No Limits Magazine from the Auto History Preservation Society
We Bring Automotive History to Life!
- "Preserving the past for the Future". Resources for the Historian, Researcher, and the Enthusiast -
Wednesday November 19, 2014
On Orphaned Brands - Packard, Our News Stories, Period Ads, Road Tests, Brochures, & Much More!

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Jessi and Kurt Celebrate AHPS

Jessi Lang - Sometimes Winning Comes in Short Little Laps.

Courtney and Kurt Celebrate

SEMA 2014: Courtney, SAN
and the Society.

1955 Olds F-88

1954 Olds F-88 Sports Car
Part Two - Why NOT the F-88??

The first Mustang- 1965

Mustang: 50 Years on the Road

1965 Pontiac 2+2 and GTO Ad

The Paper Chase Part 1
Selling the Sizzle

Morris 1959 Ford Fairlane

New Zealander Karyn Morris
shares her 1959 Ford with us!

1954 Olds F-88

1954 Olds F-88 Sports Car
Part One - Why the F88?

1963 Cobra Ad

The Cobra Story - a Focused View
into the 1963-67 Car

Jerry Lester Gran Torino

Check Out Jerry & Sue Lesters'
1972 351 CJ Ford Gran Torino

Cro-Sal Olds 455

Oldsmobile's Twin Turbo
Can-Am Aluminum 455!

1959 Ramchargers High 7 Mighty

Ramchargers Stories - Part 04
The "High & Mighty"

1963 Pontiac 421 GP

Big Bad Boys - Muscle Cars
did not start with the 1964 GTO!

1963 Ford-Mercury 427

Ford's FE Big Block Story
Part 1 - 1958 through 1965

From the Automotive History Preservation Society's Collection
"Orphaned Brands" What Are They? And What We're Doing and Why.

The Society has a policy to emphasize the collection and preservation of the documentation for what are known as “orphan” brands. These are the automobile makes that are no longer with us—either because the company itself, such as Packard or Hudson, went out of business, or because a brand, such as Oldsmobile or Plymouth, was dropped by a company that is still in business.

Why is this important? For one thing, the stories of these cars are fading fast, even in the case of brands like Mercury and Pontiac, which haven’t been gone very long. Already, misinformation and outright falsehoods are appearing about these and other discontinued makes. For another thing, a significant fraction of our membership is comprised of people who own or owned one of these orphaned makes or who just have an affinity for them.

Let us go on record now and state that the car clubs, both local and national, who represent these brands are doing an admirable job of gathering information, sourcing parts, and generally putting together people who have an interest in these cars. In spite of this interest, many people have neither the inclination nor the capability to collect and preserve information about their brand, at least to any significant extent. This is where the AHPS comes in.

We are already collecting and storing information on all brands, and when it comes to the “orphaned” ones, we’re more than on the case. Check out our first installment–on Packard– in this issue of our e-magazine.

To further understand the Automotive History Preservation Society and its goals - Click Here

The 1956 Packard

The 1956 Packard was a handsome, powerful, and
well built car - just too late to save the brand.

1947 Packard Club Sedan

1946-1947 Packards were merely cleaned up
versions of 1941-42 Model

1950 Packard Convertible

1948-1950 Packards were quite modern and handsome
designs when introduced. However, by 1950 (shown here)
this convertible was considered stodgy

1953 Packard Cavalier width=

Once again the 1951-54 Packards were an outstanding design
when introduced, but by 1953 (shown here) they were outdated.

Want to see your car in No Limits
and on the Website?

First, check out what you need to do by clicking HERE.

Then send an e-mail to:
with the information we indicate in our requirements.

Orphaned Brands - Packard Motor Car Company

By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

The post World war II story of Packard Motor Car Company is in many ways a sad tale. After the war, and as one of American's oldest car makers, Packard continued to create outstanding automobiles, but they failed to find popularity with a post-war breed of buyers who wanted a product that exuded modernity and saw solid conservatism as archaic.

For years, Packard's business philosophy had been constructed on the thought that buyers of luxury brands did not care for radical change on a model year basis. The directors of the company felt that their customers preferred a quality product that would retain its style and value over a multitude of years. Unfortunately, from the late 40s on, this was no longer the case. From 1949 and going forward style consciousness became an ever more important role in the marketing of cars - whether in a high-volume basis or not.

Another thing contributed to the eventual demise of Packard was the company's independent boutique status. Without being able to also sell lower-priced models, and lacking the resources of the Big Three (Chrysler, Ford and GM), Packard just did not have the financial means to adjust very quickly to the ever-changing buyers' demands for newer, longer, more powerful cars. Even when they identified issues or trends, there was no way to react to them. Unlike the major manufacturers, Packard simply could not afford to restyle the car and add more features on an annual basis.

The first postwar Packards arrived in October 1945. Like pre-war Packards, they were built to the same high standards held by the manufacturer since its inception in 1899. At this time, America just wanted new wheels, so the fact that Packards were warmed-over 1942 models, had little effect on sales. Returning from wartime materials production to auto manufacturring resulted in only about 31,000 of these 1946 cars being sold. Since all other car makers were in the same boat, Packard was able to keep up with their competitors.

For 1947, the Packard line was changed little, but already they began to lose ground in reacting to new trends. The problem was not serious yet, but the foreshadowing of the problem had surfaced in more modern offerings from smaller companies like Studebaker and Kaiser-Frazer. Luckily, the company's major rivals, Cadillac, Lincoln and Chrysler, were also selling rehashed 1942 models.

But the next year, 1948, Packard had anticipated new sheet metal would be required post war and had countered with a new look, but it was much more conservative than GM's offerings. It was praised and honored by a number of respected design organizations, and resulted in the 1948 models selling 99,000 cars and 105,000 in 1949.

Packard made a valiant attempt in 1951 to get back on the right track with a completely new car, including all new sheetmetal, a new frame, updated interior, the addition of a "Mayfair" true hardtop, and the "Ultramatic"automatic transmission. This should have been a sign of the pattern the Companuy needed to follow, but this was ignored. From 1952 through 1954 Packards remained unchanged.

Sales and production figures did not paint an exceptionally bleak picture until 1954. Packard had been the 16th largest producer in 1953, when Packard sold 83,000 cars, but in 1954 after a general recession hit, sales figures peaked at a mere 27,593 units..

Fortunately, Packard had new body shells and OHV V-8 power on tap for 1955. There were three-tone color combinations, hooded headlights, torsion bars, wraparound windshields, a hint of tail fins and, even, a low-priced Clipper line. And as in the past, the change brought immediate benefits - with sales climbing back to 70,000. And another benefit was that the new Packards drew rave reviews.

But the revisions were accompanied by heavy costs for the new tooling, technology, and the factory expansion needed to produce the new car - and even the increased sales were not going to cover them. As such, James Nance, the company's president, went looking for a financial partner, which culminated in the purchase of Studebaker, a move which seemed logical on the surface, but actually brought more problems, and making 1956 the last . . .

To learn more about Packard's Demise - Click HERE

To view information on each model year - Click HERE

To see Packard Advertisements - Click HERE

To see a 1955 Packard Brochure - Click HERE

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More from the Editors at the Auto History Preservation Society
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