Gear Head Tuesday -Attempts at a Packard Revival Over the Years

Gear Head

1999 Teague (AQ)

In the Summer 2008 issue of The Packard Cormorant (#131), Stuart Blond, a Packard Club member, Packard owner and roster keeper for the V-8 Packards for the Packard Club, wrote an article examining all of the various attempts to revive the car and the company: “Packard – A History of the Motor Car and the Company, 1959 to 2008.” Stuart has graciously allowed us to reproduce his Cormorant article here. This is the result of our post last Tuesday about the passing of designer Jeff Teague who was involved in one attempt to revive the Packard marque.

Packard — A History of the Motor Car and the Company, l959 to 2008

By Stuart Blond

57 Packard Clipper - front

A 1957 “Packardbaker” – a badge engineered Studebaker President wearing ’56 Clipper taillights and various other Packard trim pieces. 

The Packards that were produced at the Studebaker factory in South Bend during 1957 and 1958 were not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s putting it mildly. Company insiders had hoped that when better times returned, a larger, more traditional Packard would once again roll off the assembly lines. As it turned out, on February 24, 1958, the Studebaker-Packard Board of Directors decided to concentrate all efforts on the upcoming Lark, with a smattering of Hawks and trucks. An announcement was made on July 12 that production of the company’s 1959 models would consist of only Studebakers. The last Packard was built on July 25, 1958.

During the past fifty years, many have asked the question: “Why did Packard die?” A few have dared to ask: “Why not produce a new Packard?” Some of these good folk, both inside and outside of the automotive industry, have sharpened their pencils and produced business proposals to resurrect both the company and the car. Some of the “new” Packards have been pie-in-the-sky designs, while others proposals have been serious. A select few have actually produced drivable automobiles, some modified from existing vehicles and some from scratch. And, in some cases, only the name itself has been used without any vehicles to back it up. Here is what we have found to have happened to the Packard motor car and the company during the past fifty years …

'58 Packard Starlight

Packard’s last gasp: a 1958 “Packardbaker” – Fins on top of fins! Fiberglass fins tacked on top of fins with ’56 Clipper taillights stuffed into them does not a Packard make. The public agreed, buying only 675 of these Starlight hardtops. The Chrysler-like roofline is credited to Virgil Exner, Jr. who was working at Studebaker-Packard at the time.

1957 and 1958: Hoping Against Hope — The two years of “Packardbakers” produced by Studebaker-Packard did nothing to enhance the Packard reputation. From time to time would appear in the motoring press letters from potential owners expressing their opinion of what a non-South Bend Packard should look like.

In the December 1957 Motor Trend letters section was published such an opinion from Kenneth E. Goode of Valley Stream, New York: “This is my idea for a near-future Packard design. It incorporates several characteristic Packard features with a fresh, modern look.” What strikes us about Mr. Goode’s design, aside from the Predicator-like front end, is the very-Cadillac-like body and rear end design. Does that look like a 1960 Cadillac rear end to you?

from the December 1957 "Motor Trend"

In “The Rumor Mill” section of the November 1958 Motor Trend appeared the following rumor: “Studebaker-Packard will produce a highly individualized Packard in the ultra-luxury price class to keep the Packard name alive. A very limited number will be built. False — This notion was considered and may still be, but it is more likely to be stillborn with the ultra-Packard never becoming more substantial than a gleam in a PR man’s eye.”

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Facel-Packard

1960: This Facel-Vega based Packard proposal was nixed by Mercedes-Benz. Studebaker-Packard had taken over U.S. distribution of M-B. The Germans were not about to let S-P relaunch Packard while selling Mercedes vehicles.

1960: A New Luxury Car? — While Studebaker-Packard could not get an “ultra-luxury” Packard off the ground in 1958, by 1960 it nearly did. According to Richard M. Langworth, a group of Packard enthusiasts suggested to S-P President Harold Churchill that the company should buy between 100 and 300 Facel Vega Excellences, less engines. These would then be powered with leftover Packard 374-cid V-8s, and have new Packard-like grilles and red hexagon wheel covers installed. (Where the Packard V-8 engines would have come from is anyone’s guess.) It was planned to market this new “Packard” for around $14,000. (The going price for a then-current Facel Vega Excellence was $13,317. The 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was selling for $13,075, while the 1960 Cadillac de Ville four-door hardtop went for $5,498.)

1960 Facel-Packard

Unfortunately, Studebaker-Packard had already signed a contract with Daimler-Benz to distribute Mercedes-Benz cars in America. D-B demanded that S-P cease with the plans to sell this potentially competitive piece of cross-pollination or risk termination of its sales agreement to sell Mercedes-Benz.

1961: A New Sports Car? — Writing in “Automobile Quarterly’s” Packard — A History of the Motor Car and the Company, George L. Hamlin told us that “The last chance for a revival came when Studebaker’s President Sherwood Egbert tinkered with name ideas for a new grand touring car in 1961-62, and considered Packard, as well as Pierce-Arrow, to which S-P was entitled out of previous adventures. The name chosen was, however, Avanti.”

1962 to 1979: The Name Game — With all hopes of a Packard automobile dead by this time, the S-P Board of Directors decided to drop the Packard name from the corporate title. As Hamlin related in Packard — A History…, “In a notice to stockholders of the annual meeting to be held on April 26, 1962 came Egbert’s recommendation for the future of Packard: There wasn’t going to be any. To be successful the company would concentrate on one product. ‘There will be presented to the meeting a proposal to change the name of the Corporation to Studebaker Corporation… The present corporate name has become anachronistic as a result of the termination of the Packard car production and is a hindrance to the development of a new and more vital corporate image.’ ”

With the deed done, the Studebaker Corporation had by now started to see some nice profits roll in, but they did not come from motor vehicle production. The diversification of the company away from auto and truck production had started in the late 1950s, and was now bringing in money that the vehicles could not. The South Bend production lines were ordered shut down in December of 1963. While Studebaker production continued at the assembly plant in Hamilton, Canada for a while, it too was ordered closed on March 4, 1966.

Free of autos and trucks at last, the Studebaker Corporation merged with Worthington of Canada in 1967, becoming Studebaker-Worthington. S-W was in turn purchased by McGraw-Edison in 1979, erasing the Studebaker name from corporate business.

Exner Packard.png

Virgil Exner’s 1963 Packard design, based on the 1934 Packard coupe.

1963: Virgil Exner’s Packard — Exner, Chrysler’s former VP-Styling, produced a series of “Revival Car” concepts for the December 1963 issue of Esquire magazine. His updated designs included Stutz, Duesenberg, Mercer and Packard. (He later updated the Bugatti, Pierce-Arrow, and Jordan.) Renwal, the model kit manufacturer, produced plastic models of all seven. A full-size version of Exner’s Bugatti was built by Ghia, using the last Bugatti Type 101 chassis. Exner’s Mercer was produced on a Shelby Cobra chassis as the “Mercer-Cobra,” and a full-size Duesenberg was built by Ghia on an Imperial chassis. Modern Stutzs were produced as well. The Exner Packard, above, was never built.

1965 to 1970: The Packard Motor Car Company of Ohio — A man named Roland Anderson registered the name “The Packard Motor Car Company” as a trade name in the state of Ohio, but it was abandoned in 1970.

1973 to date: Packard Motor Car Company of New Jersey — Starting when they were high school students in 1960, Dan and Fred Kanter made some nice money on the side buying and selling Packard parts. In 1973, a friend of theirs working at Studebaker-Worthington informed the Kanters that S-W had decided not to renew the corporate name “Packard Motor Car Company.” The Kanters quickly incorporated a company named “Packard Motor Car Company” in New Jersey. In 1976, when the Kanters quit their day jobs and went full-time into selling Packard parts for a living, the corporate name of their company became “Packard Motor Car Company, Inc.” (Editor’s Note — My day job is working for the Kanters, and my paycheck reads “Packard Motor Car Company, Inc.”

1978 to 1981 : Packard Motor Car Company of Michigan — In mid-1978, Detroit businessman Tom Donofrio learned that Studebaker-Worthington had abandoned the corporate name “Packard Motor Car Company,” and incorporated a company of his own in 1979, using that name. (He was not aware that the Kanters had incorporated in New Jersey with the same name.) Nevertheless, Donofrio had grand plans for production of a new Packard, and they involved Rick Teague*, none other than the son of famed Packard designer Dick Teague. In order to bring money into the door, then-current AMC Spirits would be modified and sold in Europe as “Packard Leopards.” Additionally, some 100 Lincoln Continentals would be modified into limousines and re-badged “Coachwork by Packard.” With the money thus rolling in, the grand plan was that, within two years, brand new hand-built Packards could be produced at a rate of 100 per year, selling in the range of $70,000 to $100,000. Unfortunately, Tom Donofrio passed away before anything resembling new or modified Packards would be ready for sale. In 1981 the company he had incorporated was automatically dissolved by the state.

* Rick Teague, brother of Jeff Teague

1982 to date: Packard Motor Car Company of Michigan — On June 15, 1982 John F. Hollowell of Michigan incorporated a business with the name of “Packard Motor Car Company” and has continued to file annual reports through 2006. The lack of a 2007 filing may be due to a late filing or may indicate abandonment.

1978 to 1984: Bayliff Coach Corporation of Ohio — C. Budd Bayliff is a huge Packard enthusiast in Lima, Ohio. In October 1978, he purchased the corporate name from the Donofrio family, and introduced a line of new Packard Bayliff sedans and coupes based on then-current General Motors vehicles. His replicars ranged from simple cosmetic changes to elaborate body modifications, such as new front and rear body structures with 1930s and 1940s-style fenders. By the early 1990s, Ford-based vehicles were being used.
Production totals to date have been a “couple of hundred” vehicles, as Mr. Bayliff has said. At least two Packard Bayliff combination coaches have been built as well, being completed in 1987 and 1988. These utilized 1985 Buick Rivieras which were cut and stretched 46 inches, and converted into five-door pillared hardtop landaus. Both cars are registered as 1985 Rivieras.

1982 Bayliff

Above: A 1982 Bayliff “Packard.” Below: Bayliff’s ’34 Packard-inspired convertible.

1934-styled Bayliff
Currently (2008), Bayliff is producing a 1934-styled Packard Bayliff “Custom Deluxe” convertible, which, to our eye, is much sleeker than the earlier efforts. At last check, the price was $140,000. In 1992, Bayliff sold his corporate name and the rights to a “Bayliff-Packard Coach logo” trademark to Roy Gullickson. This trademark was allowed to expire. The agreement, however, allows Bayliff to continue producing the 1934-style convertibles.

Brooks Stevens-Packard

Brooks Stevens’ Packard efforts for Richard Langworth

Brooks Stevens V-12

1980: Brooks Stevens’ Designs — “Since the start of the replicar boom, we’ve been nervous about its implications for the marque Packard.” Thus did editor Richard M. Langworth introduce his article in this publication’s Spring 1980 issue. Decrying the prospect of Packard-replicas on the market as “Unidentified lumps-with-wheels bearing a variety of Packard-reminiscent hallmarks tacked on in helter-skelter fashion,” Langworth asked famed industrial designer Brooks Stevens to design two Packards for 1980. Stevens produced a stunning town car and a crisp sport coupe, pictured above, showing the Packard-world what a true professional could do.

“In prophesying what the elegant Packard motorcar might have evolved into by 1980,” Stevens wrote, “one presumes a great deal considering the 22 years that have passed since the last production… In creating a Packard for today’s state of the art, we are necessarily dealing with an infinitely lower car than the Packards of the Classic era. The familiar and heraldic Packard grille becomes lower and less imposing… The essence of the design remaining is a combination of simplicity, familiar hallmarks, uncluttered lines, and a touch of the Continental look.”

1981 to 1983: Studebaker-Packard Motor Car Corporation — In a 1981 issue of Automotive News appeared a letter to the editor announcing a new company titled Studebaker-Packard Motor Car Corporation “…alive and well and currently doing business in Mount Clemens, Michigan.” Daniel R. Morton, the general manager of the new S-P, wrote that “…our main business plan is to design, make and sell automotive parts for the antique cars and trucks in fiberglass and [sill] patch panels. Our interest is in preserving antique cars and trucks. We are currently developing a number of products for various cars and trucks from the early 1930s right on through to the late 1970s.”

We do not know if the new S-P ever fulfilled its business plan or not. The words “Studebaker-Packard Motor Cars Corporation” was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on September 29, 1981, but it was abandoned on February 18, 1983.

1985 to 1986: Emmet Grandone’s Designs — A highlight of Alan Adams’ editorship of the Cormorant News Bulletin during the mid-1980s were the renderings of Emmet Grandone. His “design exercises” were first featured in the September 1985 CNB, with “Back to the Future — The Patrician from 1959 to 1992,” six drawings depicting a “what-if” history of Packard’s top-of-the-line four-door. Tracing “the possible development of the Packard Patrician for more than three decades after the last Packard was actually built,” Grandone postulated the Patrician during the years 1959, 1967, 1973, 1977, 1985 and 1992.

Grandone-Packard 1959
Changing with the times, the 1959 model, above, featured ample fins and chrome. The 1967 had hidden headlights while the 1973 introduced a 5 mph bumper. The 1977 showed the effect of downsizing with the elimination of hidden headlights and pillarless windows. The 1985 featured a second downsizing and an “aero-look.” Finally, the future-1992 displayed semi-enclosed front wheels and boasted “the lowest [drag coefficent] in the industry.”

Grandone -Packard1987

Grandone’s rendering for a 1987 Packard

Grandone’s renderings were featured as well in the March, July and December 1986 issues of the CNB. This last issue featured “All the New Packards for 1987,” showing the complete 87th Series lineup of both the Packards and Clippers, which covered nine of the issue’s pages. His “what-if” take on a 1942 and 1992 Caribbean received the full-color treatment in the Autumn 1986 issue of this publication (TPC #44).

Paragon-Packard

1984 Paragon

1984: The Paragon — An article in the June 1985 issue of Car and Driver alerted Cormorant News Bulletin editor Alan Adams to the Paragon, designed and built by Thomas Erik Fornander, a graphic designer and illustrator living in California. Adams wrote to Fornander, requesting information, and published the results in the September 1986 issue of the CNB.

Fornander wrote, “Ever since I was a child, I felt that the Packard radiator shell was the most elegant of any car of its time… It was therefore only natural that the Packard grille head up my design. I did feel somewhat guilty about the ‘theft.’ The name Paragon may seen rather pretentious, but with the same number of letters and also starting with ‘P,’ it seemed appropriate.”

Based on a 1984 Toyota Cressida (yes, you read that right!), with a wheelbase stretched 20 inches ahead of the windshield, the Paragon’s fiberglass front end borrowed the appearance of the 1938 Juniors. The Toyota offered, Fornander wrote, “rear wheel drive, a smooth DOHC inline six and a conservative midsection / window area… The interior, especially the leather version, seemed particularly suitable for the desired effect. I would rather have chosen something ‘Made in the USA,’ but nothing came close. Toyota does make a quality product.”

Car and Driver article listed the asking price at $50,000. A slick sales brochure was printed up, but it is not known if production of the Paragon proceeded beyond the prototype.

1999 Teague (AQ)

Richard Teague’s design for a modern Packard, rendered by Ken Eberts.

1989 and 1991: Dick Teague’s Final Designs — Of all of the people who indulged in “What-If” Packards, the one who was the most qualified was Packard’s last design chief, Richard A. Teague. Shortly before he died, Teague produced a stunning design for a “1992 Packard Caribbean.” Our Summer 1991 issue (TPC #63) was a tribute to Teague, who died on May 5 of that year. His life and career in the automotive field was explored by editor Richard M. Langworth in an eight-page article, who then capped it off with Teague’s 1992 Caribbean on the centerspread. The design was pure Teague, clean, sharp and fresh. Unlike some other designs we could mention, it did not rely on an overabundance of Packard icons. His final illness prevented Teague from producing a finished color rendering for TPC, so his good friend, the great automotive artist Ken Eberts, did the honors. Teague’s manuscript describing his design criteria for a modern Packard was published in our Autumn 1992 issue (TPC #68).

“Automobile Quarterly’s” landmark publication Packard — The Pride was published in 1989, and it featured the illustration pictured above. The “One-Hundredth Anniversary Packard,” a Twelve Patrician, was, of course, fully designed by Dick Teague and rendered by Ken Eberts.

1933 2nd Chance Classics

2nd Chance Classics reproduction 1933 Packard

1985 to 2000: 2nd Chance Classics — In 1971, Dwight Bond opened a small restoration shop in Gibbon, Nebraska where he restored Ford Model As and Ts. After branching off into reproduction Model A fenders, he was so overwhelmed by the demand that he closed the restoration shop and started Gibbon Fiberglass Reproductions. GFR became the first company to nationally advertise a complete fiberglass Ford body; by the 1980s, GFR was reproducing components and complete Ford bodies from the Model T to the late-1930s.

In 1985, Bond started 2nd Chance Classics, which began building components and turnkey versions of the 1933 Packard in three body styles, Coupe Roadster (46 produced), Victoria Convertible (three) and Limousine Towncar (five). The Bond Packards duplicated the original 1933’s dimensions so accurately that they could be mounted on an original chassis and could use the original’s hood and fenders. The bodies were hand-built from separate pieces and reinforced with steel and hardwoods. The turnkey vehicles featured modern V-8 engines, automatic transmission, power steering and brake as well as air conditioning.

Dwight Bond retired from the body building business in 1996 and sold the entire product line to his son Kyle. The Packard line was discontinued in 2000. As of this date, the Packard molds are for sale.

Gullickson's Packard

In his ill-fated attempt to revive Packard, Roy Gullickson accomplished two things: 1) He succeeded in doing what many considered to be impossible by making a car that is actually uglier than the 1948-1950 “bathtub” Packards (below), no small feat. 2) By harassing people in the Packard hobby with “cease and desist” orders to anyone using the Packard name or various Packard logos, he alienated THE group whose support he needed to get his project off the ground. (Editor’s opinion. Not part of the original article.)

1948-Packard

1992 to date (2008): Packard Motor Car Company of Arizona — Roy Gullickson’s crusade began in 1992, after he sold the farm equipment company he owned in Alberta, Canada, to his sons. From Budd Bayliff he purchased the Bayliff name and Bayliff-Packard logo as previously mentioned.

By 1996, a full-size foam, fiberglass and steel styling model had been developed, inspired in part by the 1941 Clipper. Mr. Gullickson has recently told us that Robin Jones, a former Packard designer, submitted ideas for the new car. Jones “…prepared and sent us two pencil line drawings which were very nicely done… We did not use any of his work… Don Johnson, a former GM stylist did some work for us… We had a few other stylists contribute their ideas… We ended up doing a lot of final detail work in our own shop in Phoenix… We also had two styling clinics in Phoenix, which included members of The Packard Club.” In 1997 Gullickson incorporated his operation in Arizona under the name “Packard Motor Car Company” and applied for and received a United States Registered Trademark for the name “Packard” to be applied to the production of new automobiles and parts therein.

Over the next two years, Gullickson and five engineers and technicians pounded out a handcrafted driveable prototype at a cost of $800,000. The all-aluminum vehicle, above, is equipped with all-wheel drive, disk brakes and a massive V-12 engine from Ryan Falconer Industries, rated at 440 HP. The car weighs 3,748 pounds, and a 0-to-60 time of 4.8 seconds is claimed.

The company’s Website stated that the “…Packard Motor Car Company is continuing refinement of the prototype sedan, and is in the next stage of development, to bring the prototype to the standard of fit and finish expected in an ultra luxury automobile. Development of a four-door convertible sedan has been initiated. An excellent facility for head office, engineering and production has been located and production planning is under way.”

Although orders for 70 cars were claimed, $10 million was still needed to build the first batch of 10 cars, to be priced at $160,000 apiece. Not helping the cause was the fact that the “1999 Packard” was not shown at the Packard Centennial Celebration in Warren, Ohio that year. It was instead displayed in the basement of the Crawford Museum in Cleveland during that epic week. A further dust-up occurred when cease-and-desist letters were sent to any persons and organizations that used the Packard name and identity marks, which were claimed in full by the new Arizona company for a brief period of time. A few advertisers in the CNB and elsewhere did change their logos from the Packard script to block letters, but several advertisers boldly ignored the demand.

During the summer of 2000, an announcement was made that the new Arizona company was to be auctioned off on eBay. The sale was necessary, Gullickson said, because he had not attracted enough investors to start production. “We’ll see what happens,” Gullickson said. “Maybe it will shake some investment people out of the bushes… I resorted to eBay as a potential source of investors.” Tasked to handle the sale, Kruse International said that the trademarked Packard name alone was worth considerable money. The bill of sale listed the trademark registration, the one V-12-powered running prototype; the full-size styling model; 400 engineering drawings; 40 pieces of styling artwork; various archives, and an extensive set of tools, dies, molds, fixtures and patterns. Listed as well were letters from nearly 100 prospective customers, and “7,300 other individuals expressing an avid interest in Packard automobiles” (no doubt, taken from various Packard membership directories from around the world). The auction started with a bid of $250,000; by the time it ended the high bid was $275,100. This was, however, far short of Gullickson’s reserve of $1,000,000.

As of today (2008), Gullickson’s company is still available for purchase. International Mergers and Acquisitions in Scottsdale, Arizona has now been tasked to handle the details. Gullickson has written, “[My wife and I] wish to sell because we are both well into retirement age, and would really like to see new Packards in production. That, in fact, was the main impetus for going into the project, and we have always planned on bringing outside capital into the project, or selling to a capable buyer. There is an excellent basis for making a very attractive business case… The asking price is $1.5 million, which is significantly below the amount of investment in the project… We are receiving strong interest in the company, but are not committed at this time.” When asked to comment for this article, Mr. Gullickson told us: “The Company continues to draw interest and we have been showing the prototype, other assets and engineering material to interested parties on a regular basis.”

Editor’s note: Hemmings reported that the prototype car sold on 28 July 2014 for $143,000.

2002 Packard

The late Jeff Teague’s drawing for Bill Packard’s 2002 Packard revival effort.

2002: Bill Packard’s 2005 Packard TC — Claiming to be “a distant relative of the original Packard founders,” Bill Packard announced his “team of world class designers, stylists, engineers and marketers” in February 2002. Heading up design for the new “Packard Motors of America” was Jeff Teague, another son of Dick Teague. Gerhard Steinle, a designer for Mercedes-Benz for sixteen- years, was tasked with engineering. Alan Rypinski, the founder of Armor All, was to focus on marketing. “Prototype production” would begin that July, with the car being unveiled at the Pebble Beach show in 2003.

How to pay for all this? Mr. Packard said “I’ve always thought that the way was to get current Packard owners to invest. We want to set up a limited-liability organization.” Thus the only people allowed to invest would be Packard owners, or anyone named “Packard.” The response to all this? Mr. Packard told us for this article: “We displayed Jeff’s incredible illustrations to stimulate the audience at the various auto show venues, and received overwhelming positive response… except from Packard club members.” *

Then, there was also the matter of ownership of the “Packard” name. When Roy Gullickson’s new company was listed on Ebay in 2000, Mr. Packard’s bid of $275,000 was topped by $100. It was far short, however, of the $1 million reserve. Mr. Packard has told us: “I have since discussed via e-mail the possibility of buying the company from Roy: trademark, etc. Roy indicated [he wants] $1.5 million.” Gullickson also filed a cease and desist order against Mr. Packard and Packard Motors of America. “Thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars went into this recent effort” Mr. Packard has told us. “As much as I wanted to bring back the Packard, I was not willing to jeopardize my personal wealth and well being over a frivolous lawsuit. To this day, my passion to bring back the Packard car remains in my heart, soul and mind. We continue to work behind the scenes to bring about what almost everyone in the Packard community says is impossible. Someday, somewhere, somehow, someone will revive the Packard car company. I pray that I will live to see this day, and that someone will be me.”

Editor’s note: Bill Packard probably can “thank” Roy Gullickson for that after Gullickson’s rough treatment of many members of the Packard hobby.

2007 Art Academy

 The NorCal Region of the Packard Automobile Club sponsored a design competition that produced this effort by Zbigniew Dubiel.

2007: The Art Academy of California Predicts the Packards of the Future — In 2006, PAC’s Nor-Cal Region was hosted by Dr. Richard Stephans, Chairman Emeritus of the Art Academy of California at their San Francisco campus. Addressing the group, he shared the beginnings of the school by his father in 1929 and the original and ongoing commitment the Academy has to hiring faculty that is current in their fields and to provide leading-edge academic training to the students. He shared his passion for fine automobiles, the role the automobile has played in American history, and what Packards and the cars he has in his collection represent to him as the best America had to offer.

The event led to discussions on how the Nor-Cal Region might fund scholarships for promising automotive designers, and Tom Matano, Executive Director of the School of Industrial Design, suggested that the Nor-Cal Region commission an end-of-the-term assignment, wherein his automotive students would prepare their vision for what a new Packard might look like for the year 2015. They could either envision what it might look like if making a comeback in that year, or what the design might have evolved to if the company had stayed in business through all the years.

The students were free to study the Packards in the Academy’s collection for inspiration, and were encouraged to seek out the history, philosophy, and design features of the Packard Motor Car Company. By December 2006, the student presentations were ready and a team of judges from the Region visited an open house where the offerings were on display. The interesting results of the competition were reported in The Packard Cormorant #127 (Summer 2007).

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2016: PackardInfo posted this story about new designs for Packard by retired auto stylists. First is a design by ex-GM stylist John Perkins followed by a rendering by Dennis Burke, also retired from General Motors:

John Perkins_Clipper

Above: Ex-GM Stylist John Perkins’ Packard Clipper update. The building in the background behind the 22nd series Packard is the lodge at the Packard Proving Grounds, Shelby Township, Michigan. The lodge was designed by Albert Kahn who also designed the Packard factory in Detroit, one of the first reinforced concrete buildings in the U.S.

Dennis Burke Design for Packard

Former GM Stylist Dennis Burke rendered this update of a 21st series Club Coupe. Once again, the Lodge at the Packard Proving Grounds is the backdrop for the car inspiring the update. 

The post at PackardInfo about these designs has this to say:

“The Packard Motor Car Foundation will be hosting an Automotive Designers & Artist Gallery the weekend before Thanksgiving, November 17 – 20, at the PPG. This will be our inaugural event.

The purpose is to highlight the gift of 12 Packard concept car renderings given to the Foundation by the designer, Bill Robinson. These are works done by Bill in the early 1950s when he was at Briggs Body Company.

Also we want to show off the work done by the League of Retired Auto Designers. Each year they select a vintage marque and update for the current year. Last year they did Duesenberg and this year is PACKARD. Their first exhibit will be at the “Eyes On Design Show” at the Eleanor and Edsel Ford Home in Grosse Pointe on Father’s Day, June 19, 2016.

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13 Comments

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  1. Jack Darnell 16/08/2016 — 06:46

    Aw man, it always amazes me what a creative mind, a dream and a pencil can come up with. To be honest some of the ones the author called UGLY I liked LOL. Amazing the dreams over the years. The creations to me are fantastic.
    The neophyte, not knowing a thing about production and competition, is sure his idea will take off like a rocket, even men with money and backing.

    Oh well, all our old minds are filled with WHAT IF’s.

    Enjoyed the read. Glad you could reproduce it here.

    Like

  2. Jack Darnell 16/08/2016 — 06:48

    NICE change from Politics, which makes one sicker than having a blown engine in a dream car lately!

    Like

  3. Regarding the Exner design for a revival Packard that was made into a scale model by Renwal…There was a very strong rumor that Creative Industries of Detroit was actually poised at one point to build this car in full size. While this remains just a rumor that cannot be confirmed (since everyone associated ith the project is deceased), it is clear that Creative also did some work on Exner’s Stutz Blackhawk. This indeed is something I can absolutely confirm.

    As an addition to this, Professional Car Society’s fine magazine published an interesting photo in 2015 of a 1955 Clipper with odd trim and revised tail lights with fin-like appendages. Instead of usual Clipper trim and badging, this car had “Pierce-Arrow” badging affixed to it. So IF the photo was genuine (claimed to come from S-P’s factory files) one might imagine there was once some fancy on Packard’s part during the Nance regime to revive Pierce-Arrow… which opens up a whole range of other possibilities and thoughts.

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    • Thank you for the additional insight! The Nance-era Pierce-Arrow concept, if (as you point out) it is true, is intriguing. Certainly they were turning every stone trying to find a way to build volume. Regarding the thought of a new Pierce-Arrow during Egbert’s time at Studebaker, I recall that the late Road & Track publisher John Bond via his now defunct Car Life magazine went on a crusade to save Studebaker. He was among those who hoped for a Packard revival, but he also encouraged Egbert to look at a Pierce revival. They published sketches in Car Life of the proposals. I wish someone could dig those up.

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  4. By any chance, could you please show ALL of the Emmet Grandone designs, in a near-future installment?

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  5. Hi, How can we contact Emmet Grandone. Thank You Jim Sandoro Pierce-Arrow Museum Buffalo NY

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  6. As the owner of a 22nd Series vehicle I’ve been wondering about the impact of the loss of Packard on the U.S. and what alternatives might have been available or might still be available, and this article is a wonderful survey of what ideas different people have had, what they have done, and what the results have been. This is a great service and provides food for thought. My initial thought based on reading the articles is that just because a problem has not been solved does not mean that it can’t be solved.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Joseph Packard 26/07/2018 — 15:37

    Hello
    I was wondering what all of you would think about a Packard Truck and SUV to revive the Packard name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for visiting.

      Given that Mercedes is very much into SUVs and Rolls, Jaguar, et al are into SUVs, it seems any Packard revival would need to include an SUV. I wonder if a revived Packard should include a foray into the medium truck market like Mercedes.

      Like

  8. juan molina 11/12/2018 — 15:25

    lograron Rediseñar un Packard mas feo que los modelos 1948-1950!!!
    (They managed to redesign a Packard uglier than the 1948-1950 models!!!)

    Liked by 1 person

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