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      Car History: Car History Year 1920
    Posted on Sunday, September 26 @ 21:46:57 UTC by Cars
      Cars Choosing a suitable name for a new car company must have been a vexing task for the hundreds of so-called entrepreneurs in the Twenties, as proposing to set up an automobile producing business had been a lucrative method of selling stock and raising millions of dollars to fund the business since the turn of the century. Spurred on by the successes of people like Ransom E. Olds (Oldsmobile and Reo), William C. Durant (Buick, Chevrolet and General Motors), Henry Ford and many others in making persona! fortunes out of the fledgling auto industry, the crooked speculators took full advantage of the boom, and the naivete of investors.

    During this frantic time, almost every name that would look good at the head of a certificate had been used (some more than once) and the names of US automobile companies registered run the whole gamut of the alphabet, from Abbott-Akin to Zip (both of whom, coincidentally, didn't survive 1914). Prospective manufacturers named cars after themselves: Hupmobile, Cord, Duesenberg, Maxwell, Nash etc., etc. Cars were called after the places they were made: Auburn, Michigan, Detroit, Muskegon and many others, and after figures from history, myth and legend, as with Pontiac, Lincoln, Cadillacand Mercury. Sometimes the names simply reflected certain qualities that the maker wished to be associated with his product: Peerless, Inter-State, Endurance and Flyer are good examples. This practice was carried over into model delineations and remains with us to this day, providing some of the most striking examples of the marketing strategist's art with titles such as Eldorado, Thunderbird, Voyager, Pacer and Mustang. Human nature being what it is, however, the most common practice was for a car maker to call his car after himself, so it was with James Ward Packard. Packard had purchased a Winton Waggon in the closing years of the nineteenth century - and he was not happy with it. Mr. Winton was unwilling to make the alterations that Mr. Packard suggested might improve matters and so Packard decided to build a better car himself - and he did. The first Packard had a single-cylinder, 7hp motor, two speed transmission and chain drive, with some novel features including an automatic ignition advance system. In 1900 some fifty cars were produced, and in the Fall of that year the company was incorporated, two employees of the Winton Waggon company having defected to join! Early customers included William D. Rockefeller - another defector from Winton's - and the company's slogan "Ask the man who owns one," reflected the confidence they had in their product. New models followed thick and fast, always featuring technical improvements and always selling well. The marque enjoyed success in speed trials, and on the race track, and Packard's stock soared in value. During World War I the company produced the Liberty aero engine which was widely regarded as the finest aircraft engine yet produced. By 1916 their first twelve-cylinder model had arrived - the first in volume production anywhere in the world. Priced initially at a base of $2,600, the Twin-Six would remain in production until 1923, by which point better than 35,000 would have been sold. In 1924 a straight-eight replaced the Twin-Six and sales continued to improve - to the point that Packard's lawyers had to deal with a number of cases of breach-of-copyright relating to registered Packard features. By the time old Mr. Packard died, in 1928, the company was one of America's leading prestige auto manufacturers and the Packard family crest was adopted as the badge as a mark of respect for departed merit. All Packards were now straight-eights but the threat of the forthcoming V16 engine from Cadillac prompted the return of the twelve-cylinder engine in a new and improved form and producing 160hp, complemented, in 1932, by a 110hp Light Eight that lasted only a year. Packard's sales had collapsed during the disastrous period of the early 'thirties; at the time that they were producing what many consider to be their finest automobiles. By 1935, Packard had produced a range of lower-priced automobiles that was to prove its (temporary) salvation. These "Junior" Packards pushed sales over the 100,000 mark in 1937 but some consider them to have damaged Packard's up-market image. It is certainly true that, as sales of the Juniors increased, sales of the big Packards fell away correspondingly. The Twelve was discontinued in 1939 and production of the Senior Eights effectively halved over the next couple of years. !n 1941, Howard "Dutch" Darrin produced a smart and forward-looking design which was named the Clipper; it was hoped this might provide a much needed boost to sales as the entire line was beginning to look distinctly outdated. The Clipper was a resounding success and outsold all other models in the range. In 1941, Packard built more cars than Cadillac and during World War II they sold the machine tolls for the production of the old Junior and Senior models to the U.S.S.R., to become the Z.I.S. After the war, the only model offered was the Clipper in various forms, and the company folded in1958. Specification PACKARD TWIN SIX Engine Cast iron - 4 cylinders in line Displacement 180 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3 3/8 x 5 ins. Horsepower 55 Body styles Sedan; Cabriolet; Tourer; Roadster No. of seats 2-5 Weight (lbs) c. 2,600 lbs Price $1,795 - $2,650 Produced 23,600 Specification ESSEX Engine Cast iron - 4 cylinders in line Displacement 180 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3 3/8 x 5 ins. Horsepower 55 Body styles Roadster; Tourer; Cabriolet; Sedan No. of seats 2-5 Weight (lbs) c. 2,600 lbs Price $1,795 - $2,650 Produced 23,600
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