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  #1  
Old 09-12-2009, 07:06 AM
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Packardís Visions of the Future, When It Still Had One

A great slideshow in today's Times... Packard concept cars:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/09/13/automobiles/collectibles/20090913-packard_index.html

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  #2  
Old 09-12-2009, 10:22 AM
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Nice, Packard for a time proved the we can build the best cars in the world.

You know what they used to advertise; "Packard, ask the man who owns one!"


For awhile they were so confident that they didn't even put logo's on their cars.
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  #3  
Old 09-12-2009, 11:57 PM
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utilitarianism sucks

too bad we can't have cars like that anymore
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  #4  
Old 09-13-2009, 12:21 AM
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Whoa, some of those are pretty strange. In photo two, the ones on the right and left. Gawd.

A couple of the others are all right.
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  #5  
Old 09-13-2009, 08:42 PM
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Packard had a tight relationship with Henney coachbuilders, they built googobs of hearses, flower cars and ambulances. When Packard went belly-up, so did Henney.

Oddly enough, we are in a similar situation now with Cadillac. The DTS is going out of production, and GM seems content to let Lincoln have the hearse and limo market. There will be no Cadillacs on commercial chassis after this year. Lincoln will phase out the Town Car after 2011 or 2012, after that, no telling whose car chassis will be used for hearses and limousines...maybe Lexus and Mercedes?! Either that, or SUV-based chassis...Escalade hearses.

Anyway, professional cars have always been halo products for upscale American brands...you want your last ride to be in the best car possible, after all.
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  #6  
Old 09-13-2009, 09:28 PM
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Interesting, you could argue that GM did the same thing in the 90's with the police car/taxicab segment - They killed the Caprice/Caprice Classic...

So did they intentionally kill it - or did the follow the (bad?) advice of a marketer/moneyshuffler who said "go with a smaller FWD platform and the police departments will buy those...Oh, and don't forget to abandon the full size sedans for Body-on-frame SUV's - they'll sell better."

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  #7  
Old 09-13-2009, 09:38 PM
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It should be interesting...I guess GM figures 2000 hearse chassis a year, plus how ever many limo chassis, don't justify building big sedans, even though consumers will still buy the cars too. Same thing as 1996, when the big RWD Brougham went out of production, along with the Caprice and Roadmonster, all of which were the basis for hearses. Only problem is, the remaining GM sedans are too narrow, both in the body shells themselves, and the space between the rear strut towers, to be good hearse chassis. Further, GM has always been really good about beefing-up the commercial chassis, for instance, new FWD hearses have 8-lug wheels and bigger brakes than the sedans, I think the transmissions are even geared differently, to account for the additional weight. Ford has always done less for their commercial chassis...cop car cooling and brakes, and that's about it.

You may recall that funeral directors were freaked out in 1976, when the downsized 1977 Cadillacs were coming out, they thought they were too small, and looked funny...now the 1977-1991 Caddies seem huge, so maybe someone will engineer something that will enable smaller chassis to be used successfully for hearses.
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  #8  
Old 09-13-2009, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
Whoa, some of those are pretty strange. In photo two, the ones on the right and left. Gawd.

A couple of the others are all right.
"Ask this man who owned one!"

PHOTO TWO, FAR-LEFT!
That was a production car and I owned one!

A 1955 Caribbean Convertible. That one was 3-tone coral and mine was 3-tone green.

It was awesome! They were great highway cars, 4-wheel torsion bar suspension, (no coil springs, no leaf springs), automatic load-leveling, power top, windows seats and twin tail-fin antennae!

The radio would automatically seek the stations much like today's cars.

Would you believe they had TWO 4-Barrel Carbs sitting on top of a 352 cid V-8?
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  #9  
Old 09-14-2009, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davestlouis View Post
Packard had a tight relationship with Henney coachbuilders, they built googobs of hearses, flower cars and ambulances. When Packard went belly-up, so did Henney.

Oddly enough, we are in a similar situation now with Cadillac. The DTS is going out of production, and GM seems content to let Lincoln have the hearse and limo market. There will be no Cadillacs on commercial chassis after this year. Lincoln will phase out the Town Car after 2011 or 2012, after that, no telling whose car chassis will be used for hearses and limousines...maybe Lexus and Mercedes?! Either that, or SUV-based chassis...Escalade hearses.

Anyway, professional cars have always been halo products for upscale American brands...you want your last ride to be in the best car possible, after all.
I want mine to be in an all black, crew cab, dually Cummins with stacks.

Hmmmm...might be a market for that for us hicks...and limos for the weddings and proms...
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  #10  
Old 09-14-2009, 03:34 PM
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I'm still astonished by the antiquity of the fleet vehicles in this country....the average Ford Police car is a primitive body on chassis design that's absolutely ancient, and massively inefficient (fuelwise) compared to European Police vehicles etc...
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  #11  
Old 09-14-2009, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatterasguy View Post
Nice, Packard for a time proved the we can build the best cars in the world.

You know what they used to advertise; "Packard, ask the man who owns one!"


For awhile they were so confident that they didn't even put logo's on their cars.

The Packard Crest was used through out their run



Also do not forget the red 'hex nut' which symbolized superior engineering...

Look at the wheel hubcaps to see it.

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  #12  
Old 09-14-2009, 05:18 PM
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On a related topic I passed two Studebakers yesterday on I-78 in Pa.

Talk about stylish!

They were both Lowey Coupes

One early one without fins and one later finned one.


Both looked good on the road

Both kept up with 75mph traffic!
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  #13  
Old 09-14-2009, 06:22 PM
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This one has a scary face.....if he was tailgating me, I'd let him pass.
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  #14  
Old 09-15-2009, 08:20 AM
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The cost of cutting quality and increasing complexity

Having owned a 1956 Packard Executive, I owned the last Packard (excluding South Bend built Packabakers) model introduced. It was most certainly the end product of making the most complex product possible. It was a nightmare to keep working properly.

Up until 1954, the Packard straight eight was the most reliable US engine built. The bodies were well built by Budd.

In 1955, the company hit the perfect storm. Budd was bought by Chrysler and would not build bodies for Packard, so Packard built there own bodies with some difficulty and expensive design upgrades. Packard marketing decided that V-8's would sell better that straight eights, so a very problemsome V-8 replaced the the reliable straight 8. A change was made to a posi-trac rear end made by Dana-Spicer. These had a life span of about 10,000 miles due to improperly hardened parts.

Around this time Packard introduced power seats, power windows, power locks, a funky air conditioning system with the condensor in the truck and vents behind the rear seat, a search and seek radio from Delco, power brakes with the booster under the floorboard, a weird automatic transmission with two methods of operation and a pushbutton shifter. All of these things had problems. The torsion bar suspension with a self-leveler was great. It was later used by Rolls Royce.

The dramatic increase in problems experienced by buyers in 1955 killed Packard's reputation for quality and by June, 1956 it was merely a nameplate to put on Studebaker products.

A similar pattern can be found elsewhere. Mercedes has experienced this phenomenon. Read the posts from owners of 300D's with manual transmissions and those from owners of 1986 and later diesels. After being very reliable in the '80's, in the 90's, VW's became service nightmares. A mid '80's Subaru was an easily serviced indestructable mountain goat, by 1995, a Subaru was servicable only and often by dealer-trained midgets.

All of the companies who go for complexity lose market share and their reputations for quality.

If the Chinese are smart, their first cars into the US will be simple and user friendly. Henry Ford is still not a bad instructor about how to make money building cars.
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  #15  
Old 09-15-2009, 08:27 AM
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A friend of mine is the curator of the Auburn Cord Duesenburg Automobile Museum. Except for his 1998 Jag the other drivers at his house are Mercs. At the museum he talks Auburn Cord Duesenburg, but when you get him out of there his opinion is 'back in the day there was Packard and then there was everything else'. He used to be president of the USA Packard club. As far as he is concerned there have only been two automotive makes....Packard and Mercedes (and he owns a 1998 Jag and 1932 Roller).

BTW in my opinion one of the greatest pieces at the museum is a model J Duesenburg that has over 250,000 miles.

See
automobilemuseum.org

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