Glenn Miller - At Last!

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4/2/09

Packards! A little History.






The Packard began it's life in the early 1890's when Ward Packard first got the idea to build a motor car. In 1903 the Packard Motor Car Company was formed.
By 1909 packard was one of the major automobile manufactures in America.
Also by 1909 James Ward Packard was ready to retire and turn the presidency over to Henry Joy who had joined Packard in 1901 Under his direction the Packard company had grown to 6000 employees and their factory covered 33 acres of floor space. They continued to build high quality expensive cars.
By 1925 packard was the indisputable leader in the field of prestige automobiles.
The depression of the 1930's hurt Packard. By 1934 their production had dropped to below 7000 units per year from a high of more then 50,000 in 1928. Big multi cylinder cars were just not selling.
It was during this period that Packard decided to build a lower priced automobile and the 120 series was brought out. This move saved Packard for another 20 years.
The Packard 120, named for it's 120 inch wheel base was announced in 1935.
In 1939 Packard stopped production of it's V 12 engine and would never again regain the prestige it once had.
In 1941 the new Clipper styling appeared in some Packard sedans and by 1942 the traditional Packard lines were almost completely gone.
In 1954 Packard bought Studebaker but it was too late to save Packard.
It remained in production until August 15'th 1956.
A 56 year history came to an end.
In 1957 the company tried to save the Packard name by introducing a dressed up
Studebaker with the Packard name on it.
This didn't fool the buying public. This was tried again in 1958 but only 1745 were sold.
That move ended the packard forever.

Great story: 1948 Packard




1948 Packard Victoria Convertible Coupe

This car is owned by Robert Dowling. He bought it from a friend named Dean Anthony
who had the car from about 1955 to 1994. The only thing he did to it was paint it red
when he got it (he loved red) and replaced the fog and spot lights. Other than that he had
some Kelsy Hayes wheels redone and put them on (I have the original wheels and caps).
He told me except for the paint it was exactly as he got it. The car was driven almost
every day. He used to drive it to his mothers house in the San Fernando valley.
It has a little more than 65000 miles on it. He owned a moving and storage business
close to his house. At Christmas time he would put all his cars on display at a
Christmas Tree lot he ran every year. Before that, it was owned by someone famous
but I'm not sure who. He did a lot of business with Hollywood people. His wife was
close friends with Jack Bennys wife Mary Livingstone. (So I know Jack Benny rode in it!)
He knew Jack Lemon and lots of other celebrities too. He had a lot of great stories.
(he came really close to punching Frank Sinatra out once.)
Anyway, I really didn't want the car (I was more interested in a perfect
1927 Chevy coupe he had). One day he asked me to fix a head light in the Chevy,
this guy walks up to it and sits down in it. I went in the office and told him about it,
he said "it's his car now", "What!! I've been saving for it for two years!"
He asked why I didn't say anything before, I told him he was the kind of guy that if
he wanted a certain price for something that was what he wanted and that was it!
I told him if he was ever going to sell the Packard I wanted first crack at it!
He had been sick and his medical bills were mounting up. About a year later
he says I'm going to sell the Packard, how much will you give me for it? I figured
out my savings and told him. He said ok. When I gave him the money I told him it
was a loan and the car was collateral. After he passed away, his wife called me
and asked me when was I was going to get the car out of the garage, she wanted
the space. She told me she hated them all because they hardly ever went anywhere,
all they ever did was polish them!
The car has power windows, a power seat, there is a heater under the front seat
for the people in the back. It has an Ultramatic shift, basically if you go under 40
the shift lever is in second, over 40, third, you don't touch the clutch, except to back up.
The overdrive switches on and off depending on the load. I came back from a drive,
white as a sheet once, Dean looked at me and asked me what happened. I told him
I thought I broke the clutch or the transmission. I was going up a steep hill and it started
slipping very bad. He asked "Did the car slow down or speed up?" I said it sped up.
He started laughing, I was mad, "I just broke a $5000 transmission and you're laughing?"
"No you didn't. it went into passing gear." "How could it have a passing gear, it's a
manual transmission?" He told me all about how the thing works. It has a free wheel
mechanism and an overdrive on top of the self shift mechanism. It works almost like
an automatic. Neat set up but was replaced the next year with a real automatic
. The car is a dream to drive, very comfortable. I have a 48 Willys CJ2A that will wear
you out in about an hour and a half. Handles well for a car it's age and gets decent gas
mileage, about 20 MPG.
A friend of mine was getting married about 6 years ago and they asked me to use
it in the wedding. It had a few things I wanted to take care of so my son and I pulled
the engine and basically just cleaned it up. the crank is still standard . I had a set of
new pistons on the shelf so in those went along with a valve job and a new timing chain,
seal gaskets, clutch.
Now his daughters getting married and wants it in the wedding too, so I have to
fix the leaky water pump (the ceramic seal has a crack in it) It's weird, the thing
doesn't leak when it's running, but piddles all the anti freeze when its stopped!
I'm peeved because I had the water pump rebuilt when we freshened up the motor!
Oh well! I ordered some exact reproduction mirrors for it but took about a
year to get them. (to late for the wedding) When I went to put them on, the holes lined up perfectly!


Ref: Old Car and Truck Pictures

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