Last post on Nov 23, 2010 at 9:55 AM
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#85 of 87 Re: Pontiac Straight 8 [hpmctorque]
Nov 23, 2010 (8:48 am)
Romney claimed that Nance called him "George Mason's errand boy," so there must have been bad blood between them even before Mason's unexpected death in 1954.
I doubt that a merger between AMC and Studebaker-Packard would have saved either company in the long run. Studebaker dragged down Packard. It probably would have dragged down AMC, too.
It's also worth noting that the visions that Nance and Romney had for their respective companies were so different that I doubt the men could have worked together. Nance wanted Studebaker-Packard to compete directly with the Big Three. He was planning a full-line of revamped 1957 Studebakers, Clippers and Packards to do just that until the insurance companies pulled the rug out from under him by denying the necessary financing.
Even if Studebaker-Packard had gotten the financing, the company probably would not have succeeded in the long run. Chrysler had trouble keeping up with Ford and GM by the late 1950s. I doubt that Studebaker-Packard would have had better luck, especially given that the clays of the planned 1957 models I've seen really weren't anything special. Not many people were going to swap their Oldsmobiles and Buicks for Nance's planned 1957 and later Clippers.
Romney was ready to bet the farm on the compact Rambler by 1956, which was considered quite a gamble by conventional standards. With sales of the "regular" Nash and Hudson models dwindling away after 1954, he had no real choice, but most auto executives would have tried to save those models by coming out with all-new models, or at least heavily facelifted ones, for 1958.
Nance would never have supported placing all of the company's bets on the Rambler - which turned out to be the correct one, buying AMC several more years of life. Nor would he have supported bringing back the 1955 Rambler as the 1958 Rambler American, another unorthodox move that was surprisingly successful for AMC.
#86 of 87 Re: Pontiac Straight 8 [keystonecarfan]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Nov 23, 2010 (9:14 am)
Yes, the aftermarket was critical to the Chevy small block's success, as was Chevy's often-secretive support for racing. It didn't hurt either to have their engines in the iconic Corvette, or their other small blocks and big blocks featured in rock n' roll lyrics.
Ford engines were pretty much unimpressive in the 1950s. The "Blower Birds" had no more effect on the general public than the blown Studebakers.
Without aftermarket, without street racing, without professional competitive successes, there was no way to beat GM in the "image" game when it came to engines. Finally Chrysler managed it, in the late 60s, once they had all the other prerequisites in order. Chrysler had to build the support network that GM had.
Engines in the 50s and 60s were about raw power. There was no demand for, nor need for, "sophistication". The most successful engines were brutes. Iron blocks, pushrods, and pistons the size of your head.
#87 of 87 Re: Pontiac Straight 8 [keystonecarfan]
Nov 23, 2010 (9:55 am)
What you said regarding the chances of a merger succeeding is very realistic.