In 1999 Packard enthusiasts celebrated the Centennial of the founding of the company by James Ward Packard and William Dowd Packard in Warren, Ohio 100 years prior. The Packard brothers made electrical equipment and cables prior to adding the automobiles. Packard Cable later became a part of General Motors. The brothers built their first Packard car in 1899 after buying – and being unhappy with – a Winton. Amazingly, the first Packard still exists and is drivable!
James Ward Packard
William Packard at the wheel of the first 1900 Packard built. This became his personal car.
“Old #1” being driven circa 1930.
An investor group led by Henry Joy – who had also bought one of the first Packards – was responsible for the company moving from Warren, Ohio to Detroit. Albert Kahn designed the plant, one of the very first reinforced concrete buildings built in the U.S.
The 1999 Centennial in Warren was a splendid affair. Hundreds of Packard vehicles graced the event. Roy Gullickson was attempting to revive the Packard car and brought the running – and nicely finished prototype – of his new Packard Twelve to Warren.
The 1999 Packard Twelve prototype
Unfortunately for all who would like to see the Packard marque revived, Gullickson had managed to do what many thought to be impossible: build a car uglier than the 1948-1950 “bathtub” Packards. He had also alienated his key clientele by threatening lawsuits against anyone using the Packard name in any way. Alas, Karma seems to have bitten Gullickson and his ersatz Packard never got past the one running prototype. The Gullickson bit of nastiness aside, the Centennial was a grand event. “Packard Truck Dave” participated, too. Here’s his account:
“My good friend Ted Valpey had his son in law Alfred haul my 1920 Packard truck out to Warren, Ohio in 1999 for the Packard Motor Car Company’s Centennial.
I was approached by Terry Martin who had brought his 1900 Packard car to Warren, however it did not run. Terry asked me asked me if I would consider putting his car in the back of my Packard truck for the parade through Warren of Packard vehicles.
I said “Sure!”
So in a totally usafe manner we backed the Packard up to an embankment, improvised ramps and ‘Viola!’ “
“Packard Truck Dave’s” 1920 Packard truck with Terry Martin’s 1900 Packard aboard at the Packard Centennial in 1999, Warren, Ohio
This Sinclair station in Boston had a taxi fleet that operated from the premises.
Henry Payne is a Conservative political cartoonist AND the automobile writer for The Detroit News. Attending the Detroit Auto Show, he came up with this: