Lydia

My grandfather's car around 1915

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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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Benefits of AACA Membership.

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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  • The Derham body company in Rosemont, Pa., used to store "off season" bodies in the upper floors suspended from the ceiling by rope block and tackle. Frequently the cars were sold and the second body was left hanging at Derham.
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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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Holy Cow, John, when you put it like that!!!!  And yes, I was aware of what Ford was able to do to get the cost way down.

Thanks....

 

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Posted (edited)

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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Posted (edited)

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

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

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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The hanging flag is quite impressive and actually old at the time.

 

It has 46 stars. Oklahoma became the 46th in 1907. New Mexico (47) and Arizona (48) joined in January and February of 1912.

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I love it ! On special occasions, I display the 48 version to which I pledged allegiance up into my early 'teens. Have some period correct 48s for my cars when they are shown.   -   Carl 

 

 

3EF8A0B9-79AE-4362-B383-5D2847C6B8C3.jpeg

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On 6/5/2020 at 9:26 AM, 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?  Anyone have ideas on who the coachbuilder was?

 

 

Or the summer rear with the winter front to make a landaulet...

 

MHV_De-Dion-Bouton_Landaulet_1908_02.thumb.jpg.a0a3c5e0faa6b434b1841958e20447ed.jpg

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On 6/5/2020 at 10:30 AM, W_Higgins said:

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

 

 

I wonder if the "no other expense than the cost of the body" included seasonal changes as long as one owned the car or one-time-only.

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You can see an array of photos of the two similar models,  the 48 and 38,  in Beverly Rae Kimes  massively comprehensive book  on Packard that was published by Automobile Quarterly in the late 1970s.  I cannot recall seeing any of these at Harrah's when I went to USA in 1980.   I had camera and  distintive overalls,  and permission to go inside the ropes, but not to touch the cars.   There was so much there that I walked past cars that I would have spent hours examining it they had been here.  After Auburn I went to Springfield Vermont on invitation from Morris and Libby Burrows to help Morris prepare the Mercer we used for the Glidden Tour.  We stayed at a place not far from the Mt Washington Hotel, because I think Morris may have been particular about who he may have liked to associate with.  There was another couple there who Morris and Libby knew; and I remember Morris asking Frank if he had found anyone interested to buy the big Packard Six of that era that he had advertised.     Looking at the photos in that Packard book, my guess is that it was one of the slightly smaller 38 model Packards that Lydia's family owned.  I look at the proportions of engine length and wheelbase  compared to the front seat of the body. Ed has thoughtfully posted photo of a most beautiful 48 Packard to compare.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, edinmass said:

It’s likely he had a chauffeur or driver, as the cars were complicated...

Did the family have a cook, maid, or housekeeper? That’s definitely a top one tenth of one percent lifestyle in that era....

 

Before the advent of many time-saving appliances,

the labor market was quite different.  Laundry day

could be a full day's work.  And as Ed noted, people

in the professional class who decided to try a car

sometimes employed a chauffeur.   The economy 

was such that servants were more affordable, and

it wasn't uncommon for middle-class families to have

a servant, often a young woman before she married.

A friend of the family back then was a medical doctor,

and they had 6.

 

Grand estates, such as those on Long Island, had dozens.

One large estate employed 60 men just to maintain the

large and beautiful grounds.  The family of one man I know

had 3 chauffeurs for their large family.

 

By World War I, the labor market was changing.  I read

one account that said people were doing things themselves

which once they employed other people to do.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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In my hometown of Ludlow Mass, which had one of the largest mill complexes in the world, the CEO had a Olds Limited in 1910. The chauffeur was a college educated engineer who also did part time work at the mill when not driving. Mechanical skills were not common before WWI. If you had money, the simple solution was a full time “man” who also could deal with your estates boiler, the new domestic electricity, air conditioning  and household appliances, There weren’t any service stations of experienced technicians available on call or short notice. 

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Thank you for the history lessons here.  I am learning a great deal!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Lydia said:

Thank you for the history lessons here.  I am learning a great deal!


 

Lydia.......it was a time when an automobile wasn’t transportation, it was a new technology in the time of great changes. Similar to the computer and internet happening today. WWI interrupted the quickly changing technology of the day delaying it for almost 10 years after the war. People were trying to figure out what would work and how to live with it. Telephones were becoming much more common, radio went from the laboratory to the sitting room, cars became everyday common items, centeral heat and plumbing were also on the rise; and the Wright Brothers changed the world.. By 1928 when things again started to takeoff in the world of technology, The great depression hit , and delayed everything again for another 10 years. People who were born in the 1880’s lived to see more change (good & bad) than any other generation before or after. Amazing times.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, edinmass said:


 

Lydia.......it was a time when an automobile wasn’t transportation, it was a new technology in the time of great changes. Similar to the computer and internet happening today. WWI interrupted the quickly changing technology of the day delaying it for almost 10 years after the war. People were trying to figure out what would work and how to live with it. Telephones were becoming much more common, radio went from the laboratory to the sitting room, cars became everyday common items, centeral heat and plumbing were also on the rise; and the Wright Brothers changed the world.. By 1928 when things again started to takeoff in the world of technology, The great depression hit , and delayed everything again for another 10 years. People who were born in the 1880’s lived to see more change (good & bad) than any other generation before or after. Amazing times.

Refrigeration which kept food fresh was another major innovation.

 

I will say the second world war stifled R&D (at least for consumer goods) more than the Great Depression did. Some of the greatest advancements and other achievements were made in the decade from 1930 to 1940.  The automobile no longer resembled a box on wheels with a separate add-on trunk by 1939.

 

Craig

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