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August 19, 1958 – The last Packard
This Day

August 19, 1958 – The last Packard

On this day in 1958 the last vehicle to carry the Packard name rolled off the assembly line. After a 1956 merger with Studebaker, Packard struggled to maintain the exclusivity it once held in the American auto market. Other factors, such as a recession in the 1950s and heavy competition from GM, Ford and Chrysler, resulted in the make’s demise.  The last true Packard was produced in Detroit on June 25, 1956, prior to the merger. Following the deal Packards began to lose their styling and were essentially rebadged Studebakers. The brand, which was once the favorite of movie stars and millionaires throughout the country, was now just a cheap car with an even cheaper facelift. Many referred to them as “Packardbakers.” This 1958 Packard was recently for sale on Craigslist for $5,00...
June 25, 1956 – The last Packard leaves the Detroit plant
This Day

June 25, 1956 – The last Packard leaves the Detroit plant

The last true Packard rolled out of the Packard plant in Detroit on this day in 1956. The name lived for two more years on re-badged Studebakers built in Indiana. Packard is said to be born out of a feud that started in 1898 between James Ward Packard and Alexander Winton, the founder of Winton Automobiles. Packard had purchased a Winton, which was the largest automaker in the US at the time. Facing continuous problems with it, Packard began to offer numerous suggestions for improvements to Winton himself. In 1899, growing tired of Packard’s ideas, Winton exclaimed to him, “Well, if you are so smart, maybe you can build a better machine yourself!”  Packard accepted the challenge and went to work in his Warren, Ohio, workshop. By the next year, 1899, he had built his first vehicl...
June 20, 1903 – Tom Fetch begins SF to NYC trip in a Packard
This Day

June 20, 1903 – Tom Fetch begins SF to NYC trip in a Packard

When the automobile was in its infancy, car companies would go to great extremes to prove their worth. While most people were making their way west by horse and buggy, the young Packard Motor Car company decided to go east, from San Francisco to New York, in one of their fancy new automobiles. Packard investor Henry Joy dreamed up the journey, believing it would prove that American-made cars, specifically Packards, could “negotiate the all but impassible mountain and desert roads and trails of the Far West.”   Selected for the journey was a 1902 Packard Model F. It would be driven by Packard plant foreman and test driver Tom Fetch, who would be accompanied by The Automobile magazine editor Marius Krarup. Fetch made some modifications to the car to prepare it for a rough journey acr...
January 6, 1930 – The first diesel road trip
This Day

January 6, 1930 – The first diesel road trip

At 11 years old in 1930, the Cummins Engine Company faced a make or break situation. It was now or never to show the public that diesel motors were a viable option for passenger car travel if they intended to stay in business. To do so, founder Clessie Cummins concocted a marketing stunt that'd once and for all prove diesel engines could compete with gasoline motors in daily drivers. He installed one of his engines in a used Packard and prepped for the first long distance journey in a diesel powered automobile. With the eyes of journalists and the public upon him, he set off from Indianapolis, Indiana for New York City. The 792 mile trip came to a successful end on this day in 1930. Overall, the car used used about 30 gallons of diesel fuel at a cost of less than $1.38.  Above: The...
Cheap Classic: 1958 Packard Wagon – $5,000
Cheap Classic Cars

Cheap Classic: 1958 Packard Wagon – $5,000

Oh, Packard, what may have been? One can only imagine all of the faux wood trim and bulbous curves that has been missed out on since Packard's demise. Giving us a final glimpse of hope from the once great marque is this 1958 Packard Station Wagon. Being just one of 1-of-159 made in Packard's final year of production, the company didn't even bother coming up with a unique model name. Though rare, this formerly glamorous automobile may look familiar. After about a quarter century in storage, it came out of the collection of Ron Hackenberger, better known for his Studebakers. He sent it under the gavel, along with about 600 of his other vehicles, in 2018, selling it for $5,500. It's been floating around the web ever since in what seems to be a never ending cycle of for-salery. Currently ...
August 21, 1903 – “Thank God it’s over” – SF to NYC Packard Trip Ends
This Day

August 21, 1903 – “Thank God it’s over” – SF to NYC Packard Trip Ends

When the automobile was in its infancy, car companies would go to great extremes to prove their worth. While most people were making their way west by horse and buggy, the young Packard Motor Car company decided to go east, from San Francisco to New York, in one of their fancy new automobiles. Packard investor Henry Joy dreamed up the journey, believing it would prove that American-made cars, specifically Packards, could “negotiate the all but impassible mountain and desert roads and trails of the Far West.”   Selected for the journey was a 1902 Packard Model F. It would be driven by Packard plant foreman and test driver Tom Fetch, who would be accompanied by The Automobile magazine editor Marius Krarup. Fetch made some modifications to the car to prepare it for a rough j...

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