Packard - the collapse of the automotive legends

June 25, 1956 of the gate in Detroit assembly plant went last real Packard. Then for another two years at the plant in Sausbende, Indiana, under this famous brand will be releasing perelitsovannye model Studebaker. But for true connoisseurs of American cars Packard «Empty" on this day 55 years ago. Sad date, as well as the story itself legendary brand can serve as a lesson to future generations of automotive managers. And this lesson is very simple - the higher you fly, the harder you fall.
29 photos + text.
James Ward Packard, a native of the town of Warren in Ohio, was known as a wealthy man, a talented and courageous. As a student of the prestigious college Lihayskogo he surprised classmates passion for bike riding and ingenuity in the practical application of electricity energy. So, in a dorm room, he "electrified" the window the window to ventilate the room, without getting up from the couch. It is a miracle by the standards of the 19th century!

Photo 2. James Packard driving a single-cylinder 12-horsepower Packard F

Growing up and settle down, James took a more serious things - organized a company for the production of incandescent lamps and other electrical products. But even richer, Packard did not lose the passion for the wonders of technology. August 13, 1898, he went to the nearby Cleveland to buy his first car. However, a machine designed by one of the pioneers of the automobile American Alexander Winton, was a complete disappointment. Pathetic 70 kilometers from his home, James overcame with great difficulty: Winton horseless engine constantly overheat, burst drive chain, spokes and they broke ... Home Packard and his car only arrived in the morning - in the horse-drawn tow!

Photo 3. Automotive saga of Mr. Packard began with the fact that he trusted advertising, decided to buy a horseless carriage Winton ...

The next day, James returned the car back at the same time decided to read it to the constructor little lecture on "The quality of products and satisfied customer." But Mr. Winton only waved importunate buyer: "If you're so smart, Mr. Packard, why do not you build your own car ?!»
- And here and build! - James threw an angry and left.

Photo 4. The painting artist James Bingham Mr. Packard dictates secretary answered: "About a Packard car need to handle not in the brochure, and at present the owners of the car!" Later it became the motto of the company for many years.

He was not kidding. In the end, Packard has long been interested in the car and he was the owner of a French tricycle DeDion-Bouton. Wasting no time, he wrote a bunch of technical literature, the company lured away from Winton two most intelligent engineers and plunged into work. The point of dispute - the first car brand Packard was released November 6, 1899-th.

Photo 5. Reliability was skate cars Packard. If serious concerns car owners - it is only a change of wheels

Nothing special Model A is not represented. Banal Single Runabout, with a single-cylinder, four-stroke engine cylinder capacity of 2, 3 liters and 9 liters. s. Wheels bicycle spokes, lever handle instead of a steering wheel, simple transmission of planetary type ... That's just the first Packard, in contrast to the dozens, if not hundreds of cars at the time, easy to make, without problems climb the hills, I do not pass on the broken road, and the main thing - do not hurry to break. And George Kirkem, a local businessman, immediately wrote a check for $ 1,250.
Reliability and ease of management - This is what began to build a reputation for its cars, James Packard. On the first US auto show in New York Packard Model B demonstrated their capabilities on a specially built track, famously placed circling obstacles. "Earnestly!" - We decided the rich families of the Rockefellers and Honeywell, have bought three cars.

Photo 6. Up until the mid-30's model 120, Packard all harvested by hand as well as those chassis models Twin Six

Glory company grew by leaps and bounds. Legend has it that in 1901 the office of Ohio Automobile Company (the name of the Packard Motor Car Company will be a little later - in 1903) received a letter from the buyer, please send him a catalog of products and promotional materials. As usual very busy James Packard dictated to his secretary answered: "About as cars Packard have to deal not in the brochure, and at present the owners of the car!" Since then, the slogan «Ask the man who owns one» was the motto of the company for many years.

Photo 7. On the basis of a 12-cylinder engine Twin Six was established aircraft engine Liberty

However, James soon became suddenly not to cars. On the one hand, the firm attracted the attention of serious investors, it is expanding rapidly. On the outskirts of Detroit otgrohali new ultra-modern assembly complex. For the beginning of the century, the company created by the famous architect Albert Kahn car factories, was certainly the most advanced in the world. But he stubbornly refused Packard to move to Detroit. According to the official version - did not want to abandon their elektrobiznes in Warren, but the true reason was ... love! Suddenly, above all for himself, 40-year-old engineer and, many thought, a confirmed bachelor to his ears in love with a certain Elizabeth Gillmer. Add piquancy to the situation that passion Packard, you see, absolutely did not want to move from his hometown of Warren.

Photo 8. At the end of the 20s, even the least expensive model in the lineup Packard equipped with 8-cylinder engines. The picture shows the "Model 626" 1929 model year.

The conflict between the mind and the senses rather quickly decided in favor of the amorous affairs. Packard was in Ohio, married and gradually handed over the reins of the company to new companions. In 1909 he resigned as president, retiring completely happy and extremely wealthy man.

Photo 9. This 1934 Packard Eight sedan owned by New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia Mr.

Perhaps for the future prosperity of the company that was the best solution. The fact that James so peksya about the reliability of their machines, which turned into an antagonist of technological progress. So, in his opinion, the use of complex multi-cylinder engines and capricious could adversely affect the company's excellent reputation. With the change of government affairs Packard went better. Founded by Charles Schmidt, a former engineer of the company Mors, The K equipped with 4-cylinder engine capacity of 24 hp and 4-speed transmission. Packard K cost is not just expensive, but extremely expensive - $ 7000. But just a year later, this same engine appeared on more affordable models L. Since single- and two-cylinder Packard model is no longer available.

Picture 10. The compact 120 model (pictured) and 110 rescued Packard in the era of the Great Depression, but dealt a serious blow to the elite image of the brand.

Picture 11. Model 110

Branded reliability is not affected. For example, in 1908 a Jacob Murdoch from Pennsylvania in a Packard 30 overcame the distance from Pasadena to New York 32 days, four hours and 25 minutes - a record for that time. But most importantly - without breakdowns and repairs.

Picture 12. The two-door Packard Clipper 1948 model year. And this elegant car cruel Americans called "pregnant elephant" !!!

Yet this, as if today said premium brand Packard became later. To be precise - in May 1915, when the company introduced the famous Twin Six - the first 12-cylinder car of America. The engine, developed by the company's new chief engineer Jesse Vincent, differed surprisingly quiet operation and impressive smooth and powerful acceleration with almost pedestrian 8 km / h up to the maximum of 120 km / h.

Photo 13 aircraft engines Rolls-Royce Merlin, produced at the plant Packard in the Second World War.



See also

New and interesting