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Classic Car Ads: The Packard

Published: March 21, 2011

The Packard automobile was a work of art—as were some of its ads.

Packard Car Ad – April 25, 1903


Packard Car Ad April 25, 1903

Packard Car Ad
April 25, 1903

The first Packard ad in The Saturday Evening Post appears to be from April 25, 1903. J. W. Packard, his brother and a partner founded the company in Warren, Ohio in 1900. Cars were built one at a time in these years of automotive infancy. In fact, Packard partner, G.L. Weiss had been a major investor in the Winton Motor Carriage Company and owned Winton #4. (Imagine having a car with the serial number “4”). Five Model A Packards were built in that first year of 1900. To show what the 1900 Model A could do, partner G.L. Weiss and Packard made a highly touted test: they drove it from Cleveland to Buffalo in 13 ½ hours. Of course, the under 200-mile journey would take a little over three hours now, but this was still the horse and buggy era, with very few paved roads. As a promotion for the new car, the feat was a success.

Packard Car Ad – September 18, 1926


Packard Car Ad September 18, 1926

Packard Car Ad
September 18, 1926

This gorgeous ad from 1926 suggests the grace and agility of a thoroughbred. A 1932 ad had an oriental scene at the top to show how Packard was supreme in over sixty countries. In Shanghai, “Packard cars outnumber—by more than two to one—all other makes of comparable price combined”. Automobile ads were becoming a work of art themselves. As were the autos.

Packard Car Ad – March 17, 1928


Packard Car Ad March 17, 1928

Packard Car Ad
March 17, 1928

Packard ads of this era liked to tell us a story from history – in this case, the ancient forging of the 105-foot high bronze statue of Helios in 280 B.C., and then show how they carry on the grand tradition. “In one of the world’s most modern foundries Packard precision parts first take form under scientific control. Every detail of temperature and the blending and pouring of metals into the intricate moulds is carefully checked.” However it was created, the resulting convertible is a thing of beauty. Prices in this 1928 ad range from $2,275 to $4,550 with “individual custom models from $5,200 to $8,970, at Detroit”.

Packard Car Ad – March 25, 1939


Packard Car Ad  March 25, 1939

Packard Car Ad
March 25, 1939

“Three American Faces You Know at a Glance” this ad confidently touts. “A 1939 Packard presents to the world one of the proudest and most distinguished faces that ever graced a motor car.” This was the new Packard Six. Remember: “When you drive a Packard, the whole world knows it’s a Packard”. Gotta love that grill.

Packard Car Ad – July 7, 1941


Packard Car Ad July 7, 1941

Packard Car Ad
July 7, 1941

By the 40’s, the car was more streamlined in style, like this Packard Clipper from 1941. This 4-door sedan would set you back $1,375. This featured “fade-away fenders”, front fenders that “fade” into the center of the car. “It’s beautiful—and permits increased body width with no increase in overall car width”, the ad noted.

Packard Car Ad – Wizard of Ah’s


Packard Car Ad Wizard of Ah's

Packard Car Ad
Wizard of Ah's

By 1948, the proud Packard was even sleeker. Love the copy: “Designed by the Wizard of “Ah’s!” Cars are getting smarter: “Press a button and the top lowers or raises. Another button moves the front seat forward or backward! And ALL four windows have magic push-button control!” If you were looking for more of a family car, no doubt you were more inclined to the “Station Sedan” at the bottom of the page. “All steel, finished in Northern Birch”.

The Packard is still “with us” not only through these old ads but through a number of Packard clubs around the world today.

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  • Frank James Davis

    Wow!–the stately automobiles, artistic ads and intriguing commentary have all been a distinct pleasure to peruse.