The day I shot the Corvette, I was actually in the scrap yard to find this car, a 1948-50 Packard. The car itself was rough (as you’d expect), with the hood and trunk lid missing, and the straight 8 picked over, but much of the car was actually there. I was very pleased to find the dashboard in decent shape, and decided the clock would be a great focal point… 7:16, perhaps the exact time of death for this old car.
The early post-war Packards were, unfortunately, the beginning of the end for the venerable automaker. In 1948, Cadillac debuted new sleek styling, followed in 1949 by Ford’s modern ‘shoebox’ slab-side styling. The result was Packard, along with other independents, had styling that many derided as ‘the upside-down bathtub’ look. Packard wouldn’t get a more modern style to market until the 1951 model year.
Another blow came in the form of the OHV V8 engines being offered in 1949 by Cadillac and Oldsmobile. Smooth and powerful, the over-head valve V8 quickly became the industry standard. Packard’s straight 8 engine was suddenly very old-fashioned, and a V8 wouldn’t debut until 1955, which by then even Ford had their Y-block available in the low-cost range,
The final blow came in the form of a 1953-54 price war waged by GM and Ford. Having been late to the game with more modern styling, seen as out-of-date with younger buyers, without V8 power and having lost a good part of the upscale market to Cadillac, Packard was unable to compete on cost. Sales of many independent carmakers dwindled and Packard soon merged with Studebaker, which hardly prolonged the inevitable.
The above image was shot in Scarborough, Ontario with a Nikon D3200, 18-55mm lens at 27mm, ƒ8.0, 1/125, ISO 250. It was cropped and sized in Photoshop, and processed with help from Topaz Adjust. The original shot is below. And as always, a print can be ordered by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.