At the historic car show Piešťanské Zlaté Stuhy 2013 we had the possibility to see floods of beautiful vehicles of well-known brands, but also many of those which belonged to the automobile top in its era. At the mentioned exhibition in Piešťany the elegant Packards, mainly the model 38, roused our interest as well in the amount of shiny veteran cars.
The luxury cars of brand Packard are a thing of past. That past which we know only from black and white photos and period short films. And just therefore these huge vehicles have the immutable charm and elegancy which either the premium producers can not go about up to now with.
Automobiles Packard have not very long but colourful and rich past. In the course of very short time they became the representatives of prestige, high social status and first class taste. The first car with brand Packard came from the production in year 1899 as the product of company Packard Electric Company. Its founders were the brothers William Doud Packard and James Ward Packard who decided to establish another firm only for the purpose of building cars – Ohio Automobile Company, after the prime success of their car. This company was finally renamed in year 1902 on Packard Motor Car Company, by the basis for production of that time most luxury automobile in the world was created.
Size, power, high sale price, an extraordinary technical reliability and conservative elegant design. These qualities determined the presumptuous sale of cars Packard which became typical for the American cream of society, but also for the statesmen and even bosses of underworld, the real gangsters. Model Packard Twelve Sedan from the year 1934 owned also famous Al Capone. The technical speciality of car maker was the using of the series 8-cylinder engine also at time when the other producers of big cars started to use engines of type V8 – so those with V-arranging of cylinders.
Packard offered at time of its biggest fame big amount of vehicles divided to model series and class, whereupon it used great amount of constructional variants. The great amount of model series was produced also as the classic sedan (at that time with other design than today), Touring and also as Convertible. The sum of all vehicles including the bespoke ones is astounding – Packard made between 1899 and 1958 to 1553 types of cars. The first was today antiquarian and extremely valuable Packard Model A and the last was Packard Series 58L in version Station Wagon.
During the Second World War theactivities of company Packard Motor Car Company diverted from the automobile production and it started with production of air engines. From that time and also todays leader in production of big engines, Rolls-Royce, Packard gained the licence for production of engine Merlin V-1650 and he succeeded to sell it with an extraordinary success. The engine of type Merlin was fitted to American and British aeroplanes too. Despite of that the Second World War was an unbelievable intervention to the world economy and it had as result the long lasting period of failures, for Packard this period showed as profitable.
The war ended in 1945 and for Packard it meant the end of very successful times. The company returned to production of big luxury automobiles, however the demand was not actually so big as it was expected. The period which meant a new start for human being, meant the begin of the end for Packard. Despite of that from the year 1946 Packard produced to 146 models of cars, it did not find customers for them. In year 1954 Packard Motor Company fused with the firm Studenbaker with the aim to improve the financial situation and they renamed the cars on Packardbaker. The last produced automobile 58L in year 1958 meant the end of the brand which vehicles belong today to the top in the world of vintage cars. Contradictory, Packard was not knocked out by war but by its later consequencies and very active effort of companies as Ford.