Re: Packard Bikes

Posted by Leeedy On 2019/12/25 22:34:20
And... another Packard and bicycle connection. This one is genuine. And yet another official Packard accessory that often ended up on bicycles in the 1950s and even beyond.

With the debut of the 1953 Caribbean and new chrome wire wheels by Motor Wheel Corporation, Packard dealers began selling a new accessory. While originally intended as the red hexagon for wire wheels (and a side visibility safety item for night driving), red stick-on reflective hexagons made of 3M Scotchlite became an accessory. You can see an original dealership point-of-purchase display stand for these Scotchlite hexagons pictured in the Nat Dawes postwar Packard book, "The Packard 1942-1962" (page 88). The idea was to upgrade your red hexagons to be reflectorized in car headlights at night. Pretty far ahead for the 1950s. Or to repair/replace your existing Scotchlite hexes.

So in case you did not know (and most don't) 1950s Packard wire wheel center caps (including 1953 and 1954 Caribbeans and any 1955 and 1956 ordered with wire wheels) were originally equipped with Scotchlite reflective red hexagons and not red paint. If you look closely even at black & white photos taken at the time, the hexes often appeared to be bright white-because they were glowing in the camera light).

Yesssss, it's true. All those repopped wire wheel sets running around all over the place today are missing the original reflectorized red hexagons.

Of course these Scotchlite hexagons quickly began appearing for sale in bicycle shops and were a very popular bicycle accessory in and around Detroit in the 1950s-as well as around the USA. Yes, I even had some on one of my bicycles back then!

(Sorry about the "hexagonal hexagons" in the photo caption, but once the photo watermark was saved-it was saved with the poor wording!)

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