Top 10 reasons why Packard died


Although Packard was losing sales annually in the early 1950s, it was still a strong company. Many feel if the automaker had shelved its ambitions to fill every segment of the market and instead concentrated on being a low-volume luxury producer of roughly 80,000 units a year—which it could have easily done—it would have been profitable and strong in spite of being a one-marque pony.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/07/23/10-reasons-why-packard-died


Great article, thank you. Let me also say that I do like the Packard Hawk because it is a strange design version of one of my all-time favourites, the Studebaker Hawk.


No mention of the deal to bring Packard / Studebaker together with Nash / Hudson falling apart after the death of George Mason?


I have Always loved the older Packards. “Ask The Man who Owns One”. Great informative article. I remember a '55 Packard with air adjustable “shocks” or suspension cruising our strip in '58. Good show but not what we liked. The 30s and 40 Packards are dream machines. Love to have one.


Very good article. I have grown up around Packards & Studebakers throughout my 50 Year’s because of my fathers love for them. He has owned many of the 1956 year models and still does today. To make things clear I am not up to all history of the Packard but do know that the Caribbean was last produced in 1956. Please disregard the error of 1965 at the footer of the picture in the article.


The original Packard plant was located on East Grand Blvd., not Grand, just east of Mt. Elliott.
The new Packard facilities were leased. The old plant is now in the process of being redeveloped The 55 and 56 Packard’s were some of the best cars of the 1950’s.


Nice article, Thom.

Three corrections, please:

The “1965” Caribbean is actually a 1956. I’m sure you realize that.

The car identified as a 1955 Clipper Custom Constellation is the lower-priced 1955 Clipper Super Panama. Look carefully on the front of the quarter panel below the quarter window; you’ll see a Panama name.

Studebaker wasn’t “money strapped” or in financial trouble when it developed the new V-8 engine for the 1951 model year. It was financially healthy. It wouldn’t be a few years later, but it was in good shape financially in 1949 and 1950, when it developed the V8.


Bob Palma
Son of Packard dealer Lumir S. Palma, deceased
Life Member and Technical Editor: Studebaker Drivers Club
Member: Packard Automobile Classics
Quarterly Columnist: Hemmings Classic Car
Owner: 1956 Packard Clipper Super hardtop


My great grandfather was Alvan Macauley, president and chairman of the board all through Packard’s glory years until his retirement as president in 1939 (after 33 years), although he remained chairman until 1948, He died in 1952 and I recall the phone call from Grosse Point where I was born. Without Alvan’s vision and direcrtion Packard’s decline and disappearance as America’s classic luxury automobile. He virtually saved the company in 1935 with introduction of the 120 ‘downscaling’ from the ‘seniors’ by understanding and predicting the market ( and Depression realities). There was opposition from the board but he was right.

He would not have taken Packard in the direction in took (stylistically or corporately) and I have memos to that affect …and the desk he wrote them on. Alvan and his son Edward (design genius and my grandfather) took Packard to the heights of quality, engineering and style and legendary reputation.


When I was a child we owned a 53 Packard, and a few years later a 56 Hudson Hollywood and a 53 Hudson Super Jet. My father always said that the reason Packard and Hudson went out of business was that they refused to switch to the post-war business model of cheap goods with a limited lifespan.