Re: Packard Bikes

Posted by Leeedy On 2019/9/2 11:51:24
Another Packard bicycle ornament of the 1940s-50s. This one was made of pewter and looked quite nice when polished. While this cast ornament may appear rather crude by today's standards, it was quite popular with boys back when Packards were still being made. Boys in Detroit all called these ornaments "Packard birds."

Biggest hoard of these ever was at an old bicycle shop that once existed on Detroit's east side on Mack Avenue. It was known as Acme Bike Shop and was first run by a fellow named Mr. Jackson and later by a Mr. Rivers. The latter was a guy with an infectious smile and a gold tooth who happened to love Silver King aluminum bicycles (he called them "silva khangs") and Packard automobiles (he called them "Paack-kuds"). In addition to piles of Silver Kings he had saved, Mr. Rivers also had a respectable number of different Packard-branded bicycles tucked away, rusting in his basement (for all I know, they may still be there).

Rivers taught me a lot about vintage bicycles when I used to go to his shop in the 1950s. He also refurbished** old bicycles and sold them (not as "collector items" but simply as affordable used bicycles) -yes, in the 1950s and 1960s. He was way ahead of his time. It was because of him that I bought my first Packard bicycles (back then) and first Silver King bicycles (back then). Years later, I had a pile of both. So while many talk about vintage bicycles today on the internet and even TV, this is not at all a new thing for me. And for me, none of this was a ridiculous buy-low/sell-high thing as they depict it on TV today (who the heck was I going to sell any of this to back then when nobody cared?). While there were a few people collecting antique contraptions with big front wheels back then, there was no hobby of collecting and restoring what I called "classic" streamlined balloon tire bicycles. At least not until the 1970s when I invented it and wrote articles that appeared worldwide-such as in Popular Mechanics magazine. Today, everybody's an "expert" on classic bicycles-or so they will tell you.

I had collected perhaps 35 or 40 of these ornaments over many years, but they all disappeared in a robbery in 2002. I had them on most of my Packard bicycles back in the 1950s-1970s

There were three ways to mount these ornaments. They came with either a handlebar clamp mount or a handlebar stem mount (a flat piece of bright metal with a hole at each end). OR you had the option of drilling a hole in the bicycle front fender and mounting it there. All of these ornaments came with a threaded base with washer and nut. Size of ornament in this image is very close to actual size.

(** In today's era where people think "restored" for a car means a shiny paint job, set of modern alloy wheels and a Chevy krate engine, I say "refurbished"-as people used to say when terms had meaning beyond being mere buzz-words. Mr. Rivers sometimes did paint jobs and pinstriping, but he never intended anyone to think his paint jobs were exactly as the bicycle had when new. They were reburbish jobs... meaning Mr. Rivers either cleaned up or repainted to make the bicycle presentable to sell-not as a "collector item" but merely as a used, affordable bicycle. But he did not do actual "restorations." )

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