Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All

Posted by ECAnthony on 2022/6/25 10:12:43
The 1955 and 1956 Packards were pure-Packard-designed, -built, and -sold. Nothing to do with Studebakers at all. The 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawks would not have happened without Packard's purchase of Studebaker (it was not a merger).

Something else to consider are the 1956 "standard" Studebakers. Before Packard took over Studebaker, Raymond Loewy’s studio designed a very General Motors-like body for the proposed 1956 Studebakers. James Nance and his team “had soured on the Loewy studio’s daring and elegant 1953 models,” wrote historian Richard Langworth in 1992. “Harold Churchill [a Studebaker lifer, whom Nance named as general manager of the Studebaker division in August 1955] told Loewy designer Bob Bourke that, for 1956, ‘setting trends in the face of styling saturation established by GM, with its pronounced adherence to high, blunt hoods and straight fenders’ would be ‘a calculated risk.’” but Nance “was not sanguine about an expensive outsider like Loewy controlling so much of his styling. So, he told his own design chief, Bill Schmidt, to ask other stylists to submit ‘acceptable renderings.’” Vince Gardner, a freelance designer who worked in the past for Raymond Loewy, was hired (for just $7,500) to design the 1956 Studebaker sedans and wagons.

“As bodies go,” Langworth related in his article, “the Loewy sedan shell was still modern.” Gardner squared off the front and rear ends, and created sedans that fitted perfectly into the mid-1950s idiom. The interior design was headed by Studebaker’s Duncan McRae, head of the design team in South Bend, whose “cyclops-eye” speedometer dominated the instrument panel. If the 1956 Studebakers had a fault, Langworth wrote, it was that “the body looked a bit narrow, the ‘B’ pillars were too thick, and the lineup cried for a hardtop and four-door wagon.”

The 1957s and 1958 are a different story.

As Ross wrote about Dwight's book: "Expensive? You bet..." but worth it in my opinion. Your mileage may vary...

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