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Re: 1937 Ad
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Thanks for the above. After the stock market crash in Packard's most profitable year ever, the government introduced the protective Hawley-Smoot Tariff in June, 1930. To counter, Canada's new conservative regime increased tariffs to 30% on imported cars costing up to $2,100, and a whopping 40% on luxe cars above that. Having a base price of $2,375, this hurt Packard.

The Canadian government offered some relief to US automakers willing to open branch assembly plants in Canada. Because Packard and Pierce-Arrow both had traditionally good markets in Canada, they crossed the Detroit River to open plants in Windsor, Ontario.

Before the end of 1931, Packard assembled 500 cars in a pair of remodeled buildings on Church and Chatham Streets, L.L. Roberts, from Packard's Detroit operation, becoming GM.

In 1932, expanding production necessitated a move to larger quarters, the Fisher Body Building on St. Luke Road. Production there reached a high in 1937, 2,556 cars. After 1935, the plant turned out only One Twenties and sixes.

War clouds slowed output 'til a final 1,425 cars for 1939. In 1936, Canadian tariffs returned to a healthier 17 1/2%, so with nearly break even volume, Packard opted to export than build, and closed the plant.

Tho' Packard was listed 1931-39 with the Canadian Manufacturers Association, the Company's focus was still their Ontario Bay Street distributorship because Packard "only put the wheels on in Windsor."

The '30s weren't Packard's first Canadian operation. In 1900, a decade after the brothers launched Packard Electric Company, Warren, Ohio, they opened Packard Electric Co. Ltd. in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The automobiles produced in Packard Electric Co. Ltd.'s "Motor Car Department" weren't Packards, but Oldsmobiles. The Olds Motor Works, Lansing, Michigan, contracted Packard to build its 1905-07 models under license. The name plates read Oldsmobile, but the vehicle plates "Made by Packard."

-- from Packard, the Complete Story, printings 1985, 1987

Posted on: 3/17 19:04

Re: Comparing Packards
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Wat's right. Calling their new style other than Packard relegated the Clipper to a lark, a foray, which of course it was, new products often launched midyear when used car inventories at their lowest, as did Ford their re-skinned Falcon in 1964 1/2, despite both turning out bellringers.

Italian motoring journalist Enrica Aceti and English author Kevin Brazendale in their comprehensive tome, Classic Cars: "Fifty Years of the World's Finest Automotive Design: "Packard introduced a very handsome new body for its Clipper model, unveiled in March 1941" (debuted March 4th, on sale next month) "on a 127-inch wheelbase as competitor to Cadillac in the upper-medium-price class. Its tapering forms were subtle and delicate, flowing back from a high, narrow grille. This was the style with which Packard resumed production after World War II, with both six and eight-cylinder engines."

So while understandably giving the new styling a subname, this also suggests a sub line. Wat's right. Simply calling the new aerodynamic, "Wind-Stream," "Speed-Stream" version Packard would've given them more cachet out of the gate.

But such daring the conservative firm lacked, continued by the increasing clout of the former GMers among Company management. George Christopher was a myopic GM B-O-P production man bereft of marketing savvy. Packard's insular chairman, Alvan Macauley, earlier GM of Burroughs Adding Machine Company, before that with National Cash Register Company, rubber-stamped Christopher.

From the late '30s, certainly 1940-on, Packard advertising increasingly shrill, a Deanna Durbin/Mickey Rooney "Hey kids, let's put on a show in the barn" against Buick's light-hearted Constance Bennett/Cary Grant confidence and Cadillac's posh tone. Whether invoking Clipper ships or the new trans-Pacific flying boats, the new name too close to "Joltin' Joe Dimaggio," for upscale buyers not glued to pop culture.

There'd been a 1939 Chevrolet "Royal Clipper," and a '40 Chevy Deluxe Sport Royal Clipper/Special Deluxe "with Royal Clipper styling."

Packard said it all. The new subname only opened the door to all 1948-on product reminding people they were no longer getting the real thing. It was already telling that both the cutthroat-priced, Pontiac-bodied 1941 Cadillacs and '41 traditional bodied Packards shared the same silly front and rear fender "speed strips." The clean limbed Clipper avoided such nonsense, all the more meriting the stand alone, august name, Packard.

Silver Dawn, Silver Cloud, Silver Shadow harked to the early years of the Silver Ghost. Clipper had no such Company connection. Postwar Crewe product also lesser cars by a concern more focused on aero engines, but at least retained genteel advertising.

Again, it'd been a long time since Peter Helck's sublime 1933 "Hush!"

Posted on: 3/17 0:20

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Brillman in Virginia has precisely what you want. Tell John Fred Hill and Mike Scott in Lafayette and Walnut Creek, CA, among many others, referred you. John can supply whatever you require, or make up a complete set using tinned solid copper 7mm Packard 440 (AC Delco) Spark Plug Wire.

Yes, that Packard, GM buying Packard Electric, Warren, OH in 1932.
Prompt shipping, reasonable prices. I also got Raja terminals for a pittance:

John knows Packards:

The Brillman Company
2328 Pepper Rd.
Mt. Jackson, VA 22842-2445

Toll free: 888-274-5562
Phone: 540-477-4112
Fax: 540-477-2980

But for a complete wiring harness, Joe above's right. I used one from Harnesses Unlimited in my '40 One-Twenty, and Potomac Packard in my '47 Super Clipper. Both firms provided equal quality. But imagine prices have gone up since 1974 and 1987.

Posted on: 3/16 23:42

Re: Comparing Packards
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Had war not intervened, the '41 Clipper, despite not introduced 'til midyear, in April, would've far outsold the less expensive One-Twenty, 16,600 Clippers sold in five months vs. 17,100 One-Twenties over 12 months.

Traditionally styled '41 Packards looked shopworn, their sales down 24% while Buick and Cadillac up an accordant amount, Dutch Darrin recalling the preceding year, "Packard was so afraid of GM they couldn't see straight." The Clipper used some of the new GM C-body cues.

The tubs may've echoed a look shared with others at the time, but they received at best mixed reviews, hardly a hit. Consumer Reports chided "Packard, having dropped its distinctive hood design some time ago, has now simplified forms throughout to the point where its body could easily be cast in rasberry Jello."

Selling chiefly Oldsmobile/Buick-priced product in a sellers' market while bleeding your name white does not make your cars hits. The '51-on Packards were not universally admired, again, mostly Olds/Buick-priced fare. Packard was now selling to middle-class, mid-America folk who could now own a "Packard," while Cadillac owned the coasts and much between, industry polls showing Chrysler popular with educated professionals; engineers, scientists, professors, editors. Chryslers had better breathing, shocks, brakes amd quicker steering than Cad, Packard and the others; 16.2:1 steering gear vs. Cad's clumsy 25.5:1.

John Reinhart, stylist of the '51 Packard, lamented the "high pockets" look, the result of ex-GM production men running Packard penny-pinching, steel being cheaper than glass. Reinhart and company were told to use the roof and cowl heights of a Chevy-bodied '49 Olds as their guide.

I long ago had a 48,414-mile, sound '51 Packard owned by an older woman in Hawthorne, CA. All you had to do was crawl under, compare how the bumpers were attached with an Oldsmobile's nicer Fisher body, or examine a finely wrought Hudson Hornet. The Packard's sole qualities ergonomics and smoothness, Consumer Reports deriding the it-crawled-from-the-sea grille shared with much of Detroit: "....the largest and probably the homeliest grille die casting in the industry."

You don't have hits following the leader. Packard was a leader their first four decades. Not after.
Doesn't make them bad cars, just not hits.

Middle-of-the-road competency through the end in 1956 does not make a car "a hit," despite buff adherents 70 years later.

We like what we like, but that does not render such hits in the day. As Tim Cole reminds, 1929 was Packard's most profitable year. The former Hudson and cash register execs guiding Packard through the teens into the '30s ensured Packard's durable engineering refinement delivered via smart tooling, returning hefty profit margins, Packard's chiseled styling allowing them to own the tiny slivver of the car biz that was the fine car market (above $2,000 FOB) through '36.

The One-Twenty, enabled by recruited GM big B-O-Pers, was a hit by dint of low price--even Chevrolet's sales manager Bill Packer brought onboard to teach Packard dealers how to sell to the middle-class on credit. The One-Twenty was not only a hit, but became the basis of all Packards 1939-on save the 446 leftover Twelves. 1937 was a big year only because Packard unleashed a six for the price of a bottom-rung Buick, Olds, Chrysler six. 1940 was a good year thanks to cost-cutting, quality down a notch from '39, lower-than-ever prices, but the '40 side louvers were cribbed from the '38 Buick which had ended Packard's three consecutive wins of the annual Gallup Poll's Most Beautiful Car.

If not for Pearl Harbor, largely Clipperized 1942 would've been Packard's biggest year.

Rolls-Royce's postwar, downmarket, assembled fare, Silver Dawns/Bentley Mark VIs & R-types with GM components, bodies by Pressed Steel, who supplied much of England's motor industry as Briggs did Chrysler, Ford, Packard, were not hits, but like many postwar Packards, have their fans.

We're here to share info to enjoy what we have, keep them running. Terming everything someone likes "a hit" serves historic accuracy no better than deeming everything out of Kelley Blue Book a "classic."

Posted on: 3/14 1:33

Re: Comparing Packards
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As always, HH56 accurately sums it. The Clipper's lowered floorpan left no room for Safe-T-Flex's long torque arms, same reason the 1956-on Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud/Bentley S-series also went to a GM-type i.f.s., despite previous Crewe products using a nut for bolt copy of Safe-T-Flex, as did, at the rear, the postwar Lagonda.

The traditional, old-bodied Packards did have a fifth rear shock to control lateral side sway, while the Clipper version the Monroe horizontal bar and shock are one and the same.

The traditional bodied Packards, like yours, have better ergonomics, IMHO, but streamlining was everything in the industry, and men suffer for fashion as much as the distaff.

Ironically, the Clipper, Packard's last ever hit with the public--not one-marque-itis buffs half a century and more later -- was harbinger of the end, since the Company outsourced bodies to Briggs. Of course, R-R/Bentley offered downmarket, assembled product after the war with bodies provided by Pressed Steel of Cowley near Oxford, who also supplied much of the Sceptered Isle motor industry, even as Briggs bodied Chryslers and Fords.

However, Crewe, despite disassembling a new Buick Limited annually in the years just before War II to glean the latest Detroit production tips, was not being run by former GM production men, and remembered how to market upscale.

Posted on: 3/13 1:05

Re: Great 1930's video
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Thanks for posting this typical afternoon from before War II took the world's remaining innocence. As many senior Packards as 120s, both seemingly on every block, and more Buicks than '37 Chevies. Only on the upper East Side.

The beautiful gray African gneiss and schist in the walls, bridges of Central Park, Yonkers, Westchester reminds you we were once the same continent. Now the Atlantic is shrinking.

National Geographic reports NYC has the worst rat infestation of any city on earth. Caramba.

Posted on: 3/9 21:09

Re: The Packard Room....
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Faith and begorrah, 'tis an eminently suitable establishment in which to hoist a Guinness or "Irish Car Bomb," for those so inclined; an Emerald Isle Mocktail for them what do not imbibe spirits, but on occasion suffer no more'n 15% in their tank.

I thought the Packard Room looked a mite glaring for a pub.
So you were down the street at the O'Packard Tarvern & Public House.

Posted on: 3/3 22:26

Re: tightening torque head screws/1937er
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Good advice from all, and imagine being in Germany, you require antifreeze. But never use distilled water, which is ion hungry, leaching minerals; lead, tin, solder among them, from your cooling system. Mercedes issued an adviso about this back in 1989.

Reverse osmosis water the way to go. See the tech link on

If you want to split micro hairs, Red Line Water Wetter incrementally better for systems with aluminum, No-Rosion for all iron systems.

Posted on: 2/27 19:11

Re: 1934 Packard Twelve 1107 battery
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That's the thing, weight adds up. 30 lbs. here, 30 lbs. there, pretty soon you're up to 100 lbs. jettisoned. Then 200 lbs. Losing weight an art, same as increasing torque/hp. Less is more.

Crying shame what was left of Packard in the '50s could do no better than glomming 200 lbs. more "sporty" cues on an otherwise stock convertible, the "Caribbean" aping dreck like the Olds Fiesta, Buick Skylark, Cadillac Eldorado instead of meeting or exceeding the Bentley Continental, considering Packard's earlier '34 Model 1106 LeBaron sport coupe.

Optimas have indeed gotten expensive, but again, a minimum of a decade vs. likely less, tho' obviously, some traditional batteries can go seven, eight, even on rare occasion, ten years.

A 6-volt Optima Red Top's 800 cold cranking amps enough to spin my 356's gear reduction starter, handily start a Cad V-16. My Cord friends like them because low voltage means no shift.

Am not affiliated with Optima or any other product mentioned, but figure the more business we steer them, the better pricing for us all. Usually.

Sounds like you got a good battery, regardless.

Posted on: 2/27 19:04

Re: 1934 Packard Twelve 1107 battery
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Monsignor Shields, just ordered one direct from Optima, arrived in a couple days. Last one went a decade.

I know of a Cadillac V-16 that does just fine on a single 6-volt Optima. If the heavy lead acid battery's additional 175 CCA makes you feel better, mighty fine.
I'd rather adhere to "weight is the enemy" for any serious road car.

If trophy quest foremost, again, Jim's Battery Manufacturing, Youngstown, Ohio (800) 426-7580 can furnish appropriate fakey do battery cover that will placate any judge.

Posted on: 2/24 17:51

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