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PACKARDS

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Well cars like that don't really establish the true market, because they are so exceptional that 99.9% of people never even see cars of that quality, not even at most car shows.

    The difference between a $100K Packard and a $50K Packard might not even seem very great to the casual observer. Both cars look great, both cars shine.

    But the $100K car has been completely disassembled down to every nut and bolt. Very often, New Old Parts, purchased at enormous expense, were installed rather than re-chroming or reproducing old parts. It's not uncommon to pay $4,000 for an original new bumper or $1,000 for the correct air filter box. And all the bolt heads are the right size and shape. The simulated wood grain dash has all been done by hand, by an artist. All the gauges were disassembled, and the numbers redone and the guts rebuilt. Look under the dash and you'll see the same quality as on the outside of the car.

    A #1 car represents thousands of man hours, and probably no profit whatsoever to the seller.

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  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    an article by a restoration shop owner who claimed the cost of a #1 restoration is seldom justifiable.

    He said doing a #1 restoration on cars that have little collector value costs nearly as much as doing a #1 restoration on very rare and desirable cars.

    I wonder if the $105,000 Packard owner broke even on his restoration costs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Hard to say without seeing the car and without knowing what he started with. If he paid like $30,000 for a shabby car to start with (shabby but rare I mean), then I doubt he could get to #1 for $70,000 unless maybe he was skilled and did the work himself.

    Restoring cars is generally not a for-profit enterprise. Sometimes speculators can flip a car real quick that's hot but even that is quite risky and certainly not something you do in the Packard market. That's more of a muscle car type of behavior.

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  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    car listed for sale - 1940 model.

    Packard offered air conditioning many years before any other make.

    http://forums.aaca.org/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=290184&page=3&view=collapsed&sb=- 5&o=&fpart=1
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Interesting but price seems nuts for something dragged out of a barn. That's show car money.

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  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    CCCA classics are going up fast after steadily dropping for 15+ years. Looks like today's brass/classic buyers are new to the hobby but coming in with a lot of money.

    Still, someone who bought a senior Packard, Mercedes 540, Pierce-Arrow or V-16 Cadillac in 1988 is still upside down by a big margin. These cars need to be enjoyed as cars: occasionally they may appreciate in value.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    They call those "the heavy cars" and while certain rare open, flashy, special-bodied models might appreciate, I think the big old standard production sedans are doomed to stagnate. They are also a very very hard sell to anyone. You'd be lucky to get .30 cents on the dollar for a fully restored Packard sedan.

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  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Whoa!

    I started this thread 3.5 years ago and it was resurrected.
    Wasn't the "Classic Cars" topic eliminated too?

    Anyway,
    I still haven't bought a Packard.
    2 years ago the CCCA came ot Charleston, SC on their tour.
    These guys and gals are really commited to the hobby.
    Some of them drove from California!
    In fact the cars had to be driven. Could not be trailered anywhere.
    I talked to some of the guys about my plans to buy a Packard.
    They were interested, until I told them I was thinking about a 120.
    Apparently they only care about the full classics and a 120 does not qualify.
    Getting married soon and have put future car purchases on hold.
    Currently have a '04 SRX and a '04 GTO and will probably be getting rid of my '87 IROC because it is just languishing behind the garage.
    No room for a Packard and I wouldns't buy one until there is an opening in the garage.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    the other day, in the movie "The Hills Have Eyes". It was a Clipper; I think it was a '55. You can see it in the trailer for the movie they show on tv, too; it's like one of the first scenes.

    Nothing really special about it, I'm guessing, especially since in the context of the movie it was leftover from the old days of nuclear testing, so it wasn't in the best shape. But still kinda neat to see something that obscure, as opposed to the stereotypical 1955 Chevy or whatever.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    '55 was a bad year for Packard unfortunately. The cars were very problematic, with engine oiling issues. They fixed it in '56 (Packard always had an outstanding engineering department) but by then the company was struggling. Attaching themselves to an even sicker Studebaker was the final nail in the coffin.

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  • ubbermotorubbermotor Posts: 307
    I've had two '55 Clippers, and I loved them. I would buy another.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Did you have valve lifter problems? They had difficulty getting the upper engine to oil properly that year. How about your electric torsion bars? Ever get stuck up in the air?

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  • ubbermotorubbermotor Posts: 307
    I've heard of similar problems, but never had any.
  • martianmartian Posts: 220
    Who made the transmissions for Packard? Dd they buy GM units? I saw a 1956 Packard Patrician sedan for sale-the guy regularly drove it to Florida and back-he claimed he no problesm keeping up with traffic.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Built entirely by Packard. One of the first automatics with a lock-up torque converter, which is now state of the art on all cars.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    I think that was what they were called.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Yep. Fully electronic pushbutton activation, too. Not cable operated like Chrysler's.

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  • Can anyone help me determine the displacement of my '55 Patrician. My mechanic is in a quandry. Number on top of block is 5582 2939. We are told it's a 322, 352 or 374.... Help!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    this might help:

    http://www.carnut.com/specs/gen/pack50.html

    Seems to me a Patrician should be a 352.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    The overhang is the long-hood short-deck theory, which Studebaker pretty much pioneered with their Hawk series in '56 and everyone else started doing around the '65 model year. Look at a '64 Pontiac anything...it has a short-hood and long deck!

    There is a story behind the upright windshield. I heard Otis Romine, a Studebaker truck engineer who pitched in on the Avanti, say at a seminar about 15 years ago, that Studebaker's president, Sherwood Egbert, a 40-something 6'4" ex-Marine, kept knocking his head on the Avanti seating buck every time he came into the engineering studio and insisted on increased headroom...hence the upright windshield.

    Bill P.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    OK, my last post on the subject!

    I had heard that Nance, in a fit, had stuff destroyed (he was, after all, President of Studebaker-Packard and was a Packard guy), but thousands of Packard documents, post-merger and pre-merger, including blueprints, made their way into the Studebaker National Museum archives.

    http://www.studebakermuseum.org/archives.asp

    Bill P.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Bill's post #113 above was moved from another topic and relates to an on-going discussion of the demise of Packard when it was taken over by Studebaker.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    I regard much of that as apologist revision of history. That's not quite how it happened. We have eye-witnesses to the rape and pillage of Packard. :P

    I think the quick collapse of Studebaker rather proves the point. It was sicker than the company it tried to rescue.

    Packard engineering was outstanding compared to Studebaker. it always enjoyed a good reputation in the auto industry.

    Who else pioneered active suspension, electronic transmission control and lock up torque converters in 1956?

    The Studebaker Lark could have been built in 1935 for as "advanced" as it was technically.

    To be fair, one could say the same for the Ford Falcon and Mustang.

    As one Packard man said about Studebaker: "They couldn't build a Packard, but we helped them build them some very good Studebakers".

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Packard bought Studebaker...you do know that, right? When it came down to what had to be done to survive.....the board/shareholders/Curtiss Wright decided Packard had to go as they were the bigger loser by '56. Packard's sales took a 67% dive from 1955 (Studebaker's only a little better, a 33% dive from '55--source, Business Week, April 21, 1956).

    There is no question that Packard had much more cash in bank at the time of the merger. Would they themselves have survived the serious production and sales decline issues of '55-56, or the change in the marketplace in '57-58 as cars in that market found less favor (like Edsel and Mercury sales then)? No one will know I guess. But Studebaker survived them and lasted a decade longer than Hudson (AMC was really mostly 'Nash' after the merger), Kaiser-Frazer, Willys automobiles, etc.

    S-P losses during the merger years:
    1955 $29.7 million (Source: Business Week, April 21, 1956)
    1956 $43 million (Sources: too many to enumerate)
    1957 $11 million (Sources: too many to enumerate--75% reduction of loss with reduced sales from '56--Packard gone)
    1958 $13 million
    1959 $28.5 million profit

    Studebaker built automobiles until March 17, 1966--ten years after the last Packard was built. This is a 'quick demise'? And the Canada plant was making a small profit on their production when they shut down. Problem was, the other divisions were doing much better and the Board wasn't happy with a small profit.

    In fact, Studebaker Corp. stayed in business, just didn't build cars. The Parts and Service Division remained in business in South Bend until 1972, and in fact had contracts with dealers around the country and in Canada to be 'authorized Studebaker parts and service dealers' until that time, if the dealer wished to do so (our small town Chrysler-Plymouth-AMC dealer picked up the official franchise in Jan. '69 after our longtime Stude dealer got out of the business). There are pictures I could post of the factory Studebaker Parts Depot in South Bend taken in 1971!

    And if you saw the file cabinet upon file cabinet of Packard stuff in the archives at the Studebaker National Museum, including build sheets for '55 and '56 models, I think you wouldn't be able to make the blanket statement, "Studebaker destroyed all of Packard's records".

    And come on, 180 hp 4-barrel with automatic, power steering and brakes, Twin Traction, 2-door hardtop '59 Lark could have been built in 1935? We all know what they say about opinions, everybody has one, but staying somewhat factual can help too! :)

    Bill P.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    No, didn't say that. I said that Studebaker threw thousands of Packard archives into the dumpster. Whether some outraged historian rescued them or not is beside the point, right?

    Studebaker market share in 1963 was .9%...that's right, Point Nine of one percent.

    The company was a walking corpse even in 1954 when the S-P merger occurred. They were losing money faster than Packard, and in the merger, Nance allowed Studebaker to control the board of the new company.

    Nance even tried to sell S-P immediately to Ford, and considered liquidating the company in 1955.

    Packard stockholders were the most enraged, as thousands of them wrote to Nance before the merger to warn him that this was the worst possible idea.

    Turns out, Packard stockholders were more educated than most, and they were right. Studebaker was sicker than Packard, it turns out.

    Packard should have just died a dignified death instead of allowing itself to be looted and trashed IMO.

    Studebaker was barbaric. The way they got rid of many of the longterm Packard people was to give them offices and jobs in Siberia, with nothing to do. They just humiliated them enough so that they'd quit. One man I know who worked for Packard for 25 years got about a $46 a month pension from Studebaker.

    My opinion was that Studebaker executives actually committed fraud in this deal. They doctored and hide the true financial status of their company--a company I might add that was threatened with bankruptcy even before the merger, as later investigation showed.

    I think "The Fall of the Packard Motor Company" by James Ward pretty much spells out the whole ugly story.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Yes, Everything in your above post, I have indeed read before and believe as accurate--including the .9% market share in '63. I'm able to admit that. Some Studebaker employees got no pension after the Dec. '63 South Bend shutdown. In fact, the ERISA laws about pensions did come about as a result of the South Bend shutdown.

    Studebaker built about 80,000 1963-model Lark, Cruiser, Hawk, and Avanti cars. Trucks in total I'm not sure, but I know 5,800 pickups on top of that. Packard built 28,000 1956-model Packards and Clippers. What would their market share have been in '56? Even sicker than .9%. Packard built 200 cars in Feb. '56 (per Ward's book).

    The Studebaker National Museum archives consists almost entirely of the records of the Studebaker Corporation as given to the City of South Bend after auto production ceased. They don't have tons of Packard records because 'some historian pulled them out of the dumpster' in Detroit. Sheesh.

    You like Packard better than Studebaker, and me, the other way around. I don't think either of us will ever convince the other, otherwise! And that's OK of course. I just felt that initially, your posts (admittedly, your opinions) pretty much towed the typical Packard-buff line and in some places were factually questionable by means of omission of some significant other things going on at the same time, which deserved to be mentioned in context and are widely verifiable in Studebaker circles.

    Bill P.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Well somebody rescued some Packard archives because we do have some of them. I'm not surprised then that it wasn't anyone related to Studebaker :P But enormous amounts were lost unfortunately.

    It's really not about "liking" one company or another. It's about trying to look at what really might have happened. I have no horse in this race, really.

    From all I've read, I see a lot of treachery here, from Nance, from Studebaker, and from regulators turning a blind eye to various violations.

    Perhaps it's just all the human failings that come about from desperation.

    I guess my only prejudice might be that I would have rather seen Packard survive than Studebaker. I think it was a much more interesting car in 55-56, I mean technically. Studebaker products were antiquated, as befits a capital-starved company.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Mr. (Obama/McCain, your choice!), I've enjoyed the debate!

    I don't mean to say that Studebaker's hiding of their true financial shape, by omission in '54, or Packard's not researching it further prior to the purchase, is not a bad thing. It is, of course. But I think the sales situation in the merger years.....the public's opinion of the company's products in the marketplace....was a result of something else entirely, by spring of 1956. I think Packard's quality image was largely gone by that time, due to word-of-mouth on the '55's and early '56's. Really, the bottom just fell out of their sales in '56...worse than Studebaker's. And the fact is, a '56 Packard Four-Hundred, to my eyes, in Scottish Heather and White, is the most desirable Packard I'd consider owning (despite my total lack of mechanical ability!).

    Like today... I doubt news of GM's financial situation really keeps anybody from buying a GM product if they want one. But if they hear their neighbor's new GM blah-blah-blah is a quality disaster, that will keep them from buying. I think that has to be brought into the S-P mid-'50's discussion, at some point, as well as Studebaker's mis-stated break-even numbers two years before the combined company crumbled. One must also consider Studebaker's post-Packard sales successes (Scotsman, Lark, even Gran Turismo Hawk to a lesser extent) in context with the failed 'merger'.

    I've enjoyed the debate...onto the next item!

    Bill P.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Packard was by nature a conservative company and this probably kept it alive as long as it did. The pre-war (pre 41) styling was "ahead of its time but not TOO far ahead" and Packard pulled off this hat trick time and time again.

    Many well-trained men came out of Packard to find glory (and infamy) in careers with other automakers.

    In the 20s and 30s, the three Ps (Packard, Peerless and Pierce Arrow) could proudly stand parked next to any Rolls Royce or fancy Italian coachwork.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    but I can't remember. I know it was actually Packard that bought out Studebaker, but could someone explain to me why it was the Packard platform that was dumped after 1956, and the nameplate itself after 1958?

    Something else I always wondered...there was talk one time of a merger with Nash/Hudson, in the hopes of creating a "Big Four" and going head to head with GM, Ford, and Chrysler in all price categories. Now in something like that, I could definitely see Packard being the top run, along the lines of a Buick or Chrysler, although I really wouldn't see them as being able to pull off a Cadillac level of prestige. And I always looked at a Hudson as being a bit upscale. But which would have been the bottom feeder...Studebaker or Nash?
This discussion has been closed.