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The Greatest Packards of Them All
#1
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Ross
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Dwight Heinmuller has been working for quite some time assembling a two volume book on the 55, 56, and proposed '57 Packards under the title of this thread. I have been wandering through volume one for about a week and just had volume two hand delivered a couple hours ago. The books are stunning and fascinating to the serious Packard fan on multiple levels:
-there is carefully researched history and no end of internal Packard documents and memos.

-there are hundreds of period in-house black and white and color photos that I have never seen in print in 50 years of being in the hobby.

-Over many years Dwight found and interviewed numbers of the engineers, stylists and other artists. There is much original material and insights from them including many of the photos mentioned above.

-Dwight commissioned artwork in color to show the various 57 models as they would have appeared in the colors that had been selected--beautiful. The development of the 57's was much farther along than I had ever surmised from other books.

Will you agree with all of Dwight's conclusions? Dunno, but you will have a lot of fascinating material to ponder and digest. Expensive? You bet, but considerably less than the price of a rechromed bumper guard. That relects the amount of work, the publishing cost, and the minuscule audience. For the postwar Packard fan it completes the good work that Robert Neal started in his books. You might want to take a look.

Posted on: 6/24 12:30
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#2
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HH56
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Just ordered my set. FYI, Ross didn't mention where to buy them but Dwight is carrying them on his website https://www.packardparts.org/products/books/ and his store may be the only outlet as I believe is the case with the Neal books.

Posted on: 6/24 12:56
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
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humanpotatohybrid
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Thanks for your take on it Ross. Thinking about buying myself a copy of it.

Posted on: 6/24 14:48
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
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Fish'n Jim
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I do not consider anything past a 1954, after the merger with Studebaker took place, to be authentic "Packard". So grossly mistitled for me, even if supposedly a great book. Pokes a stick in the eye of the pre-war greats. My stickler opinion.
Technically, they're "greatest Packard-Studebakers" in those years until they later dropped Packard in the co. name and things eventually went caput. The hawks were Studes badged as Packards, etc. Neither sold well.
Not down on Ross, but the concept.

Posted on: 6/25 8:47
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
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Tim Cole
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"The greatest Packard of them all" was part of a Packard advertising campaign and not to be taken as editorial comment per se.

"The Packard Story" was the same idea.

I think it's great the effort put into those books. Having been involved in prototype development myself it will be interesting to see if that aspect of the business is illustrated.

Posted on: 6/25 9:35
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
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ECAnthony
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The 1955 and 1956 Packards were pure-Packard-designed, -built, and -sold. Nothing to do with Studebakers at all. The 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawks would not have happened without Packard's purchase of Studebaker (it was not a merger).

Something else to consider are the 1956 "standard" Studebakers. Before Packard took over Studebaker, Raymond Loewy’s studio designed a very General Motors-like body for the proposed 1956 Studebakers. James Nance and his team “had soured on the Loewy studio’s daring and elegant 1953 models,” wrote historian Richard Langworth in 1992. “Harold Churchill [a Studebaker lifer, whom Nance named as general manager of the Studebaker division in August 1955] told Loewy designer Bob Bourke that, for 1956, ‘setting trends in the face of styling saturation established by GM, with its pronounced adherence to high, blunt hoods and straight fenders’ would be ‘a calculated risk.’” but Nance “was not sanguine about an expensive outsider like Loewy controlling so much of his styling. So, he told his own design chief, Bill Schmidt, to ask other stylists to submit ‘acceptable renderings.’” Vince Gardner, a freelance designer who worked in the past for Raymond Loewy, was hired (for just $7,500) to design the 1956 Studebaker sedans and wagons.

“As bodies go,” Langworth related in his article, “the Loewy sedan shell was still modern.” Gardner squared off the front and rear ends, and created sedans that fitted perfectly into the mid-1950s idiom. The interior design was headed by Studebaker’s Duncan McRae, head of the design team in South Bend, whose “cyclops-eye” speedometer dominated the instrument panel. If the 1956 Studebakers had a fault, Langworth wrote, it was that “the body looked a bit narrow, the ‘B’ pillars were too thick, and the lineup cried for a hardtop and four-door wagon.”

The 1957s and 1958 are a different story.

As Ross wrote about Dwight's book: "Expensive? You bet..." but worth it in my opinion. Your mileage may vary...

Posted on: 6/25 10:12
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
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su8overdrive
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Am sure Dwight's book will be detailed, but the title diminishes credibility and smacks of nerdom, the usual buff's inability to see past his own hood ornament.

The "greatest" Packards of "them all" according to many familiar with Packard's entire history might be the 1912-15 big Six, many thinking the Twin Six a step down, Packards increasingly the product of ex-Burroughs cash register, Hudson, GM alumni.

Why not entitle it simply, accurately, The Last Detroit Packards?

Wonder if it will include a point by point comparison with 1955-56 Chrysler New Yorkers? Consumers Report's reviews? Or just more excuses overlooking all independents doomed.

Posted on: 6/25 15:17
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
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Leeedy
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Quote:

su8overdrive wrote:
Am sure Dwight's book will be detailed, but the title diminishes credibility and smacks of nerdom, the usual buff's inability to see past his own hood ornament.

The "greatest" Packards of "them all" according to many familiar with Packard's entire history might be the 1912-15 big Six, many thinking the Twin Six a step down, Packards increasingly the product of ex-Burroughs cash register, Hudson, GM alumni.

Why not entitle it simply, accurately, The Last Detroit Packards?

Wonder if it will include a point by point comparison with 1955-56 Chrysler New Yorkers? Consumers Report's reviews? Or just more excuses overlooking all independents doomed.



I can't speak for Dwight, nor would I ever attempt to do so. However, it is not Dwight originating this slogan as it is morphed into book title. It was Packard (or some would minutia-correct me to say "Studebaker-Packard" OR even "Product Planning Department of Packard Division of Studebaker-Packard").

Also, I don't care about any more re-hashing of Packard vs. Chrysler, Buick or Cadillac or Facel-Vega or Mercedes-Benz. I just want to see the photos and see what ever else Packard was planning that never got made and never got published. By the way, Packard's internal marketing benchmarks were actually the Imperial rather than Chrysler New Yorker. I have an original Packard product planning flip chart from this period that says so... and why.

One could argue until the cows come home which was the actual "greatest Packard of them all." There were several. My personal favorites also include much earlier editions. Frankly I just adore the 1933-34 Twelves. But what Packard ultimately meant when they said this was just as much a slogan as an assessment of greatness.

As for the title... this slogan appeared in one of the 1956 Packard sales brochures. So nobody picks an argument and jumps at the chance to correct me, the actual wording was positioned above a 1956 Caribbean and said, "The Greatest PACKARD Of Them All" (see the image attached).

It would appear that Dwight Heinmuller's book title merely carries on with Packard's statement. Or slogan, if you will. If the 1956 Packard Caribbean was the greatest Packard of all, then the 1957-1959 Packards (as Detroit originally intended) would have to be "The Greatest Packards Of Them All"... whether anyone agrees with this or not. It was indeed a Packard slogan at the end.

Attach file:



jpg  Greatest Packard.jpg (100.09 KB)
1249_62b7741db4b30.jpg 1436X526 px

Posted on: 6/25 15:46
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
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su8overdrive
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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.

Posted on: 6/25 18:44
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
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Leeedy
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Quote:

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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