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Re: '66 Packard Model Car
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

This has been an interesting discussion to follow. AMC certainly had it's own share of troubles as the 1970's US auto market changed around it. I think a good case can be made that an AMC Packard would have added a much-needed cachet to AMC showrooms, although whether or not the existing AMC sales force would have been effective at moving them is another piece of the puzzle. Tooling costs need not have been astronomical, although to be fair they would have been significant and would have represented a higher proportional investment of ever-more-scarce AMC dollars versus the "deeper pockets" of the Big Three. I like the direction some of the "what if" proposals are taking, but in the end it still looks a bit too much like a tarted-up Ambassador . . . and how is that any better (or different) than the 1957-58 Packardbakers?

Food for thought: GM had no use for the Packard line, they had Cadillac. Ford likewise had the Lincoln, which in some instances over the 1950's and 1960's would have made a very nice Packard indeed, but I can't see Ford abandoning the Lincoln marque or worse yet, relegating it to yet another "in between" market niche a la Edsel. Now Chryslet, with it's on-again, off-again Imperial might have represented a happier home for Packard. For many years an Imperial was simply the fanciest Chrysler, and adding a top tier Packard above that could have worked. The obvious Exner connection has some appeal as well. Unfortunately, as the 1970's turned into the 1980's, Lee Iacocca may have had to kill it . . . Which is unfortunate, because if you are a student of Iacocca, it's exactly the kind of car he would have loved.

In the end, "saving" Packard was probably too tall an order for the state of the late 1950's US auto industry. They were all in the midst of compact car mania, Ford would soon be licking its post-Edsel wounds, Chrysler had quality issues to solve, and Studebaker had already made its decision regarding Packard. Which leaves, as you have all pointed out, AMC. Perhaps that would have been Packard's best shot, after all. I can say this without any doubt: It would most certainly have produced some extremely interesting automobiles!

Posted on: 2012/8/28 9:32

Re: Why no Packard in a "Packard"?
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

As I said, For an all-too-brief period, the entire archives of Studebaker-Packard were stored in a warehouse here in Syracuse, New York . . . as others have already pointed out, the entire collection was in fact donated to the Studebaker National Museum (and rightfully so) - I believe the actual date was around 1979 or 1980. At any rate, that's when a series of trucks began hauling it away. I do indeed count myself fortunate to have had access to the entire collection at all, although there's no way one person could have viewed every piece of paper and every photograph in the collection in one lifetime. There were a few surprises hidden in there - at least they were surprises to me. To the rest of you, probably not so much.

Posted on: 2012/8/16 14:06

Re: Why no Packard in a "Packard"?
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away

OK, I'm taking a leap of faith and making this my very first post since joining the site this week. I should start by saying that I am also "not an expert", but as a serious and long-time student of automotive history and being a particular fan of Packards, I have enjoyed this particular discussion immensely.

For an all-too-brief period, the entire archives of Studebaker-Packard were stored in a warehouse here in Syracuse, New York which was one of many such facilities owned by Syracuse University. Whether the material was donated or not and if so, by whom I do not know. But in any case, fortunate circumstances gave me access to the stacks of material while it was here.

You gentlemen all have some correct pieces of the puzzle. The move to Conner, the perceived profitability of continued auto production, even your discussions of some viable options all reflect actual corporate discussions contained in the archives. You guys know your Packards, what motivated the company, and when you ask, "What were they thinking?", you've pretty well answered that, too.

Obviously not everyone agrees on what could have been. The mixture of nostalgia, respect for the Packard marque, and the changing nature of the automobile industry tend to color our thinking. We tend to think more in terms of what we think SHOULD have been . . . But in the context of the late 1950's, Packard realistically had little or no chance. Business decisions were responsibly made, and a grand old marque died what most consider an ignoble death. That's pretty much it.

I am so glad to have found this site, with the wisdom and passion you all so obviously feel for Packards. I intend to eventually read every post in every thread, especially those involving "what if" discussions and/or proposals. So hello all. I'm already glad to know you.

Posted on: 2012/8/15 20:29

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