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Sep 14, 2008 (12:51 pm)
Mr. (Obama/McCain, your choice!), I've enjoyed the debate!
I don't mean to say that Studebaker's hiding of their true financial shape, by omission in '54, or Packard's not researching it further prior to the purchase, is not a bad thing. It is, of course. But I think the sales situation in the merger years.....the public's opinion of the company's products in the marketplace....was a result of something else entirely, by spring of 1956. I think Packard's quality image was largely gone by that time, due to word-of-mouth on the '55's and early '56's. Really, the bottom just fell out of their sales in '56...worse than Studebaker's. And the fact is, a '56 Packard Four-Hundred, to my eyes, in Scottish Heather and White, is the most desirable Packard I'd consider owning (despite my total lack of mechanical ability!).
Like today... I doubt news of GM's financial situation really keeps anybody from buying a GM product if they want one. But if they hear their neighbor's new GM blah-blah-blah is a quality disaster, that will keep them from buying. I think that has to be brought into the S-P mid-'50's discussion, at some point, as well as Studebaker's mis-stated break-even numbers two years before the combined company crumbled. One must also consider Studebaker's post-Packard sales successes (Scotsman, Lark, even Gran Turismo Hawk to a lesser extent) in context with the failed 'merger'.
I've enjoyed the debate...onto the next item!
Sep 14, 2008 (1:31 pm)
Packard was by nature a conservative company and this probably kept it alive as long as it did. The pre-war (pre 41) styling was "ahead of its time but not TOO far ahead" and Packard pulled off this hat trick time and time again.
Many well-trained men came out of Packard to find glory (and infamy) in careers with other automakers.
In the 20s and 30s, the three Ps (Packard, Peerless and Pierce Arrow) could proudly stand parked next to any Rolls Royce or fancy Italian coachwork.
#123 of 160 I know this has been explained to me before...
Sep 14, 2008 (1:58 pm)
but I can't remember. I know it was actually Packard that bought out Studebaker, but could someone explain to me why it was the Packard platform that was dumped after 1956, and the nameplate itself after 1958?
Something else I always wondered...there was talk one time of a merger with Nash/Hudson, in the hopes of creating a "Big Four" and going head to head with GM, Ford, and Chrysler in all price categories. Now in something like that, I could definitely see Packard being the top run, along the lines of a Buick or Chrysler, although I really wouldn't see them as being able to pull off a Cadillac level of prestige. And I always looked at a Hudson as being a bit upscale. But which would have been the bottom feeder...Studebaker or Nash?
#124 of 160 Re: I know this has been explained to me before... [andre1969]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Sep 14, 2008 (2:08 pm)
AFter ther merger, Packard discovered to its horror that STudebaker had disguised its financial situation; after a miserable sales year in '56, S-P brokered a management deal with Curtiss-Wright, and I think it was Curtiss-Wright who essentially demanded the termination of Packard. Not sure but that's how I remember it.
As for the merger into a "Big Four", once Mason of Nash-Kelvinator died, the new president Romney was not interested in a merger of the 4 companies.
This is also why a Nash Metropolitan looks like it has refrigerator doors
#125 of 160 Re: I know this has been explained to me before... [andre1969]
Sep 14, 2008 (2:10 pm)
Depends on which was the larger brand and held more market share, that would be the best determinator between Studebaker and Nash.
#126 of 160 Re: I know this has been explained to me before... [aldw]
Sep 14, 2008 (4:14 pm)
A couple other quotes from the April 21, 1956 issue of Business Week:
"The Packard-Clipper end of the business has been the heaviest loser. According to one report, Packard has already been offered to Ford Motor Co. and turned down. Packard-Clipper Div. just announced a $3 million promotion campaign, biggest in its history".
"One proposal that Wall Street hears is under study is to sell the Packard engine plant at Utica, Mich., to a truck manufacturer, move Packard assembly to a smaller plant, and put the huge Detroit plant up for sale. Headquarters would be moved to South Bend, Ind., Studebaker's home, and the Studebaker nucleus itself might be sold to some company that could use a tax loss."
I can't remember where...maybe it was the '56 Annual Report, maybe not...but I remember reading that sale of the big East Grand Boulevard Packard plant brought in only $750,000. By the '55 model year, production already had moved out of there and into a small former Chrysler plant on Conner Blvd.
#127 of 160 Re: [Mr_Shiftright]
Sep 15, 2008 (3:44 pm)
I agree with your "Three P's " assessment. But don't forget about the Studebaker Presidents of the early '30's, cars recognized as "Classics" by the Classic Car Club of America. Richard Langworth states in his introduction to "The Illustrated Studebaker Buyer's Guide", quote,
"The Studebaker President was one of the most glorious cars of the Golden Age and set countless records on road and track. It was also beautifully styled, impeccably engineered, and a better road car than such highly respected "Classics" (as defined by the CCCA) as Packard, Cadillac, and Pierce Arrow--and I have this on the authority of people who have owned all four".
Sep 15, 2008 (4:26 pm)
It's fun to rewrite history but as Richard himself implies, the car at no time had the respect and prestige of the Three Ps.
Nice car, though, very nice and a few models bring serious money today, but without V-12s and V-16s, it's really not in the same class as a Packard, Cadillac or Pierce. Hollywood stars and European heads of state and Saudi princes did not rush out to buy Studebakers but they did buy Packards.
They are more in the Buick class IMO, or perhaps LaSalle.
#130 of 160 Re: 1967 Cobra Shelby 427 Replica For sale [rodney1c]
Sep 16, 2008 (5:26 am)
Rodney's popping up all over, isn't he?