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If you’re roughly my age—let’s say five decades into this whole life process—you’ve seen a fair number of automobile brands fade into the sunset.
I was probably most impacted by the demise of Pontiac, but I remember feeling a twinge of sadness at the deaths of AMC, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, and—no kidding—Checker.
Note: The following story was excerpted from the June 2016 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
Packard’s policy of gradual styling changes helped it to maintain a gold standard of resale value and allowed owners to keep their cars longer without looking dated. This linear styling policy served Packard well until the Forties. By then, though, American car design was changing at an incredible rate. Packard’s unhurried design evolution couldn’t keep up with the pace, and by ’41, its cars looked old fashioned.
There’s no question that Packard is out of business, but there is some disagreement as to when the company really wrapped things up. Though the Packard brand officially died after 1958, some purists consider 1956 to be the marque’s final year, as that was the last time the automaker built its own cars based on its own designs and technology.
Note: This article is reprinted from the February 2013 issue of Collectible Automobile.
Longtime Collectible Automobile readers may recall the 1952 Packard Pan American from an October 1986 story and from an October 1992 Personality Profile on its designer, Richard Arbib. So why this encore? Well, aside from the pleasure of seeing an old friend still hale and hearty, this Pan American is the first of only six built—and the only one built without its intended folding top.
The year 1956 marked the last hurrah for the “real” Packard. After that, Studebaker tried (somewhat successfully) to turn a Studebaker President into a Packard, but it was too little (literally!) too late.
The bad news is that fewer than one of every hundred cars sold in the United States is a convertible. (I will spare you the fractional math required to pass along the number of manual-transmission-equipped convertibles sold on our shores last year, but it’s fewer still.)
We have shared classic wagon advertisements before, but the bounty of great ads out there has compelled us to revisit the subject.
As you likely already know, the manual transmission is all but dead. Nothing drove home this point better than the news that in 2019, pure-electric vehicles outsold vehicles equipped with manual transmissions in the U.S.
As an automotive journalist, I am not predisposed to know much about fashion. That said, I do know a smartly attired individual when I see one.
One of the wonderful side effects of technological progress is the wake of marketing silliness that follows so closely behind. It makes sense that any improvement to a consumer-oriented product would be fodder for advertising and promotion, but oftentimes those improvements quickly become industry norms—and the initial hype surrounding them sometimes proves embarrassing in hindsight.