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Re: 1940 Packard 180 petronix
#11
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Wat_Tyler
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Yeah, and sometimes learning stuff in one's own manner (or thread) makes it penetrate better.


Jim doesn't answer the phone. It rings to some lame message.


My car is lightening, one piece at a time.

Posted on: 5/10 17:47
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Re: 1940 Packard 180 petronix
#12
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su8overdrive
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It's heartbreaking what happened to Packard, drunk with profits after War II, one of two automakers in that situation, GM suing the US govt. for Allied bombing damage to their German Opel plants.

First, Packard spends as much as an entirely new body ---wholly unnecessary given that Rolls-Royce/Bentley could do no better than crib the Clipper razor-edged with the dubious achievement of curved, one-piece windshield in Autumn, 1955 -- to clob 200 lbs. of bloat on the Clipper for what Consumer Reports well summed, "....Rasberry jello molds."

At the same time as this waste, Packard spends money on two new versions of the '35 120 engine while Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Chrysler, even Studebaker are about to unveil or working on new ohv V-8s.

Then, Packard dumps torrents more producing, essentially, a Dynaflow with lock up torque convertor.

Next, they produce for 1951-on their iteration of the shoebox Ford, Packard's stylists ordered by the ex-GMers running the show to use a Chevy-based '49 Olds' roof and cowl heights as their guide, the "high pockets" result because steel cheaper than glass lamented by John Reinhart and others.

This underscores that after the war, Packard increasingly "phoning in" the cars, more so every year, since their lucrative jet/govt. work far more lucrative and less hassle, until Ike's defense sec Cast Iron Charlie Wilson steered that work to his GM pals.

Because the Packard of yore, the Packard that through 1936 cornered 42% of all fine car (above $2,000 FOB) biz, the Packard of the '34 LeBaron 1106 sport coupe, itself akin to Mercedes'34 500K Autobahn Courier, would've matched or eclipsed Bentley's 1952 Continental, not aped dreck like the Olds Fiesta, Buick Skylark, Cadillac Eldorado with the Caribbean, a stock convertible laden with another 200 lbs. of "sporty" cues.

We get it. Some people will always salute everything with a Packard (or Cadillac, Roll-Royce, Ford, Borgward, etc.) badge. I owned a '51 Packard, a strong running example. Good ergonomics, but a concurrent Olds or my old mechanic's Hudson Hornet had better body quality, much as i might've liked a Mayfair coupe with stick and overdrive.

My '40 120 was a terrific car, Consumer Reports' Best Buy in its class as such were every year 1938-47. But its sales success simply because Packard cheapened the '40s over '39 and considerably cut prices, underscoring Dutch Darrin's "Packard was so afraid of GM they couldn't see straight."

Anyone who thinks a '50s Packard a better car than a concurrent Chrysler New Yorker is imbibing too much klubbie kool aid, "one marque-itis," as Special Interest Autos' editor Dave Brownell, himself a Packard fan, well summed it.

When we rave and repeat buff book paeans to everything with a given label, we lose credibility. The Packard Twin Six was a step down, to many, from the big Six of 1912-15. The Packard Twelve 1932-39 was originally intended as a front-wheel-drive upper echelon Buick beater, n o t to replace the 384-ci Custom Eight as topline.

Packard had a terrific blend of thorough engineering, build quality, smoothness, and thanks to German born Werner Gubitz, an understated, chiseled style through the '30s; crisper, more worldly, more sophisticated than Cad, Lincoln KB and K, Pierce, anyone; the reason Packard the whelming choice of the world's embassies into the '40s.

But if we're to split hairs, engine to engine, i'd take a Pierce 384 eight over Packard's 384, and a Pierce V-12 over Packard's, the latter akin to the Auburn Lycoming V-12, itself a terrific engine, American LaFrance boring it half an inch to 527 ci through 1970, the same valve layout as Packard, at 391 ci, a little larger than Packard's initial FWD V-12's 376 cubic inches. The seven-main-bearinged Pierce V-12 was designed from the outset for a vast luxe barouche, leaving Seagraves nothing to do beyond a quarter inch bore to 530-ci, and twin ignition, mandatory in emergency equipment.

The Pierce 8 & 12 had a P-A patent, the hydraulic valve lifter, while Packard's Twelve licensed GM's fiendishly complicated valve silencers.

Maurice Hendry thought the Pierce 8 sufficient, more sense than the 12. Some think the Packard 8 plenty enough over the Twelve.

People also forget that from the early teens on, until the GM cost engineers recruited in 1933/34 for the 120 project, Packard was guided by ex-Burroughs cash register and Hudson men, and sold throughout the 1920s, their heyday, five or six Sixes to every Eight, not dropping the six until LaSalle's smart new 303-ci V-8 forced them to.

From then on, Packard because a GM follower, not leader, 1929 their most profitable year ever, as Tim Cole reminds us.

I like my '47 Super Clipper, but a junior the same year a smarter automobile. Our bodies not quite as nice as Fisher's, on par with postwar R-R/Bentley's Pressed Steel, akin to an English Briggs, supplying much of the Sceptered Isle auto industry. My car's a Buick Roadmaster according to Packard, albeit all Packards, junior and senior, had the best chassis in the industry on either side of the Atlantic or Channel through the '40s.

But Buick got in trouble for upstaging Cadillac in '41, and R-R was annually disassembling a new Limited in the years before the war to glean the latest Detroit production tips.

The point of this rantaganza, in no small part because overpopulation prevents many of us from enjoying our Packards, somehow "political" and off limits, is that we've today people owning Packards who shouldn't own them, witness two-toned 1935-40 models, circus wagon colors at that, all this cowboy crapola like front disc brake conversions, Pertronix ignition, edging even serious devotees of the real thing to retro rodism simply as it's increasingly difficult to find competent mechanics.

Posted on: 5/10 19:02
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Re: 1940 Packard 180 petronix
#13
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Wat_Tyler
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Christopher was/is an example of the Peter Principle.


Nance really tried.

Posted on: 5/10 19:09
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Re: 1940 Packard 180 petronix
#14
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MJG
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Quote:

Wat_Tyler wrote:
Christopher was/is an example of the Peter Principle.


Nance really tried.


I don't know if that was the case with Christopher. I remember reading he saved Harlow Curtice's butt while at Buick. He did save Packard with the junior line. Perhaps just the wrong man for the job postwar.

Posted on: 5/10 19:28
1948 Custom Eight Victoria Convertible
Others:
1941 Cadillac Series 62 Deluxe Convertible Coupe
1956 Oldsmobile 88 Sedan
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Re: 1940 Packard 180 petronix
#15
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su8overdrive
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Good points, both. Re: Christopher, seemingly a decent gent, but when your first order of business is casting about for your own replacement, perhaps you're out of your league. Nance had good intentions, but he was first a money man, more attuned to push button kitchens.

Only wanted to give an overview, perspective of Packard going back to their earlier, happier years. I'll leave the postmortems and Monday morning quarterbacking to others.

On balance, i liked, like all three of my Packards, and various of my friends over these many decades. My '40 120 was wonderful. When i told Bob Turnquist early on (1974) that i was rebuilding one, he exclaimed "they climb hills like a goat." It felt like a poetic meld of early MG and pick up truck, albeit silken. Once 22.5 mpg, most of that at 60-65 mph running Denman bias plies. Had i painted it Blackhawk Gray luminescent instead of Packard Blue, mighta kept it longer than nine years.

My '51 200 was a 48,414-mile little old Scotswoman's from Hawthorne (not Pasadena...) local ride. Good road car, but kept wishing it'd shift again (3.9 axle, they changed later in the year to 3.54). Ultramatic understandable because Packard's byword was always smoothness, but HydraMatic was sufficient for Hudson, Lincoln and from '52 on, Rolls-Royce & Bentley.
Mechanix Illustrated's Uncle Tom McCahill preferred it over the '51 400, but the 200's interior was chintzy drab more than understated. Was it Bob Lutz who suggested it smarter and not costing that much more to put your best upholstery in all your lines?

Packards spoil us for other rides.
We had a wonderful thread here on Kevin's splendid PI several years ago as to what we'd have if we weren't owned by our Packards.

For me, some 1938, '40, '42 Centuries/Roadmasters but too many caveats.
No LHD Railton 8s, only a few of the last had overdrive, lovely illustrations aside, most saloons looked like ordnance vehicles. And Jag ue were Mark VII saloons, lovely, the cars the XK engine designed for remember, but replacing the clutch a j o b and a half, adjusting the valves means shims, an afternoon even for an experienced bloke, many of our hoofed friends perished for their interiors and i'm vegan. It's always something.
Further afield, but some of us always thought it comical leather upholstery upscale, it used in carriages and then automobiles simply as it was plentiful and cheap. Before the war, Buick, Cad, Packard convertibles had a whipcord option; wore like iron, much more comfortable in summer heat and winter cold.

Packards were really good cars for half a century. But no one exists in a vacuum.

Posted on: 5/10 20:30
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Re: 1940 Packard 180 petronix
#16
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tsherry
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I have pertronix products in three of the rolling stock, one being my '67 F250, a 1972 Bobcat skidsteer, and the third my 1947 Ford 8N, which was converted to 12V.

If you don't have full voltage, the Pertronix flat out will not start the engine. For all three of the above, that's pretty much full-time battery tenders, as each of them are used sparingly.

My other 8N is 6V, stock points, and never, ever fails to start, even with a 'low' battery. Or a crank start if it's altogether dead.

My '37 110 with stock points/condenser starts on the third crank after sitting for a week or two, without fail. Spares are in the glovebox.

Posted on: 5/10 23:38
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Re: 1940 Packard 180 petronix
#17
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Wat_Tyler
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Quote:

MJG wrote:
Quote:

Wat_Tyler wrote:
Christopher was/is an example of the Peter Principle.


Nance really tried.


I don't know if that was the case with Christopher. I remember reading he saved Harlow Curtice's butt while at Buick. He did save Packard with the junior line. Perhaps just the wrong man for the job postwar.



Christopher was a manufacturing guy, not a business guy. Gilman got the Clipper to market and Christopher rode the pony off the cliff. He needed a bright new model for the 50th anniversary, and he needed some new technology, too. He failed to implement either.


So, who is really to blame? None other than Sir Alvan himself.

Posted on: 5/13 10:20
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Re: 1940 Packard 180 petronix
#18
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MJG
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Quote:

Wat_Tyler wrote:
Quote:

MJG wrote:
Quote:

Wat_Tyler wrote:
Christopher was/is an example of the Peter Principle.


Nance really tried.


I don't know if that was the case with Christopher. I remember reading he saved Harlow Curtice's butt while at Buick. He did save Packard with the junior line. Perhaps just the wrong man for the job postwar.



Christopher was a manufacturing guy, not a business guy. Gilman got the Clipper to market and Christopher rode the pony off the cliff. He needed a bright new model for the 50th anniversary, and he needed some new technology, too. He failed to implement either.


So, who is really to blame? None other than Sir Alvan himself.


I don't think he is a good example of the Peter Principle. When I think of the PP, I think of a mechanic, who is a great mechanic promoted to maintenance supervisor but, a poor delegator and leader. He constantly does the work himself and doesn't know how to tell his old coworkers that overtime is out. Or an assistant controller promoted to full controller. This person is a great bookkeeper but, doesn't know how to challenge other disciplines in following internal financial controls.

Christopher was a successful leader and GM/President pre-war. He was the right man for the job - then. Bringing him in was purposeful and successful. Had he been hired in 1946 and performed the same postwar - I would totally agree with you. The fact he wanted to step down tells you he had awareness to the fact that he wasn't the right leader for that time. He should have marketed himself as a turnaround specialist.. probably to close to retirement. No doubt others should have realized that too (earlier).

I use to work for a plant manager who was nothing more than a hatchet man. He knew his limitations and would sniff out inefficiency and redundancy then move on. He traveled the US as a "plant manager" though he couldn't manage one to save his life.

Mike

Posted on: 5/13 12:35
1948 Custom Eight Victoria Convertible
Others:
1941 Cadillac Series 62 Deluxe Convertible Coupe
1956 Oldsmobile 88 Sedan
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Re: 1940 Packard 180 petronix
#19
Home away from home
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Wat_Tyler
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Quote:

MJG wrote:
Quote:

Wat_Tyler wrote:
Quote:

MJG wrote:
Quote:

Wat_Tyler wrote:
Christopher was/is an example of the Peter Principle.


Nance really tried.


I don't know if that was the case with Christopher. I remember reading he saved Harlow Curtice's butt while at Buick. He did save Packard with the junior line. Perhaps just the wrong man for the job postwar.



Christopher was a manufacturing guy, not a business guy. Gilman got the Clipper to market and Christopher rode the pony off the cliff. He needed a bright new model for the 50th anniversary, and he needed some new technology, too. He failed to implement either.


So, who is really to blame? None other than Sir Alvan himself.


I don't think he is a good example of the Peter Principle. When I think of the PP, I think of a mechanic, who is a great mechanic promoted to maintenance supervisor but, a poor delegator and leader. He constantly does the work himself and doesn't know how to tell his old coworkers that overtime is out. Or an assistant controller promoted to full controller. This person is a great bookkeeper but, doesn't know how to challenge other disciplines in following internal financial controls.

Christopher was a successful leader and GM/President pre-war. He was the right man for the job - then. Bringing him in was purposeful and successful. Had he been hired in 1946 and performed the same postwar - I would totally agree with you. The fact he wanted to step down tells you he had awareness to the fact that he wasn't the right leader for that time. He should have marketed himself as a turnaround specialist.. probably to close to retirement. No doubt others should have realized that too (earlier).

I use to work for a plant manager who was nothing more than a hatchet man. He knew his limitations and would sniff out inefficiency and redundancy then move on. He traveled the US as a "plant manager" though he couldn't manage one to save his life.

Mike



Christopher was brought in to make the 120 a success. He was a manufacturing guy. I said that already. Gilman has some vision. He got the Clipper (based largely on the successful 120) to market, and that was a rousing success and positioned Packard where it needed to be to enter the post-war period. You could say that WW2 hurt Packard as much as anything. BTW, they made 1.2% on PT boat and Merlin engines.


Christopher would have been fine as VP of operations to keep things efficient and economical. Too bad that Gilman couldn't keep it in his pants, so Old Man Macauley canned him and promoted Christopher a notch (or two) above his abilities, which is the definition of the Peter Principle that I was taught. My previous post mentions what he could/should have done. He didn't. He gets credit for keeping a lid on spending and that's about it. So the board canned him with the Old Man's blessing and then promoted their long-time bean counter when they desperately needed a leader with vision and cojones. They farted around 2 years in hiring Nance, who might have made a difference. They sank the ship in buying Studebaker without doing their due diligence.


Christopher was in over his head as president. He was retired when he was hired by Packard, and he went back to his Ohio farm when he was cut loose. I think he knew he was in over his head and he acted out of fear - fear to spend a nickel and to take a chance - fear of failure. Additionally, he was a blowhard about how much they would/could produce after the war. He failed to deliver - not all his fault, but it was his promise.


I still blame Alvan, but I could be wrong. I've been wrong before, and it didn't hurt all that badly.

Posted on: 5/13 13:32
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