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Today In History: The Packard Seed Is Planted

Posted in auto industry, Classic, History by Suzanne Denbow | August 13th, 2008 | Leave a Reply |

On August 13, 1898, future Packard Motor Car Company co-founder James W. Packard bought a Winston automobile #12 at the behest of George Lewis Weiss, a friend of James’ brother William Doud Packard. Almost immediately after the purchase, James Packard began to notice several large defects with the vehicle that inspired him to improve upon the design. After sharing his ideas with both his brother and George Weiss [a Winston shareholder], the trio formed the Ohio Automobile Company.

After engineering such innovations like the first production 12-cylinder engine, Packard’s cars quickly gained a strong following both at home and abroad. In 1902, after seeking out wealthier investors to finance their ever-growing company, the Ohio Motor Company became officially known as the Packard Motor Car Company, with James W. Packard at the helm as company president.

After 30 years of overwhelming success, marketing clashes between [what had by then become] Studebaker-Packard and Daimler-Benz ultimately pulled the plug on Packard production. In the late 90’s, Roy Gullickson attempted to resurrect the Packard name by introducing a Packard prototype at the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Despite public enthusiasm, plans for production apparently fizzled. In May of 2007, Gullickson announced all company assets, trademarks, and intellectual properties for up for sale.

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