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All About Packards

Mr. Shiftright-check out this month's issue of
FORBES magazine. There is a guy who is planning to
revive the PACKARD name-he bought the rights for
$50,000., and plans to produce an all-aluminum,
luxury sedan next year. He seems to be
well-capitalized, but what do you think of his
chances? The name is rather old-I can't believe
that anybody under 45 has much familiarity with it.
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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    His chances? Less than zero...he should pay attention to the corpses of similar revivals....Duesenberg, Bugatti, Cord to name a few. Those days are over. Any car that wishes to compete in the modern world would have to look and perform so differently that the connection to the old names is pretty meaningless anyway. And if he's planning to build a replica of the old car, he'll surely fail. This is a notoriously unprofitable enterprise, and often makes a mockery of the original car (Bugatti revival excepted--a magnificent car that still failed).

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  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    I beleive a couple of visionaries with radical new cars tried that before. Tucker and DeLorean, if I recall their names. I wonder whatever happened to those two :-)?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    The last person to successfully put his name on a car that didn't die immediately was Walter Chrysler in 1924.

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  • Did any single independent auto manufacturer beat Packard's record of 57 years (of real Packards, not Studebaker-Packards), and still fail ?
  • giacgiac Posts: 1
    I was recently travelling and flipped thru a car mag....it had a picture of a car they called the new packard 12...a four door new sedan, with a high grill in the center, high headlights, and french curves/hood slope between them almost to bumper level...the back end looks pregnant. Wh is making this car and are there other models?...i can't find anything on the net, and can't remember the car mag i saw it in.....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    Well, Studebaker produced cars for 62 years before failing, but not as an independent, so I guess Packard does hold that record as near as I can tell.

    Oldest existing domestic nameplate is, of course Olds-mobile, and may be the oldest existing in the entire world (don't say Benz, they were merged with Mercedes in 1926). Fiat and Peugeot are 1899, Renault is 1898, but Olds is 1896.

    I'm still thinking...

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  • heimyheimy Posts: 13
    Buick is 1903. I've got a '53 Buick with a 50th Anniversary emblem on the steering wheel.

    Anybody under 45 remembering Packard...highly unlikely. I'm 46, so I just made the cut. My grandpa had a '49, a big ugly ol' bathtub of a car. Personally, I think the '57 Hawk looks kinda cool...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    Yeah, it does, but that's a Studebaker, not a Packard. No real Packards after 1956.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    Pretty pathetic at the end, huh--28.835 cars. No way to run a railroad. Poor Packard was really dead even before World War II, I think. They just hung on another 11 years, but they weren't all that much fun for the company.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    Actually, every book you read on the subject has a different number it seems, but she's probably right, or close...the 1937 and 1949 numbers are very close and I think it depends on how you count them, from calendar year (jan. to jan.) or fiscal year, from 9-36 to 9-37, etc. This is probably where the discrepancies come up, and why 1949 comes out first sometimes. I think the difference between the two years can't be more than a few thousand, maybe 5,000 at most. 1949 was popular because the automatic came out then.

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  • dranoeldranoel Posts: 79
    Boy it's quiet in here---not many Packard fans on the internet, I guess. It's been 44 years since the last real Packard was produced. Most Packards have been off the road for many years and even the "beater" Packards have been off the road for about 25 years. I'm sure the bulk of the "Packardaphiles" are above 50++ (as I am). Oh well the http://www.packardclub.org site has some activity.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I'm probably a fairly typical boomer, and I grew up in the '50s seeing lots of Packards, but most of them were pretty strange-looking, except for the '55-6s. That may explain the lack of interest: not many of us can remember the classic Packards.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    Packard styling postwar from 1946 was unfortunate...but financially the company wasn't all that strong anyway...the styling just helped to drag it down. 1955 was a pretty bad car, 1956 made a lot of improvements, but all too late. The really great Packards were made in the 1930s, and upon those few years the entire reputation of the company rests I think.

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  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I was watching the "My Classic Car" TV show recently, and one of the cars on the show was a 47 Packard fastback 2dr, which had been made in to a street rod, with a big block Chev, etc. The
    body had undergone a few mods, all of which, to me, seemed to enhance the styling of the car. Now I know most of the true classic "Packardophiles" out there might detest such a car, but to me, it seemed like kind of a tribute that someone would spend that much money to make an old Packard into a street rod. Actually, I kinda liked it. A change from the standard 30's-40's something Chevy-Ford street rods.
    I remember an uncle of mine, [who drove Nashes exclusively] once bought a '47 Packard 2dr, like this rod I saw, to pull his travel trailer. This was in 1957. I thought it was interesting at the time that he'd bought a 10 year old Packard to pull his travel trailer.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Posts: 228
    I'm 36 and I love Packards because no body in my generation or younger even knows what the hell they are. Over the course of my restoration I've exposed countless younger guys to what this great old dame of a brand use to be.

    My bathtub 49 may not be a looker to a lot of you older folks but man does that art deco dash, bulbous body lines, and endless flat head eight amaze the younger generation. When these twenty somethings see that huge 6 volt battery slowly chugh, chugh, chugh..........whirrr to start that smooth running flat head eight they can't believe their eyes.

    I'm certainly not the standard Packard owner but let me tell you I can't wait to get this car finished and hook it up to my Aerostream trailer for a weekends down at San Onofre State Beach Park with long Boards, roof racks, and all. There aint a surf'n rig like this on the entire coast of Califonia!
  • billy9billy9 Posts: 19
    I think that's cool. I know what you mean I'm 38 and bought a 56 Mercury. Probably not a car that most people of that era would want, but sure is cool to me, I like em different. I think the back quarters look a little like the '56 Packard.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Posts: 228
    Mercs from the 50's always seem to make great chop jobs and or low riders. Packards by the mid 50's had mostly become pretty pathetic pieces of junk except maybe the Carribeans, and even those are a pain in the [non-permissible content removed] to own and maintain.

    A couple of years ago at a Packard Club event I saw an orginal low mileage 57 Packard Country Sedan Station Wagon with factory blower V-8. The owner said it was a rocket but man did it look like it'd been slapped together with whatever they could find in the parts bin that day.

    I'd probably have bought that car if I saw it today because it was just so frickn unique and ugly to boot. Damn the rear of that car was weird! I've never seen another one of those cars since.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I know that i am the first to post here in three months, so i hope there is somebody ou there.
    I am 37 years old, not your typical Packard fan,
    but i have always liked the cars.
    I am interested in the the cars built from about 1934-1939.
    Does anybody have any suggestions on what i should buy as a novice?
    Should i get a $5000-6000 beater or move up to something in the $15,000 plus range.
    I am not interested in a convertible. Just the sedans.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    Probably a Junior Eight (120) coupe would be your best bet...your won't have to pay the premium price for a Senior Eight car. The six cylinder cars are the cheapest but they are, correspondingly, not as good investments if you start restoring one. But a 120 coupe can be a fun car and quite handsome, even though by this time Packard was borrowing quite heavily from GM styling.

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  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Should read. I kind of came to that feeling myself.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Thank you sir. I had kind of come to that feeling myself. I definitely want an eight.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Whatever happened with the auction of the Packard name? Does anybody know who bought it and how much it went for? I think it took place on ebay.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    I've noticed that a few of the "bathtub" Packards from the late 1940s are bringing some pretty good prices...part of that is the strong economy of course. But still, this is an improvement for the postwar Packards, most of which, except for the ultra fancy Caribbean convertibles of 55-56, have languished in the collector car market.

    However, I also noticed that the ONLY 4-door postwar Packards bringing serious money are really restored to a magnificent condition. This seems to be the New Rule of the collector car hobby, now that buyers are so much more knowledgable and fussy then they were in the 1980s. They'll pay, but they want only the best and the rest be damned.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    The same's true of houses, at least in my area, so I think maybe that's part of a larger trend. The reason I get is that buyers are too busy to do fix up work themselves or supervise contractors. And maybe a lot of us are into instant gratification these days, and are willing and able to pay for it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    I can only presume that it is true for Packards as for any other car, that these days "all the easy restorations have been done already"....so that means that the beautiful cars will be preserved but the bigtime rusty projects won't be, as they are not worth the cost of restoration unless you are doing it for therapy or some such. Problem is, cars like packards and cadillacs are BIG cars, so to restore one from a wreck is not only not worth the money, but maybe not worth the human effort. Hard to say, it depends on the model and the overall condition.

    A sedan like, say, a supercharged Stutz from the 20s, you'd restore that no matter how bad it was, because you can hang a $300,000+ pricetag on it. But when confronted with a maximum value for a 4-door postwar Packard of perhaps $30-35K in Pebble Beach show condition, and a cost of $75,000 to get there, what is the motivation? This is even more true for "lesser" postwar 4-doors, such as the lower-priced cars from the Big Three or Studebaker or Nash.

    Yes, the postwar glory is definitely going to 50s coupes and converts and 60s muscle cars. This is where all the action is right now.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I suspect that's where the action is because we boomers are fueling the market. I wonder what will happen when enough of us are beyond collecting old cars to be a presence in the market. Will younger buyers gravitate to the same cars because post-1970 cars are too ordinary and/or complicated to restore, or will there be a much smaller market for collector cars?
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Sometimes you restore a car for sentimental reasons. I see a lot of packards advertised that say "must sell soon or will part out". I look at the picture of the car and it looks pretty good to me. Why would somebody want to part out a car like this. Also i can't believe people are still turning these things into hot rods.
    I originally was interested in buying a Packard 120, but am now leaning towards something mid to late '20s. I think they are a little more unique looking. I believe it was Mr. Shiftright who said that the later '30s cars were starting to look too GM like.
    Got the "Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company" for Christmas and it is good but depressing.
    I am hoping there will be renewed interest in cars of this era by collectors. I am 38 years old and would really like to participate in the Packard Clubs.
    Too bad they are saddled with 6 volt charging systems, it really makes it difficult to use these cars on a regular basis.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Spent a bout an hour last night on the PAC site.
    Their showroom section has a lot of great photos.Its amazing to think how many different models there were available. Most of the people who are involved in the hobby seem to be getting up in age, it needs some new blood if it is going to thrive.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    Unfortunately the Packard does not have much youth appeal, so mostly we see the older more affluent collectors who are collecting or restoring only the top of the line Packards. Packard made very good cars (usually) but they were a very conservative company and their styling reflects this. And, as you know, a car's "looks" is very important these days both in new and collector cars.

    I think the reason the more "common" Packards are being parted out is that in the current market they are simply not worth restoring, and if they are the 4-door cars from say the 1920s and late 40s, early 50s especially, they probably won't ever be worth restoring. Even when we've seen 4-door cars bringing $30,000 as magnificent restorations, that is a loss for the restorer.

    Basically, I think that unless a 4-door car is coachbuilt (custom body), it's a struggle to attain any kind of substantial value. The body style is often not very attractive, and the numbers produced too high (4-doors are always made in much larger proportion to their coupe and convertible brethren).

    The Packard story is depressing. It only goes to prove, once again, that just because very well dressed men sit around large boardroom tables and talk in serious and somber tones, it doesn't mean they know what they are doing.

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  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I guess i just have a soft spot for that grille.
    It just seems a shame to see that old fabric lost.
    Here in chas. sc we have very strict guidelines as to what we can do to our historic houses. This perserves the building fabric, but makes it very expensive to do a restoration.
    We still have old houses and barns being torn down and their wood used to perserve and build new houses, so i guess the parting out of an auto is no different than reclaiming heart pine from and old building.
    One 4 door i do like a lot is the club sedan. It has a beefier look and has more presence than the other 4 doors.
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