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My grandfather's car around 1915


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I do not know the make of this car.  I remember my father telling me it had a winter cover and that could be taken off for it to become a convertible.  Here you see it in both of those ways.

I would like to know what the make of it is!  Thank you.

P6020384.JPG

P6020383.JPG

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I do not know the make of this car.  I remember my father telling me it had a winter cover and that could be taken off for it to become a convertible.  Here you see it in both of those ways.

I would like to know what the make of it is!  Thank you.

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Looks like he had two different bodies for the car, unless he had two cars?  I have heard that some people did have car bodies that could be interchanged but for that big Packard it looks like there would have been a lot of work involved.  Of course the owner probably had a chauffeur/mechanic to handle that.

Terry

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Packard......it was common for people to purchase two bodies and swap them out for summer/winter. Usually they lived near the dealership. Usually only done on very expensive chassis.....Packard, Pierce, Peerless......Ext. Very nice car. Here is a similar car today.

977C3803-5E58-45E1-9A8E-71659037DEC8.png

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Hi Lydia,

Indeed, not just a "Winter cover" ; that very expensive car really did have two separate bodies. Actually, not too terribly difficult to remove and re-mount for seasonal use. One period option some owners found convenient, as this was done more often than one might think. Would you regard this as a somewhat extravagant luxury ? Or  : perhaps a wise and frugal practice to avoid the necessity of owning separate winter and summer cars ?

 

Welcome to AACA forums, and thank you very much for posting ! I took the two Cadillac alternative. The newer "Winter Car" is a 1927 with the expensive optional factory heater, VERY effective ! The older, the convertible, is a1924. The only times it has ever been Winter driven in its almost century of use, has been on rare, totally dry days, with occupants dressed appropriately. These well-preserved old cars have never been restored ! Do you think there is any chance your grandfather's Packard survived ?   -   Carl 

 

 

E75EBE1E-F124-4CD9-860C-19F7EEB76AC2.jpeg

44FAA817-66B8-4703-AACE-DFC05A85BBFE.jpeg

Edited by C Carl
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8 hours ago, Lydia said:

...Here you see it in both of those ways.

 

Lydia, the picture that you must have tried to attach

did not show up.  There are many experts here who

will be happy to help, but we will need the picture.

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Here's a better look at the Packard in its summer and winter bodies.  When people bought an expensive car such as a Packard, they planned on using it year round.  Dealers offered the body swap and storage services to those upscale customers. 

'14 Packard touring - summer body.jpg

'14 Packard touring - winter body.jpg

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Thanks for posting these two photographs together.   Arguably, the most interesting "comparison" photos I've seen in ages.

 

The body appears to have two sections, front & rear, for 'easy' removal.  I also suspect the cowl including the dashboard remains fixed in place, though its rather hard to determine in the photographs.  I wonder how many hours was required for the seasonal body changeover.  (On a different note, the 2004 & newer Ford F150 truck cabs are designed to be removed to perform major engine service, and a good mechanic can have one removed in 20 minutes with the proper equipment.)   If the owner of the Packard was changing from the open to closed body for winter and the next door neighbor was taking down the screens and putting up all his storm windows on his house, which would take less time??

 

Now I know why "The Carriage House" behind higher-end estate homes from 100+ years ago were a LOT bigger and taller than a standard double garage one sees today!!

 

Craig

 

 

 

 

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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Hello John,  

 

Being new here, I will have to get with the program.  I did post the photos, but apparently they didn't show up?!

Down at the bottom of this window it says 'choose files' and that's what I did to get my photos up.  I will try again now.

 

Same car in winter and then in summer without the amazing top on it!

Lydia

 

P6020383.JPG

P6020384.JPG

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Those are beautiful old photos. I have read a lot of articles on old cars over the years and this is the first time I have ever heard of a seasonal body swap. Very interesting. Your grandfather must have been very well off to have an automobile of that caliber. 

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8 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

since the bodies appear to be two piece, is it possible to mount the winter rear with the summer front to make a town car version? 

I thought of that, but the front of the rear section would be completely open, and the seal from above the front seat would be totally visible.  I would also wonder if the contour and length of both sections where they meet in the middle are the same between the two different bodies, and would accommodate interchangability.

 

Craig

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It was a neat concept and is rare to see in photos today.

 

At the very start of the 1910 model year in late 1909 even Ford suggested this in their advertising but it seems to have gone no further than that.

Harrisburg_Telegraph_Sat__Aug_21__1909_.jpg

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2 hours ago, 8E45E said:

Thanks for posting these two photographs together.   Arguably, the most interesting "comparison" photos I've seen in ages.

 

The body appears to have two sections, front & rear, for 'easy' removal.  I also suspect the cowl including the dashboard remains fixed in place, though its rather hard to determine in the photographs.  I wonder how many hours was required for the seasonal body changeover.  (On a different note, the 2004 & newer Ford F150 truck cabs are designed to be removed to perform major engine service, and a good mechanic can have one removed in 20 minutes with the proper equipment.)   If the owner of the Packard was changing from the open to closed body for winter and the next door neighbor was taking down the screens and putting up all his storm windows on his house, which would take less time??

 

Now I know why "The Carriage House" behind higher-end estate homes from 100+ years ago were a LOT bigger and taller than a standard double garage one sees today!!

 

Craig

In addition to dealers who offered the services, the chauffeur would be task with changing the bodies as the season warranted, carriage houses were equipped with a hoist designed to lift the body without damage.  Seasonally, the body not in use would be sent to the coachbuilder or a reputable body shop for re-varnishing or full repainting plus other repairs if needed.  Recall this was the era of laborious brush-applied primers, paints and varnishes which had relatively poor durability when exposed to the elements.

 

Whether the bodies were designed to enable combining the driver's compartment with the rear tonneau will have to be answered by others...Walt?     

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Dear all of you responding to my question!

 

Thank you so much for all this that I am learning, and things I am getting to chuckle about.  LOVE IT.  I do have other photos of the car which I can post eventually.

So do we think this is a Lincoln?  

In the photos, it does appear that there is a chauffeur.  In the photo with the top off, is my grandmother in a BIG hat!

 

Lydia

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9 minutes ago, Lydia said:

Dear all of you responding to my question!

 

Thank you so much for all this that I am learning, and things I am getting to chuckle about.  LOVE IT.  I do have other photos of the car which I can post eventually.

So do we think this is a Lincoln?  

In the photos, it does appear that there is a chauffeur.  In the photo with the top off, is my grandmother in a BIG hat!

 

Lydia

As stated, the car is a Packard.

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4 hours ago, Robert G. Smits said:

My question is does anyone know of a winter body that survived intact?


There was a Collector named Benson in Maine That allowed a small group to visit his collection years ago, he had a summer/winter bodied car in that collection which was on the same scale as the Packard pictures but I don’t remember what make it was. It took up a LOT of space!

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4 hours ago, Lydia said:

Yes, it was a Packard.  I can not only see that, but somehow, rising from my memory banks is my dad telling me that!

Thanks,

Lydia

Lydia, - I can't help but wonder what other fabulous cars your grandfather may have had in the years after this Packard? Any pictures of his other vehicles? -The man obviously had some great taste.

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Lydia, Your grandfather must have been a wealthy man in those times.  The Packard appears to be the new 1912-'13 Six, Series 1-48 or 2-48, also called 'The Dominant Six" as it was there most expensive series.  The engine a 525 cu. in. T-Head, 48 hp, 139 in wheelbase.  If bought as a complete car as a seven passenger touring, its price was $5,000.  If bought as an Imperial Limousine, its price was $6.450.  If the Imperial Limousine body was bought separately, good likelihood it was $2,500-$3,000.   

 

For comparison during 1912-'13, the Ford Model T was $690, a Buick $1000, a Overland or Maxwell or Hupmobile or Studebaker $900-$1,500, a Hudson $1,600, a Chevrolet Classic Six $2,500  

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5 hours ago, md murray said:

This 1910 Pope-Hartford from the Don C Boulton auction supposedly sat for 60 years in a grain store room with its Summer body up in the rafters. They threw the open body on another chassis.

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25219/lot/262/

 

 

 

That would have to have been a bargain at $100k wouldn't it. You wouldn't restore it for that.

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Changing the seasonal bodies was not all that difficult in those days. Motorcar chassis included the firewall, steering, pedals and nearly all other engine and shifting controls, as well as front fenders and trim. Four to six small bolts between the body and firewall, and between four to eight large bolts holding the body onto the chassis, and the body was ready to lift. A hoist, a carriage (or a pair of hoists?) and one good man could complete the task in a couple hours. Rear fenders could stay with either body or chassis depending upon make and model, either way, just a couple more bolts.

If I recall correctly, the Forney collection in Denver Colorado used to have a car with both bodies. They would probably still have it?

I don't recall the specifics, but I know I have read of several "other" bodies being united with chassis during '50s and '60s restorations. Actually, one may never know when looking at such high end cars of those few years whether it may or may not have been one part of such a two-bodied car. While exceptions were around, the common practice (for the wealthy that could afford it) dwindled down around 1915 as bodies became more one piece, and things like steering and other controls integrated into the body proper.

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It was common to still find the winter or closed bodies back in the early 70’s. Usually you could find them on the old estates as they were broken up for subdivisions. Many were scrapped, as there were more bodies than chassis, and closed cars were not popular in collecting pre 1980’s.

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Thank you all so much for this fascinating information about my grandfather's Packard.  He and my grandmother were married in 1910 and lived in Brooklyn, NY.  The photos of the car that I posted were dated 1914 in my grandmother's handwriting.  

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Lydia, your grandfather was a man of culture and means. That car with two bodies probably cost more than his home at the time. I would compare ownership of that car back then as an equivalent of owing a private jet today. The car in its era was really a fantastic piece of engineering.

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$5000 for a car was the equivalent, adjusted for

inflation, of $100,000 to $125,000 today.  Cars were

expensive in the earliest years, and as Lydia may know,

Henry Ford's mass production brought the cost down

so that cars became affordable and commonplace.

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edinmass - also want to thank you for what you posted.  My grandparents lived in a brownstone in Flatbush.....have no idea what it would have cost, but still, to have a car that was possibly more

expensive than their huge house?  Whew!  Here's a photo of their house on what was then Decoration Day 1921.  

 

P6060383.JPG

Edited by Lydia (see edit history)
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That car with two bodies definitely cost more than the home at the time......MUCH more. It’s likely he had a chauffeur or driver, as the cars were complicated and it’s so early it’s likely he had a professional engineer or more often a retired maintenance supervisor from a factory or industrial manufacturing facility . In Flatbush it’s likely they kept the car at a rooming house/garage where the “help” could live and be summoned close by. The cars tended to leak and smell like gas, and with their propensity to burn, they were often kept away from the house, and stables. Here is a photo of a very similar car that caught fire while we were on tour this year in early March. Fortunately it was put out and the car survived. Did the family have a cook, maid, or housekeeper? That’s definitely a top one tenth of one percent lifestyle in that era. The car on fire is very Similar to your grandfather’s.

 

 

Looking at the house photo, it appears to have a housekeeper in a service dress looking after the children.

B4DAFBBA-C0FD-4775-8D10-92EB72C0C85D.png

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I googled homes in Flatbush, and this is the first photo that came up......almost identical to your family’s. Certainly the same time period and “in the neighborhood”.

06BD48C7-257A-46F7-ABF3-29797F9E7CDA.png

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Wow, so much cool information.  My grandparents had a Polish maid named Mary I was told.  But she didn't live there.  And yes, they must have had a garage for it somewhere as there

was only on street parking.  Houses you showed not really quite like theirs which had grass in front and was a dark red sandstone.  I remember it well!

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