Re: Update on Atomic Museum car

Posted by Daniel Leininger on 2009/6/19 23:08:53
Hello Again! The Atomic Packard is in the Packard News again so I revived this old thread.

The Atomic Packard is mentioned briefly in the current issue of The Packard Cormorant. The featured article is "The Packard Airport Limousine" by Ken Chapman (Summer 2009, No. 135, Pages 8-17). The whole issue focuses on "Professional Packards." Posts on this thread have already talked about the Atomic Packard from Los Alamos (one of the 'secret cities') of the Manhattan Project. Here is a lengthy paragraph from page 14 that puts the car's custom-build and purpose in the larger context of several national laboratories in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford, Washington; and Los Alamos. It also clarifies some to the questions posed in the previous discussions:

"In mid-1942, the US Army contracted with Fitz John Coach of Michigan to take 100 Packard Clipper Sixes from government stockpiled reserves and convert them into economy-style eight door stretch "Civilian stretch transports." These were to be similar to pre-war conversions that FitzJohn had built largely on GM Chassis. The war-era conversion had been done with what was available, including wood parts except for the metal frame extension. This would prove to be the largest single group of any type APLs [Airport Limousines] built. There is evidence that FitzJohn later converted some government Chevrolets into APLs in 1943. Some saw service in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and likely in diverse places such as Hanford, Washington, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where large government projects (related to the Manhattan Project) were set up in unimproved wilderness areas, which became new cities. This is not to be confused with several large direct-to-Packard military orders for 1941 and 1942 Packards for staff, general use vehicles and a number of Henney ambulances and hearses. These Packards included all types of models, many being non-Clipper One Twenties and Super-8s for the Army and Navy. Some Clippers were included and found service as staff cars for the most famous military leaders of the war."[/font][/i][/color]

If I understand the Production Roster chart on page 16, it appears that only 2 APLs survive from the approximately 167 produced from 1937 to 1946. The Atomic Packard and Ken Chapman's 1942 Packard Henney Super-8 are all that remain. SO That is today' Packard history lesson. Thanks for reading. The Cormorant issue is a real keeper for Professional Packard info.

Dan'L

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