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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#11
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Ross
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Spent a fascinating hour this morning with the book reading a report by William Zechel, who started in Packard engineering in '32 about the philosophy, goals, details and challenges in designing the all new chassis for the stillborn '57 models. It was like attending a first class design review like I knew when designing production machinery for Black and Decker. And it was complete with many detailed photos of the chassis's new features and design innovations. Any engineer with a bent for history would love it. Despite the company's faltering and peril a lot of dedicated people, many who had been there in the high classic era, were laboring their guts out to come up with something really special for '57.

So if you want to learn about that and much more, you can.

But if your chief joy is constructing reductio ad ridiculum arguments please keep them to yourself. Oh, and there are contemporary roadtests of the 55-56 cars included.

Posted on: 6/25 21:15
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#12
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Fish'n Jim
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It meets the definition of a merger.

Posted on: 6/26 8:11
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#13
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JWL
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I ordered my set yesterday. I am looking forward to reading about the process that went into the concept, design, production, and marketing of these cars. Where they fit in the constellation, I don't know. I do know I admire the tenacity of Packard management to look forward even when avalanche of past decades decisions would soon bury them along with many others.

Posted on: 6/26 12:44
We move toward
And make happen
What occupies our mind... (W. Scherer)
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#14
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su8overdrive
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Mother Machree, all this hubbub from my mere expansion of Fish'n'Chips' excellent points.

We were only suggesting a less "awesome" title,

and, wait for it, perspective, without which no facet of any history, whether automotive, washing machines, political intrigue complete, just 65-year-too-late press release or autopsy:

Well, we were going to buy two-year-old Lincoln-Mercury bodies, then we wanted to stick a retro Packard grille from when we were still a going concern on a Chrysler-powered, TorqueFlite Facel Vega Excellence sedan.

Got it. Another last days in the bunker read.

My first comment was that Dwight's exhaustive effort would be "detailed." Um, that would be compliment.

You'da thought i tendered something like Packard's sole postwar accomplishment, other than, essentially, a lock-up Dynaflow, being from an outside engineer: Bill Allison's four-wheel torsion bar suspension, which he had to sell the hell out of to Packard's hidebound, coupon-clipping management after first being rebuffed by the Big Three, torsion bars at the front hardly new. Lagonda had them in '38, Jaguar '49.

Consumer Reports rated Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln, Buick Roadmaster and several others above Packard 1955-56, decried Torsion Level's pitching. We drove a 32,000-mile mint always garaged, pampered California '56 400 with TL and in good circumstances its ride was novel but could quickly see why Consumer Reports said Chrysler rode better.

So the exhaustive defense of a feature from an outside engineer adopted by a last gasp automaker for years increasingly phoning in their cars in deference to less hassle, more lucrative government jet engine work seems odd.
You get the impression some still can't grasp that

1, a l l independents were doomed;

and 2, these rigorous postmortems, Monday morning quarterbacking, last ditch, desperate proposals hold no water.

Alvis had synchromesh on first in 1936. Does that make Alvis better than Packard or render Packards junk? Of course not.

My preceding questions on this thread remain, even as i've yet to hear a word about Packard vs. Pierce 384 ci eights and V-12s, i giving the nod, engines only, to Buffalo.

Neither do i wish to malign anyone's ride. My own Packard is naught but a Buick Roadmaster according to East Grand, foregoing ohv for overdrive, if buoyed by a better chassis, its Briggs body not as finely wrought as Fisher.

You'd think those here gathered had their life savings in Packard stock.

Posted on: 6/26 16:44
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#15
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Ernie Vitucci
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Good Evening all...It seems to me that we need to remember that if there are ten Packard owners visiting, there will be fifteen opinions. We should all listen, nod our heads, and go forward. The cars are what they are, the history is what it is...I still love to fire up Miss Prudence back her out of the past and into the present...and go for a ride. People like her...and that's good enough for me.Ernie in Arizona

Posted on: 6/26 19:59
Caretaker of the 1949-288 Deluxe Touring Sedan
'Miss Prudence' and the 1931 Model A Ford Tudor 'Miss Princess'
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#16
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Fyreline
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Just ordered my copy of the book(s). As a dedicated and life-long automotive historian, I really appreciate books like these and I acknowledge the tremendous amount of work that goes into producing them. I think the best way to encourage authors to continue to produce works like these is to buy them. I certainly wouldn't consider myself a Packard expert by any means - Corvettes are more my thing - but I'm familiar enough with the story to be very interested in hearing about the 1955-1957 cars. For a brief period, the entire archives of the Studebaker-Packard Corporation was housed in a Syracuse University warehouse that I had access to, and it delivered many, many hours of enjoyable research before the university sent it on to the museum in South Bend . . . At least that's what they said they did with it. Looking forward to receiving the book - and yes, I recognized the title as a Packard advertising slogan of the time, and I consider it entirely appropriate. Just my opinion.

Posted on: 6/26 20:11
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#17
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Tim Cole
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Once I'm out of my present state of flux I think I'll buy a copy given I know how much the author loves those cars. Years ago he had a 56 Caribbean hardtop parked outside the garage. It was pretty rusted out but still was a great looking car.

The automotive press called those cars "America's greatest road car". The product launch was the problem. And Packard wasn't alone in that regard. In fact, given the problems they faced, they did a great job.

I could talk about the product launches I've worked on, but I don't feel like getting sued. It's a complicated process, the manufacturers warrantee those problems today, and so mouthing off about those problems only serves to do harm. I can't afford a billion dollar libel suit any more than Rudy Giuliani.

Posted on: 6/27 8:43
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#18
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BH
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I ordered this title shortly after this topic appeared.

I have nothing against the use of media mail, but this package came to Western Penna. by way of Dallas TX, and arrived late. No wonder the postal system keeps losing money. Also, the package was in pretty rough shape by the time it arrived - dirty and with one corner crushed. However, the books survived, thanks to Dwight's use of heavy stock for the pages. While the wire comb binding was deformed near the top of Volume Two, I nudged it back into shape. It will be awhile before I have time to read this set from cover to cover, but I paged through both volumes to make sure that everything else was OK.

I've been looking for a book like this for decades. With all due respect to all, if it weren't for my late father's ownership of a brand-new 56 Executive, I would never have gotten interested in Packards.

Over the intervening years, I collected a lot of literature on the V8s, but was surprised by the details on the proposed V12 - more than what the well-known, stretched V8 illustration could ever tell you.

I especially looked forward to the info on the 57s. Back when I first started reading about Packards, there was just that one picture of Black Bess circulating around, and I thought it was just a hastily cobbled-up 56 Clipper. This books show that it was clearly not and that a lot of time and engineering went into it. Yet, I wonder if Packard, after all the talk of issues with the 55-56 cars, would have been able to do any better with the 57s.

As for moving to Conner being a bad decision, I'll have to disagree. It's one thing to talk about moving body assembly, paint, glass and trim to East Grand, but what about sheet metal stamping? I once toured Chrysler's Twinsbirg OH plant, which had been a Briggs facility, and can tell you that it takes a lot of additional infrastructure to accommodate a stamping facility. Just one panel has to go through a series of dies and presses.

These books are a must read.

Posted on: 7/10 10:04
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#19
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humanpotatohybrid
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I ordered a set a short time ago and they came in recently. I got COVID (started having symptoms) on Tuesday so I've had a good amount of reading time. Fortunately I am recovering quickly. I'm roughly 1/5 way thru the set and it's been an interesting read as Ross, BH, and others mentioned below. I concur with their comments on it so I won't repeat what they said, just some thoughts I have.

First, some clarifications:
- As of when I write this, the price is $140 if you give him your credit card info or $135 if you mail a check.
- The two volumes are almost the same length. So there's a LOT of info on the proposed 57's. (Vol I 252pp.; Vol II 264 pp.)
- The books are a mix of rare period documents and photographs, excerpts from Packard magazines (like the Cormorant), and original interviews.

Just a couple things of note:
I was slightly surprised to find that the binding is neither hardcover nor softcover but they are actually Wire-O bound. I believe this is because Dwight had these done at a local print shop. Nothing wrong with the quality as a whole, but I find the squeakiness a bit annoying at times when turning pages and a small number of pages have some paper dust left over from the hole-punch process. Also, when I started at the front of Vol I there were a fair amount of errata on the first few pages. However, there is next to none in the rest of Vol I, or in Vol II as I've seen so far. I don't write this to discourage any buyers of this sui generis work as both of these are minor. Just some things to possibly change before a second printing, if there would be one in the future.

Overall it's very detailed and easily digestible, and the great number of large, clear pictures are invaluable complement to the material. If it sounds interesting to you, you might as well pick up a copy... I doubt you'll regret it.

P.S. I'm probably beating a dead horse here, but to me the title was obviously an allusion to Packard's marketing taglines for MY56. Not only the example Leeedy posted below but also on the front page of the salesman's fact book.

Posted on: 7/16 9:04
Owner of '55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: The Greatest Packards of Them All
#20
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Kevin
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I haven't had a chance to dig into these volumes as much as I would like to yet, but when I first got them, I did a cursory once-over and was blown away by all the new photos and source materials we had not seen previously. Dwight has been writing about and researching Packards since before I was even in the hobby! If you are a PAC member and read his articles in the publications, or you have read his contributions to the Packard history edited by Automobile Quarterly, then you already know that this is going to be a scholarly and outstanding work. I'm really looking forward to being able to immerse myself in these books!

Attach file:



jpeg  1956-packard-ad-01.jpeg (170.81 KB)
895_62d3311fc85a9.jpeg 740X506 px

Posted on: 7/16 16:45
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