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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.
Two of Ford Motor Company’s most memorable vehicles of the Fifties were introduced within a couple years of each other. Launching for 1955 as the flagship of Ford’s dramatically restyled passenger-car line, the Crown Victoria two-door hardtop brought a new level of glamour and style to the brand. Two years later, the 1957 Ford Ranchero melded the passenger car and the pickup truck into a “best of both worlds” proposition—at least for some shoppers.
Note: The following story was excerpted from the October 2016 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine
Says owner Malcolm Stinson Jr. of the Studebaker Hawk featured here, it “is just as you would have seen it in a showroom in 1960.” Stinson, of Show Low, Arizona, should know. He was a service manager at a Studebaker dealership. It’s experience that has served him well while restoring many Studebakers, including the Hawk, which was in poor but mostly rust-free condition when he acquired it.
By Frank Peiler
At the dawn of the 1950s, the American new-car market was running strong. The pent-up consumer demand caused by the World War II production hiatus had not yet been sated, and sales were booming for Detroit’s “Big Three” and numerous independent American automakers. And, as Americans moved to the suburbs in greater numbers, “family hauler” station wagons were becoming more popular at Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Ford was particularly successful—its expanded roster of all-new-for-1952 wagons would go on to be the number-one-selling wagon line for many years.
Note: The following story was excerpted from the August 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine
From the Speedway Comes Their Stamina, From the Skyway Comes Their Style” was the tagline for Studebaker advertising in 1934. The skyway reference was an attempt to tie Studebaker’s streamlined styling to aviation. The speedway reference was more grounded in fact.