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June 25, 1956 – The last true Packard

The last true Packard rolled off the assembly line on this day in 1956, although the name would be used on re-badged Studebakers through 1958. Packard got its start in 1899 when William Packard built his first automobile in Warren, Ohio, which featured a single cylinder engine. In 1904 the Packard Motor Car Company gained fame when it released a four cylinder aluminum bodied speedster dubbed the Gray Wolf. It was one of the first cars designed for racing that was sold to the general public. By 1916 Packard had established itself as a premier luxury American automaker. It released a revolutionary V-12 engine that year called the Twin Six. That engine would be adapted for aircraft during WWI, called the Liberty Aircraft engine. It is often said to be the most important output of all of America’s war manufacturing effort.  Packard remained the top luxury automaker in the United States until Cadillac and its V-16 overtook the brand. The company stayed afloat by offering a more diverse lineup of luxury vehicles. In the 1950 sales began to fall and following a merger with Studebaker the board deemed the cars too expensive to build. Then president of the newly combined company James Nance made the decision to end production of Packards at the Detroit Packard plant in 1956. However, some executives saw value in the name and continued to use it on re-badged Studebakers in hopes of creating enough income to produce a brand new luxurious Packard. The plan failed and in 1958 the name saw its last days. Photos1916 Packard Twin Six 1-35 By Lars-Göran Lindgren Sweden – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,1956 Packard Clipper By Lars-Göran Lindgren Sweden – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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