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Board index » All Posts (Lee)

Re: Packard Bikes
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With someone in this thread bringing up the subject of pedal cars and claiming Packard dealers were selling them or giving them away (neither claim has ever been proven in all these years) here is something to verify we know just a little bit about this subject too.

I mentioned that I have original images of pedal car design and development. Here is my friend, the late Viktor Schreckengost in a photo he sent to me many years ago.

In addition to being a top-notch designer, Vik was also a tremendously talented and famous sculpter. All of which naturally fit into doing sculptures of pedal cars in clay. Just like they did for future models of automobiles in Detroit.

Vik replaced Murray-Ohio's chief stylist, Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky for the 1939 model year. Packard automobile fans will note that Sakhnoffsky did extensive design and consulting work for Packard Motor Car Company (some of which is credited to "Le Baron"). The Count (yes, he was a real Russian count who survived the Czar purge and escaped to America) also designed Murray-Ohio "Mercury" bicycles and "Steelcraft" pedal cars. He did so from 1936 to the end of 1938.

Yours truly was the first to collect and restore both Sakhnoffsky and Schreckengost-designed "Mercury" bicycles and pedal cars. I began doing so in the 1960s and my authentically-restored 1938 Sakhnoffsky Mercury Deluxe (so-called "pod bike" today) was first shown in public at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Oakland Museum (California) in the 1980s.

Our Vik-designed 1939 "Mercury" bicycle is a near-mint original and first appeared at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Ours has also appeared at various prestigious museums and at our own exhibits at the early versions of the massive "Interbike" industry trade shows in Long Beach, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Here is Vik styling and sculpting a new Steelcraft pedal car. Steelcraft was a division and brand name of Murray-Ohio Manufacturing Company. M-O was an offshoot relative of the old Murray Auto Body Company that sometimes made bodies for Packard Motor Car Company. Of course, people today don't know all of these connections and the history.

"Mercury" bicycles and "Steelcraft" pedal cars years later became branded simply as "Murray."

Yours truly and National Bicycle History Archive of America (NBHAA.com) have saved the entire paper histories of Murray-Ohio including almost every catalogue from beginning to end of the company. And yours truly served as a historical consultant to the company.

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Posted on: Today 8:17

Re: Packard Bikes
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sterling wrote:
movie with Packard dealer selling bike to kids of dads that buy a Packard car.
funny wording inplying they sold it. and young one riding the best bike they said. (funny he was pushing bike on right side not riding it)i do not recall the movie as i was just looking at the cars in it. think late 1920s.
it was done in a way it looked like part of the movie but was a ad for Packard cars. it inplyed Packard was supplying them to dealers to sell. the bike in ad was one that looked more like a indain motorbike.(fenders 1/2 covered wheels) two lights and by shade it could be red or any dark color. it never said the name of the bike but with all the chrome and had everything you could get for a bike in 1928ish. it looked high $$$!
kid looked 12 to 15 in age.
seen it two times in my life and ads were left in it just like when seeing it in a movie house. maybe ad was in movie as man buying the Packard was star in movie. it was stars i have only seen in this movie.
i know this is not saying it was a Packard bike but dealers did sell bikes as this ad said so. and Packard was part of the bike. who made them for Packard to sell and what brand was it? was it just a couple years they did this or many years?
i was told by my dad that some dealers sold Packard peddle cars for younger kids. do not know if Packard was part of this or just dealers did this on there own?

Hello. Interesting and imaginative story. We would love to see this movie and perhaps add it to our collection of over 600 original vintage 16mm bicycle films (yes, we have a collection of them too). We have real original vintage bicycle films, not videos, so this is a field of great interest. Especially if there is a movie out there we don't know about with both Packards and bicycles in it! Bring it on!!!

I founded the Berkeley Bicycle Film Festival decades ago and I personally ran the Interbike Vintage Bicycle Movie Festival Theater that took place decades ago in both Long Beach, California And Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (see attached photo of 1994 poster). Today, Interbike is probably the nation's largest bicycle industry trade show. So what is the name of this great movie you refer to?

But please know that this is the umpteenth jillionth time someone has come up with stories like this. These stories have been going on for years and years. It would be nice if just once there was hard evidence included with the stories. I would love to see the movie.

It is very, very easy to prove the kind of thing you claim happened– not in movies or some family relative's memories, but in real life. Just come up with the movie, an ad, or a factory record, or sales program... anything that shows that real, genuine factory Packard Dealers officially sold Packard bicycles. Or even Packard pedal cars (by the way, there were a bunch of them! I once owned a very rare 1930s Packard pedal car that was big enough for four kids and was a dual-cowl phaeton!).

Packard salesmen couldn't sell things that were never in the dealer inventories or factory-authorized sales programs. Unless this was an enterprise of a single dealer. If PMCC was involved, why isn't any of this mentioned in the sales programs in factory dealer publications like Packard News?

We have been collecting on a massive scale since the 1950s. We have over 80,000 original vintage bicycle catalogues, periodicals, books and original photographs going back to the 1860s.

And we also have a huge amount of Packard literature and photos that I personally began collecting in the 1950s when they were still building Packard automobiles. This collection includes many dealer and factory publications. I grew up in Detroit and had relatives who worked for Packard. It is always possible that I've missed a gem like you describe, but where and what is it?

And yes, we have tons of pedal car literature, including from companies that manufactured little Packard pedal (not "peddle") cars. I personally knew people who designed them. I even have photos of pedal cars being developed in clay– just like real automobiles. We've owned a few pedal cars over the years. Surely this should be obvious.

But out of all this, not one shred of even a mention of a Packard dealer selling Packard bicycles or any bicycles or giving them away to sell cars. Or even Packard pedal cars. So? The answer is very simple: show the evidence. Here is anyone's golden opportunity.

As for Indian and Harley-Davidson bicycles... sorry, but none fit the description given here. But I can assure you, we have the world's largest collection of vintage original catalogues, photos and dealer paper on Indian and Harley bicycles too. Show us yours and we'll show you ours. Streamlined Indian bicycles with fenders that covered half the wheel? When? Sounds great, but they were not making such things. Certainly not in 1928 (or even "1928-ish"). I'm attaching the cover of the 1928 Indian Bicycle sales catalogue. It shows the most deluxe model they had that year. It is a typical 28-inch bicycle of the era.

And by the way, since chrome is mentioned in the description, be aware that chrome was just debuting in 1928... and the few bicycles that had it in that era were not of the streamlined variety. The streamlining theme described did not arrive until the 1930s.

I'm also attaching a photo of famous movie star Harold Lloyd (he did a lot of those daredevil scenes, hanging from buildings and flagpoles). Harold is riding his typical American-made 28-inch bicycle here in Palm Springs. His bicycle was brand-new at the time of this photo.

Also attaching a photo of one of our hundreds of original vintage 16mm films (real films, not DVDs) with bicycle themes. This one is from a 1953 network comedy TV show that starred famous Bob Cummings. Bob's big TV show series over the years were My Hero (this one), The Bob Cummings Show, and Love That Bob. Bob was also in the Harold Robbins fictional feature-length automotive movie, The Betsy. We have some of the actual parts from the Betsy and Bethlehem cars used in the movie.

It is always possible back in prewar America to find enterprising dealers who sold whatever it took to get human feet in the door and wallets opening. Some sold bubblegum. But this was NOT a factory-authorized, sponsored or official program having anything whatsoever to do with Packard Motor Car Company. At least not on a company-wide scale. We're not merely guessing on the bicycle stuff.

And just because a pedal car or a bicycle or an electric razor or a piano said Packard on it, didn't mean that Packard Motor Car Company was involved in the sales, marketing or manufacturing of said item.

For the original complete history I wrote on Packard bicycles years ago, please go back and read the article published in The Packard Cormorant magazine. The issue and details are listed earlier in this thread. Also, for answers to your other questions, please go back and read this thread from the beginning.

Thanks for the post.

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Posted on: 7/27 8:40

Re: Packard Bikes
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Okay. Let's crank up the "way-back machine" and travel back to 1897.

If you remember or know the origin of Packard Motor Cars (or if you never knew) it all started with the purchase of a Winton automobile. Winton cars were an offshoot of the Winton bicycle, which was rather well known by the late 1800s.

James Ward Packard stepped up and purchased one of the new-fangled Winton cars. Of course, Mr. Packard expected the car to... well... be a car. But the contraption broke down several times on the way back home from Cleveland to Warren, Ohio. Ultimately the sputtering, chattering, clunky Winton automobile ended up being hauled in behind a team of horses!

Mr. Packard was so upset that he went back to Alexander Winton to complain about the terribly unreliable car. Packard also suggested countermeasures to improve the Winton. But Mr. Winton had a nasty temper and instead argued back that if Mr. Packard was so smart, why not build a better car himself? We know the result of this challenge, don't we?

Anyway, thought that you might like to see the cover of a Winton Bicycle catalogue from 1897. Courtesy of National Bicycle History Archive of America (NBHAA.com). And thus the early bicycle genesis for the Packard automobile...

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Posted on: 7/23 9:23

Re: 1955 Caribbean top material
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Joe Santana wrote:
As a follow up to my post #5 of this thread, at the National Meet last weekend I saw the third Caribbean where the owner chose a colored inner ply to match the exterior accent color.


The 1956 Caribbean shown at Amelia Island this year also was done this way as well. I had several discussions with the trimmer who did it.

I also did this same kind of treatment with a 1956 Caribbean in the 1970s. It was done by my friends at Robbins Auto Top Company in Santa Monica, California (they no longer do retail customer work and have long since moved away).

Laminations fold less easily and are artificially thicker with the added issue of two different types of fabric "honeymooning" together but unmarried. Either can suddenly decide to go its own way and that's that.

I've got one word for convertible tops done this way: de-lamination. Not a matter of if. Just a matter of when.

Posted on: 7/14 10:37

Re: Packard Bikes
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Now... to the 1930s. I've told you several times during this thread about Packard bicycle ornaments. Here are more.

Packard-inspired bicycle ornaments of the Goddess type were much smaller than the automotive radiator counterparts. Yet these were quite popular for bicycles. As I've pointed out previously, the bicycle ornaments were often made by the same companies that made larger versions for cars (whether these were legitimate PMCC parts or not).

There were several versions of Packard-inspired bicycle ornaments by the early 1930s. Here are two more. One in the catalogue (below) was designed to attach to the handlebar stem binder bolt. You will notice the wheel and tire she holds have been a bit blurred (perhaps as a way to differentiate from the genuine PMCC car version). One could call this one "the donut smoosher" instead of "the donut chaser."

The second type came with a threaded base and was designed to attach to your bicycle's front fender (yes, you had to drill or punch a hole). Beautiful, huh?

Why are these rare today?
1.) They were made and sold during the depression when most people had no money for such frivolity.
2.) They were quite delicate and broke off easily.

Rare or not, both these and other similar ornaments turn up today at swap meets and on the internet with folks swearing they are Packard automobile parts. Not.

But we thought you might enjoy seeing them anyway and knowing what they really are!

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Posted on: 7/9 18:02

Re: An unusual and interesting "Packard"
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Ozstatman wrote:
Found THIS while googling for something else

Yessss! My good friend Geoff Hacker of Forgotten Fiberglass is a raconteur supreme on vintage fiberglass, mystery, one off and limited production automobiles. And if he doesn't have it in his expansive collection, he (or someone in his very knowledgeable circle of car fans) likely knows where it is! A very fascinating fellow indeed who often finds the un-findable. And knows the un-knowable.

By the way, Geoff owns a custom-built Monte Carlo Packard convertible that was built new and based on the fabulous Richard Arbib concept proposal of the same name.

Posted on: 7/1 13:06

Re: Mike P 1955 400 Slow Resto Thread!
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Packardfan wrote:
Hey guys thanks for all the feedback!

I have ordered a new sediment bowl set up from Kanter. The new one doesn't come with a ceramic bowl the guy said it has a paper filter. I still want a new bowl for my original. The guy from Kanter told me they sold just the bowl and seal in the past but didn't see it as a option anymore.

Leedy: There is a pic attached of the metal part. Thanks for all the in info.

That's Leeedy with 3 e's. You are very welcome.

As I indicated, and as I would have expected, you've got a Carter fuel line filter rather than AC. With the permanent ceramic fuel filter, there was no need to have a huge glass bowl.

Some of these even had small magnets in them (which trapped metal particles in the line). Your glass bowl would attach with flat straps rather than a bail wire clamp. Of course all the filtration ratio goes away with a paper filter. But, it is what it is today.

One thing is for certain: Packard knew what they were doing with these fuel systems.

Posted on: 7/1 12:41

Re: Mike P 1955 400 Slow Resto Thread!
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Packardfan wrote:
Hey guys when I took the carb off and dissasembled the glass bowl . The bowl just split into 2 pieces. Any recomendations of where I can get a new one?

Take a photo of the metal part (top) of the filter housing. Let's see what that is. The housing will say so. This glass bowl looks like the Carter type filter which had a small glass bowl and a wonderful permanent ceramic filter element (something that people today oddly want to throw away!).

When Carter filter housing gaskets began to leak with age, the tendency of most people was to ham-hand tighten up on the bowl tensioner. Never realizing that the glass can only take so much pressure stress (along with all of the massive temp changes and vibration). After a King-Kong tightening, the bowl often eventually does what glass clamped in metal does. It breaks.

AC fuel line filters had a deeper bowl, different element and different (bail wire) clamping system. The whole thing was bigger.

Check and see what your car has.

Although senior Packards of this period normally used Rochester carburetors (and Clippers used Carter) the filters were not the same as the carbs.

Get another filter assembly from Mike Dulinski or Kanter Brothers and be sure to replace the old gasket with a new one prior to fastening and tightening the glass bowl.

Posted on: 6/30 12:20

Re: Packard Bikes
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Let's move to 1944 and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. WWII was a big time for bicycle thefts. Bicycles were scarce because only two American companies were allowed by the war board to manufacture bicycles for most of the war. The rest were kept busy making armaments, war items, etc. AND... a buyer had to have a special federal government ration ticket. These ration tickets or cards affirmed the holder was either in the military or working in making defense materials, etc. So bicycles were difficult to obtain.

Federal wartime regulations on bicycles were so strict that pages of regulations were issued to bicycle dealers in early 1942. Among these was a rule that bicycles sold had to leave the dealership only via the front door of the building– so help me. And if you don't think this rule was seriously enforced, believe me, it was. In the 1980s I bought out an ancient bicycle shop in Missouri. This shop had been shut down during World War II for selling bicycles out of the back door! Yes. Even more amazing was the fact that most of the bicycles and parts in that store were still there! As if in one huge time capsule left over from the 1940s. nearly 1,000 vintage prewar bicycles and amazing piles of parts and literature. Items like new, unsold bicycles and wartime license plates made out of thick paper! And yes, there were several Packard bicycles, but no Packard automobiles!

Anyway, during the war a huge number of people relied on bicycles for daily transportation. Gas and cars were also rationed and car production halted in 1942. So you can see that bicycles were like gold at the time. This was nationwide. The Lancaster, PA police blotter said that bicycle thieves were busy stealing two-wheelers. And remember, this was in a time where thefts were nothing at all as common as today.

But there was one remarkable thing. Out of eight bicycles stolen (and still missing) in Lancaster, it seems the thieves had a preference for guess what? Three of eight bicycles stolen were all Packard brand. So the folks stealing bicycles apparently had a fondness for Packard bicycles!

Here's the proof from a Lancaster newspaper. And, as I've said so many, many times– no matter what you've been told elsewhere– NO Packard automobiles were involved. Nobody was giving these bicycles away to sell Packard automobiles.

(original 1944 newspaper clipping courtesy of NBHAA.com)

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Posted on: 6/27 21:28

Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
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su8overdrive wrote:
Had no idea the marketing behind this book, assumed the author had say over title.

Wasn't talking about "favorite" Packard(s), but wondering at the over-the-top title. If selling something strictly to the choir, quoting ad copy makes sense.

As for not wanting to see Packard compared, contrasted with other makes, well, that's the car business. No one lives in a vacuum, not even those suffering one marque-itis.

The engineers, designers at various automakers attended SAE meetings, dinners, were often friends, decisions to use Auto-Lite over Delco or Lockheed instead of Wagner often made on the golf course or at the Detroit Athletic Club as well as executive offices.

Packard might've aimed their 1955-56 400 at the Imperial, the same car as the New Yorker but for seven inches more wheelbase and stand up tail lights, but other Packard models certainly aimed at Windsor, Saratoga, New Yorker.

Not sure why I'm giving this a response but...

RE: the book title... Well. When one self-publishes, one usually has one's choice of deciding what title to use on the book one is publishing. This is normally the way it works.

RE: wasn't talking about favorite Packards... Doesn't matter. You weren't... but I am. Period.

RE: one-marque-itis... A vacuum huh? You are realllllllllllllly preaching to the very wrong guy. Nobody loves cars more than I do. ALL cars. I grew up in Detroit. I know plenty about other automobiles of the era. But I don't care one bit if the book we are discussing dredges up yet another comparison for endless silly arguing. If you crave that kind of thing, that's on you and you're welcome. Have at it. But me and one marque-itis? Please. I own and have owed everything from a Ferrari to FIATs to Pontiacs (a bunch)...Jaguars to Chevrolets... Fords to Lincolns (a bunch of them over many years)... Oldsmobiles (my favorites were Starfire convertibles–yes I have photos)... Corvettes (newest a C-6, oldest a 1958) to Cadillacs (fleets of them, including Eldorados, Biarritzes, I even still have my Italian-built Allante in mint condition). Mercedes (several over the years), BMW and more. Mazda Miatas to RX-7s. AND during my twenty years with one particular car corporation, I was allowed to (expected to) drive ANY car I wanted (whether they made it or not). So please.

RE: engineers at various companies attended SAE meetings, dinners, etc. etc. and the DAC.... Oh? Please again. I'm a longtime member (inactive) of SAE. And deals were made at the DAC... hmmm... yes. Well. Perhaps you missed the historical issue of the DAC magazine a few years ago when I was quoted? And... you can read more about auto deals made at the DAC in the book on Creative Industries of Detroit. Would you like me to give you the page numbers?

RE: that's the car business... Really??? Hmmmmmmm. Welll? I have worked at OEM-level positions with four major car manufacturers over a long career. I worked on the original Mustang. I worked in helping develop the Mazda Miata. I never missed a SEMA automotive week for most of the years I was in my career. And that's the business alright, even though the view expressed here is quite a bit simplistic. The business I retired from. I also wrote for car magazines for over 50 years.

RE: differences between Imperial (which at the time was a stand-alone "marque") and various/sundry Chryslers... You should know something. My grandfather started buying Imperials in the 1930s. He had bunches of them, all purchased NEW. It was his favorite automobile. He had a 1955 and 1956. NEW. And he bought them although I begged him to buy a Packard (which he could have easily afforded). My grandpa refused to buy a Packard because he thought they were going out of business one day. Chrysler Corporation would send a special salesman to my grandpa's office in Detroit. That salesman would drive us over to the dealership prior to when regular customers were allowed in. We got to see the new cars (the windows at the dealer were fogged up as they used to do) at advanced showings. Telling me about Imperials and Chryslers and all the differences is like introducing me to my parents.

So. This is all I have to say. Hopefully it has shed some light. But then again, maybe not. I detest internet arguing and silly bickering. So this will be my last comment on this topic. It stops here.

Posted on: 6/25 20:33

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