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Board index » All Posts (Fyreline)




Re: Has anyone ever seen a 56 with predictor fins? pics inside.
#31
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I like it. If it's a factory modification, I've never seen any other photos of it. If it was done privately, it's a pretty neat job.

Posted on: 2013/11/14 17:02
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Re: Heidi Klum celebrates Halloween
#32
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I agree . . . Looks like a 1934-styled Packard replicar to me. Interesting that both Heidi Klum and the car are made up to look older than they really are. Ms. Klum's Halloween make-up is quite effective, done to show how she would look in extremely advanced years. I guess the moral of the story (if there is one) is that older cars tend to get better-looking as the decades pass, older people . . . Not so much!

Posted on: 2013/11/2 8:38
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Re: Studebaker / Packard Stock
#33
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And what's more, it's worth more than my actual share certificates from pre-bankruptcy General Motors . . . Quite literally not worth the paper they are printed on. Oh well, I have one that looks nice framed on the wall as artwork, alongside the one from Duesenberg.

Posted on: 2013/10/22 8:51
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Re: What SINGLE factor MOST contributed to the demise of Packard?
#34
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I guess I may as well chime in on this topic. Many good points have been presented here, and some good insight into the reasons behind some of the decisions that Packard management made over the years. The sad reality is that any independent automaker faced a significant uphill battle in the postwar era . . . As evidenced by their survival rate. In order to be successful and commercially viable, an independent has to offer "something different" than the Big 3. While we usually equate that to mean smaller, lighter, cheaper, or with more flamboyant style, there's no reason an independent couldn't offer a car a cut above the Cadillac, Lincoln or Imperial. Whether or not that strategy would (or even could) be a winner, Packard was certainly capable of doing so.

In retrospect, and in light of the 1957-58 Packardbakers (which were not intrinsically bad cars, just bad Packards), I'm sure most of us wish they had at least tried. You know, the old "Better to die with a bang than a whimper" thing . . . Which tends to ignore the fact that at the end if either choice, you're still dead. I guess we have to try and forgive Packard for not doing what we as enthusiasts would have liked them to do. I don't think they tried to "out-GM GM", I just don't think the post-war market was willing to support an additional luxury car choice. As postwar Buicks, Oldsmobiles and. Chryslers became more refined and featured Hydramatics and Hemi V-8s, those were the cars postwar buyers spent their dollars on. As Packard went through its downward spiral at the end, I'm not sure any scheme could have saved it. How and where in the postwar timeline that ignominious end could have been prevented makes for great discussion, and talk of villains and conspiracy theories makes for great drama but that's about all. If there had been a clear path to continued postwar Packard profitability, do we really think Packard would have chosen not to take it?

So, to answer the original question, what single factor most contributed to the demise of Packard? In my opinion, there is no one single factor. I feel that the answer lies in the actions of the major manufacturers in a changing postwar economy, and Packard's reactions to their actions. Not having a V-8 sooner was certainly a factor, quality issues and moving production facilities were certainly factors, Some questionable leadership moves certainly didn't help, but over their history GM, Chrysler and especially Ford had their own postwar leadership issues. There are a lot of little pieces to the postwar Packard puzzle (and a few larger ones), and they don't add up to a clear single cause you can point a finger at and say, "That killed Packard".

I guess some if the saddest words are always "It might have been . . ."

Posted on: 2013/10/21 8:45
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Re: Here's a barn find that's NOT a Packard...
#35
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I always (OK, usually) try to examine automotive styling trends in the context of their time . . . As a child of the 50s I remember many of the cars we now consider over styled, over-chromed and over-finned when they were new. My uncle had a new '58 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special in robin's egg blue with acres of stainless steel trim on the sides, and as over the top as that car was (and I thought it was the most beautiful car I'd ever seen, even better than his 1954 Buick Skylark that it replaced) the '59 Caddy that came out the next year made it look downright spartan. Again, taken in the context of the rock 'n roll, hey-a-nuclear-war-is-coming-anyway-so-who-cares 1950s, they weren't anywhere near as outrageous when they were new as they now appear. I agree that there were (are?) certain styling elements the Italians seemed to get right, but overall, their sense of proportion skewed away from larger cars after the war. Understandable, as no one in Europe could afford a large car even if European manufacturers had been making them, which very few were. Still, the need for postwar European auto manufacturers to export in order to survive - and that meant to the USA, where the money was - should probably have produced a few more exceptional large-car designs than it did. Even if it had, though, a country whose tastes in the 50's included such cars as the Edsel, Desoto and 1958-1960 Lincolns probably wouldn't have embraced a slick Italianate large sedan.

Too bad. A nicely Italian-styled mid-1950s Packard (or Pontiac, or Plymouth for that matter) would have been a tasty treat . . . But in the end, would in all likelihood have made little or no difference to either the Italian economy or the demise of Packard . . . Or Plymouth . . . Or Pontiac.

Posted on: 2013/10/9 22:05
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Re: Here's a barn find that's NOT a Packard...
#36
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While the 1948 Vignale Packard (on a prewar 120 chassis) is an attractive car, I think calling it very attractive may be a bit of a stretch. From certain angles it suffers a bit, but weighed against other contemporary 1948 designs it's OK. It was recently refinished from bright red to black, which actually helps a bit in my opinion. In any case, I believe the observation that exceptional postwar large-car Italian designs were few and far between is still valid. It's not that there were NONE . . . There just weren't many.

Posted on: 2013/10/9 14:34
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Re: Here's a barn find that's NOT a Packard...
#37
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Glad you added the qualifier "postwar" in there, which allows me to agree with you, Steve. Very nice prewar large cars of Italian design were not that uncommon, such as the lovely Lancia Astura and many larger Alfa Romeos. After the war, not so much. As you pointed out, the Dual-Ghias and Chrysler show cars were almost entirely American designs built in Italy.

And while I had not initially noticed the similarities between the barn-find Abarth car and the Darrin Packard design in Bev Kimes' book, it's definitely there. Interesting, but perhaps coincidental. Who knows?

Posted on: 2013/10/9 9:05
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Re: Unnecessary Improvement
#38
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One more "yes" vote. Sure, there will always be the purists who will decry any deviation from "The Packard as Packard built it", but unless you intend to submit your car for concours judging it just makes good sense to make it enjoyable to actually drive. I think most of us would draw the line at dropping in a Chevy small-block or fitting a Station Sedan with 22" chrome spoked wheels, but even those actions would be preferable to seeing a Packard neglected, junked and eventually crushed.

You have a Packard you drive and enjoy, and that entitles you to modify it as you see fit. Looks to me like you're doing it right.

Posted on: 2013/9/13 19:31
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Re: Packard wins Best of Show at Pebble Beach
#39
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I guess I'll have to be in the minority on this issue. While I certainly appreciate an original car (and we all know the mantra, "It's only original once"), I also appreciate expertly-restored full classics such as the Pebble Beach contestants are wont to be. I think of cars like this year's winning Packard, or the Duesenberg Twenty Grand. These vehicles are more art than automobile, and I cannot begrudge their being treated as such. Yes, they are destined to spend their lives in pampered (and largely sequestered) glory, and to many auto enthusiasts that's just wrong. After all, ships may be safest in port, but that's not what ships are for. These aficionados insist that cars must be driven, or they are nothing but giant model kits. Likewise, they should not be "over-restored", although there is plenty of room for disagreement on what constitutes crossing the line. Are the owners of these gilded-lily classics strictly in pursuit of trophies, to inflate their egos and perhaps enhance the value of their cars? Sure, some are . . . But I think it would be painting with much too broad a brush to accuse every owner of a 100-point car of somehow ruining the hobby. Perhaps that word bears repeating; HOBBY. At the Pebble Beach level of competition, is there.any real connection to the "old car hobby", or have these shows transcended the local "show and shine" competitions to the point where the fact that automobiles are even on display is secondary? If that's the case, leave the cars safely home in their hermetically sealed garages and just display your checkbooks. Let that decide the winner.

No, the owners of these regal cars want the cars to be SEEN. Seen, admired, coveted, lusted after. Perhaps their reasons for doing so are best left to the psychologists - but the fact that they DO show them enables mere mortals such as we to see them. And that's worth something, isn't it? The cars may be unrealistic representations of what they were when they were new. They are nicer, cleaner, neater, better finished . . . But are they better? I can see both sides of this issue, but the fact that a few folks with a LOT more money than I have, have chosen to spend it on cars such as these, at least means that I can see both sides of the cars, too. And the front. And the back. And the underside, and yes, you probably couldn't eat off of it from the factory in the 1930's.

But here it stands, in all it's glory. And for whatever reasons, phobias or manias brought it here . . . It sure is beautiful. Thank you for bringing it.

Posted on: 2013/8/20 16:59
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Re: More on the Facel-Packard . . .
#40
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Yes, I completely agree on the door flex issues - it would seem that some sort of fix could have been engineered. As for the 50's-style wraparound windshield, Facel Vega actually fixed that themselves in the later versions of the car (which Facel enthusiasts call "EX2" cars). The very small number of the EX2 cars built had modern-style windshields and were shorn of their tail fins. Gave the car quite a different look.

I suppose S-P could have just sold the car as a Facel Vega, but I have to think that Mercedes-Benz would not have been happy about that - and after all, they did have a marketing agreement in place with Studebaker-Packard . . . Which, let's face it, was actually just Studebaker at that point.

Packard was gone, and it wasn't coming back.

Posted on: 2013/6/17 20:49
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