More and more area at the factory was being taken up for some of the defense work. By the time the '42's came out, what delineation was there except wheel base and engine from junior to senior in the basic car. Most were Clippers, the bodies of which weren't even built by Packard and some old bodies that were not tooled for the Clipper. They all were Clippers after the war. That tells you the direction that Packard was going.

Even at that time in the late 30's and early 40's G.M., Ford and even Chrysler were breathing down Packard's Neck. Packard had to consolidate its manufacturing methods or else face extinction. It just wasn't feasable any longer to have two very distinct model lines being built in two very distinct ways.

Bob Bosworth

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First off I did not say that no one cared why they went out of business. I said that I don't care why they went out. I did say that no one that I have spoken to personally said that they remembered the horrible quality. Furthermore I will contend my attitude towards this is not symptomatic of my roll as a member of this generation. I am as far right as you get. In addition to this I would say that Packard mysique probably has something to do with the fond memories people have with the cars. At the same time I don't think that would stop someone from saying "well they were great in the old days but man at the end... what crap!" Mickey Mantle was great but I know many people would not deny that by the time he left things for him were not very good as far as performance. People remeber that. The good times and the bad. I will also contend that I am interested in technical matters I have been tinkering with prewar electrical motors in Lionel and Ives locomotives since I was in 4th grade as well as building enfgines and now a 26 model T hot rod. Hence being lumped into a pile with the attitude of Americans reguarding technical matters might just hold very little water. In addition I don't like my car because its mine...That would be the NORMAL HUMAN REACTION I'm sure. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/crazy.gif" alt="" /> I have had cars that I thought were put together like crap. But since we're dipping into Freshman Psycology 101 for the posting motivation of our peers. It is also a NORMAL HUMAN REACTION to bag on somone else to make oneself feel better. Of course I don't really feel any better because I was unable to debunk your statements.

55 Packards Rock! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif" alt="" />

Tim

MBL

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Tim and Bob - RELAX..this is for fun and education ! I am not trying to prove how smart or superior I am.....if I really WAS smart and superior...I wouldnt be sitting here retired on a fixed income...I'd be down in the Carribean on my yacht...with three naked lovlies begging for my attention.....!

Bob - again....there was no "Senior Division" after July 1, 1939. That is the date that "the axe fell" on the facilities that built the "real" Packards. Only the out-side shells of the old "Senior Division" facilities remained - everything was set up for mass prodution of middle-price cars.

The 356 cu in motor did make the '40 and later cars a good performer, and left-over "moss-tread" carpeting, and the 30 lb. Laidlaw broadcloth did make the so called "180" have SOME nice "Senior Division" touches, but let's face it...as you note...most of the parts inter-change, and they were ALL "Junior Division" in design and execution.

I do not have Packard's sales figures down thru the years in front of me, but my recollection is that Packard ( again...ALL were Junior Division after mid 1939) did well up thru the end of the 1940's, and started to fall apart roughly parallel with the drop in morale and quality of those later years.

Pete Hartmann

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Having followed this discussion with great interest, Peter's statement about the drop-off in sales and morale after the 1940 model year put a burning question in my head. He said that he didn't have the sales numbers in front of him, so I thought that I'd look at the sales numbers just to see what they might tell us. Using the Packard Club website reference section and the Standard Catalog of American Cars, this is the production data on Packards from 1934 to 1956, ranked from highest to lowest:

Greatest to least in production

1937=123044

1940=101575

1951=100313

1953=89730

1952=62601

1936=61215

1941=57679

1938=55940

1955=55301

1947=51086

1939=50404

1935=32870 introduces 120

1946=33515

1954=31291

1956=28172

1934=10079

1948=*

1949=*(Production year dates and series too screwy to figure out)

1950=*

What I found particularly interesting about these numbers is that in the time span, three of the top five production years were in the much maligned 1950's. I also found this interesting. The Super Eight's and the Twelves of 1937 accounted for 5.8% of production totals that year. In 1951, production of the Patrician 400 accounted for 8.9% of production that year.

The numbers don't seem to pan out the idea that the buying public so readily rejected Packard's postwar offerings. In fact, the production numbers would seem to indicate that there were some decently successful production runs in the 50's.

(Scarily enough, I ran home from work today and sat for an hour crunching these numbers <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif" alt="" /> )

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