Posts from ‘Packard’
By Frank Peiler
It was early 1952 when Mercedes-Benz was in the midst of developing the 300SL sports car. The skeletal frame, drivetrain and suspension were beautifully engineered masterpieces. However, the original form-follows-function body looked like a half-used bar of soap with a cap stuck on top. Let’s say that in this post-WWII era of rebuilding, there wasn’t much of a design department at Mercedes-Benz that the company could turn to.
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.
by Frank Peiler
In the early days of the automobile, dashboards were just that: wooden planks onto which gauges and switches were mounted.
By the early Thirties, wood dashboards were replaced by steel, and designers began to take an interest in the collection of dials and knobs located there.
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.
For whatever reason, armchair sociologists and most of the non-automotive media seem to have fixated on 1957 as a pinnacle year for almost all American human endeavors. The best fashions, kitchen-appliance designs, diner menus, and, of course, cars, are largely ascribed to this singular period.
Note: Frank Peiler is the publisher emeritus of Consumer Guide Automotive. For more of Frank’s “What If?” artwork, check out his blogs on the 1957 Mercury, 1957 Packard, Cord 810, and Lincoln Continental.
The 1955 Chevrolet had it all. It was all-new from bumper to bumper with a new frame, new V8 engine, and new body.
The body design was a complete departure from previous Chevys. The hood was low, and the fender line was window-sill high. With a wide panoramic windshield and Ferrari-like grille, it looked like it was designed as a show car for one of the General Motors Motoramas. Here it is in hardtop form . . .
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.