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Packard was an American luxury automobile marque built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana. The first Packard automobiles were produced in 1899, and the last in 1958.

Entering the 1930s, Packard attempted to beat the stock market crash and subsequent Great Depression by manufacturing ever more opulent and expensive cars than it had prior to October 1929. While the Eight five-seater sedan had been the company's top-seller for years, the Twin Six, designed by Vincent, was introduced for 1932, with prices starting at $3,650 at the factory gate; in 1933, it would be renamed the Packard Twelve, a name it retained for the remainder of its run (through 1939).

Also in 1931, Packard pioneered a system it called Ride Control, which made the hydraulic shock absorbers adjustable from within the car. For one year only, 1932, Packard fielded an upper-medium-priced car, the Light Eight.

Packard had one advantage that some other luxury automakers did not: a single production line. By maintaining a single line and interchangeability between models, Packard was able to keep its costs down.

Packard did not change cars as often as other manufacturers did at the time. Rather than introducing new models annually, Packard began using its own "Series" formula for differentiating its model changeovers in 1923. SEE PACKARD ENGINE HERE

To address the Depression, Packard started producing more affordable cars in the medium-price range. In 1935, the company introduced its first sub-$1,000 car, the 120. Sales more than tripled that year and doubled again in 1936. In order to produce the 120, Packard built and equipped an entirely separate factory.

The early 1930's were devastating for many marques and for Packard it was no different. The onset of the Great Depression meant that many manufacturers were left with few buyers and as a result many went out of business. 

The cars that Packard produced were positioned for the high to upper class who could afford these beautiful but expensive creations. During the 1920's the company prospered but as the 1930's came into sight, the sales began to decline.

The 2013 Best In Show winner here at Pebble is the 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini of West Orange, NJ. We'll give you a second to memorize that name.

At the start of the Classic era, Packard was among the leading luxury marque. This all changed during the early years of the Great Depression, when Packard sales began to drastically decline. In 1930, the first year of the Depression, Packard sold just 28,386 cars. 

This was down dramatically from 1929. By this time Packard was one of the oldest car companies in America, with the first Packard built in 1899. The company was founded as the Ohio Automobile Company in Warren, Ohio. It became the Packard Motor Car Company in 1902 and moved to Detroit in 1903.

The car above was found in a salvage yard in 1954 and sat outside a barn until 1995. The current owner purchased the car in 1996 and began an extensive restoration. The restoration was completed in 1998 after 6,600 man-hours of labor.

1 comment:

  1. The Packard plan still sits there in abandoned Detroit


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