I read with interest the article on Packard in Farm Collector, June 2006, and I believe I have something to add.
I have a book entitled The Great Cars by Ralph Stein, published by Grosset & Dunlap. In the chapter on Packard, what he said most about Packard (and Lincoln) was about the cars built in the 1920s. I'd like to quote the last of the chapter.
"But the Depression hit Packard hard; $2,500 to $6,000 was big money in the 1930s. Packard tried building cheaper cars, the Light Eight for $1,750 in 1932 and the rather dismal 120 which could be bought for as little as $795 in 1936.
"During World War II Packard busied itself with military hardware, notably Rolls-Royce engines (simplified to suit Detroit skills) for aircraft. The great classic Packard did not return after the war, although the Clipper and the slab-sided Golden Anniversary Packard sold fairly well during the post-war car shortage. In 1952, a man named Jim Nance became president and tried to create a youth image, an old ploy of dying companies. Packard's great historical archives were ordered destroyed. Parts which had kept early Packards going were removed from the parts department and sold for junk. Nance then merged Packard with Studebaker, which was as sick financially as Packard. Nance left and Curtis-Wright got into the act in order to acquire a company with tax losses as a write-off against heavy war profits. Packard tried building various trick cars with automatic load levelers and such. Fancy bodies on dream cars were shown. But Packard had really died in 1942. It just didn't become official until 1962." I hope this information helps.
- Herb Killam
28074 Red Top Road
Wilder, IN 83676-5019