As Motec Said, Packard basically stopped in the mid 50s (their name carried on for a bit).
what you might not know is the factory is still there in downtown detroit, basically derelict since then. There have been some portions of it used from time to time, but mostly its used to dump rubbish and it gets set on fire every couple of years on halloween.
Every couple of years it gets sold off, but the cleanup is so monumental that the city ends up reclaiming it for lack of payment on the property taxes
The Packard plant site is a 40 acre site quite close to the center of Detroit. Its one of those places that people from outside detroit think they can make money due to the proximity of the plant to downtown.
only trouble is that this area of town is still pretty rough. A big factor in that is because of a crumbling set of factory buildings that are used for illegal dumping, drug deals etc. It's a pretty rough location and not somewhere that most people who live in Detroit would go very near. I lived in Detroit for four years and even with an interest in cars, I never went there. There are better ruins to go and see that are safer and easier to get to.
Instead of a shopping mall, some parts of the site may get re-vitalized for other purposes but you would need to spend millions to clean up the entire site to get people to go near it, especially after dark. Like other urban renewal projects, the site is polluted from its time as a working factory, but also as a dumping ground.
Another thing to note is that this an older style factory complex with many separate buildings rather than one big one. Compared to say a model T ford, Packards were largely hand built as befitting and automobile of that stature. There is a bridge over grand blvd where they used to send the cars back in the day. I know when I lived there there was fear of its collapse as scrappers had taken some of the metal from it.
There is a guy from Peru who is the latest person who is having a go. My bet is the Packard plant will break him as it has broken others before him. I think he paid about USD$450k for the entire site.
I do wish him luck. The city of Detroit has a character that many cities lack and I would like to see projects like this succeed.
The Packard story is one Mercedes should study carefully. one of the ingredients of their downfall was cheapening their brand with lesser models. This of course wasn't the only reason, but it did expose them far more to competition with mid range brands where their production cost wasn't comparable and took the lustre off the senior packards.
I had a bit of a query with some restorers of American cars not all that long ago. It was suggested that I seek their advice as to the best Re-chromers in the Sydney and NSW areas for some Rover Coupe rear bumper bars that I wanted to get done. It turns out that these people get all their chroming done in the States - well, they simply purchase whatever they want already chromed. It is meant to be far cheaper, even after cost of postage etc.
I was quoted $750.00 plus repairs for each bar and decided to go on with it. Regards Styria
Hi Bryce, those Concours Classics as featured in your jalopy blogs are simply amazing. I can't even begin to tell you how beautiful some of those cars are. As I have hinted from time to time, I wish that I was young enough, and rich enough, to become involved with the American cars of the late '40s, '50s and '60s.
Geoff, the video on the Cadillac and Packard is fabulous. It is now part of my 2500 plus collection of videos on my PC system. Regards Styria