Letters to the Editor

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

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