Ask the Man Who Owns One: Packard Ads from 1908-1953

Packards were the dominant luxury vehicle in the first half of the twentieth century. Here are some of our favorite Packard ads from the magazine.

A car ad.

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Packards were the dominant luxury vehicle in the first half of the twentieth century. Here are some of our favorite Packard ads from the magazine.

Advertisement for a Packard Eighteen car from 1908
Packard Eighteen
October 31, 1908
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This Packard Model Eighteen was one of the first Packard ads carried in the Post.


A Packard Twin-Six car advertisement
Packard Twin-Six
June 10, 1916
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The Packard Twin-Six claimed to make “the twelve-cylinder car the world’s standard of automobile sufficiency and value,” and could be yours for less than $3,000.


A Packard car ad from the late 1920s
August 6, 1927
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“Like the beautiful proportions of Eastern architecture which centuries have been unable to improve upon, Packard lines have set a standard which the whole motor industry has been unable to more than copy.”


An ad for the Packard Twin-Six, a car from 1932. The automobile is on a road lined with trees.
Packard Twin-Six
October 8, 1932
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“Packard takes each individual Twin-Six to its Proving Grounds and there, on the world’s fastest concrete speedway, scientifically breaks it in.”


A Packard car ad from 1934. A drawing of a tree is behind the vehicle.
June 2, 1934
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In 1934, Packard tried an early version of “social media,” creating a booklet with the names of people in the local community who had bought Packards. “Ask them the questions given, and any others you may think of. Then follow their verdict.”


An ad for a Packard covertable. From 1940.
Packard Convertible Victoria
March 30, 1940
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This Packard Convertible Victoria “boasts no less than 160 horsepower. The most powerful 8-cylinder motor in any American passenger car whispers beneath its bonnet.”


An ad for the Packard custom convertable from 1941.
Packard Custom Convertible Victoria
March 22, 1941
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“The Electromatic Drive, for example, is a revelation in simplified automatic driving. The clutch operates itself with uncanny skill…And available in all closed Packards, at extra cost, is a sensational new Packard “first” — real, refrigerated Air Conditioning!”


An ad for the Packard Clipper car. The car is in front of a beach house with affluent people nearby admiring it.
Packard Clipper
June 1, 1946
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Packard had an early hand in co-branding. This ad features “Two star performers: the globe-girdling Pan American Clipper and the beautiful new Packard Clipper.”


A Packard car ad. Three automobiles are superimposed on an image of ballerinas.
Packard Patrician, Packard Convertible, Packard Mayfair
April 11, 1953
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This Packard ad features Alicia Markova, “Universally Acclaimed World’s Greatest Ballerina,” although she is neither interacting with nor endorsing Packards. Packard stopped making cars five years later, in 1958. The last Packard ad ran in the post in February of 1957, after the company had purchased Studebaker and changed its name to Studebaker-Packard.

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  1. The self-levelling Packards were the 1955-56 models which used a torsion-bar suspension. I think there was an electric motor or something that varied the tension on the bars and thus adjusted the ride height of the car, in defiance of varying passenger loads or weight in the trunk.
    Chrysler Corporation cars had a torsion-bar front suspension for a long time, and the front ride height was adjustable in the front, albeit with a wrench. This was just considered a shop adjustment, however.

  2. It’s kind of brutal how the market place has weeded out cars that in my opinion deserved to live. Studebaker and Packard were both innovative and stylish brands and yet by the ‘50’s had had their best days. Much more recent is the demise of Plymouth and Pontiac. This of course had an influence on my own car buying. I had the idea if I could get some of these companies to supply me with a Mercedes or BMW my “kiss of death” car ownership could help them easily get rid of some formidable competition but so far they’re not having any of that. And it still seems to work; try getting a Buick Regal.

  3. Thank YOU as well, Jennifer. There are a lot of seemingly endless possibilities for more auto features like this. There are some auto features the POST did online earlier this decade that would be “new” again now, like Diana Denny’s Studebaker feature in 2011. Be sure though you refresh the comments section so new ones can be added.

    I’d say all makes are good sources of material. 43 years ago (’74) the POST ran a beautiful Chevrolet Monte Carlo ad. Shortly before that they ran an ad for a new Impala coupe, but in fact inadvertently created an ad for the ’57 Bel-Air coupe instead. Woops!

    Another idea might be a series on defunct makes like Mercury, Plymouth, Oldsmobile and Pontiac. Also, auto company ads for war fighting machines during World War II from all makes.

    Dave, I think you’re thinking of the 1955-’56 (final) Packards. GM tried level-air suspension with not-so-hot results on some of their 1959 models, and it was quickly dropped.

  4. I don’t remember the year, but does anyone remember the self-leveling Packard?

  5. Thanks, Bob! We appreciate the accolades from a “car guy”! Let us know if there are other auto-related vintage ad series you’d like to see.

  6. I love them all Post Editors, but my favorite has to be the green ’34. My verdict is that it’s spectacular, sleek and sexy. Look at those running boards with the spare tire just in front of the door, and that roof line. The perfect blend of sporty and formal, Packard style.

    The two oldest ads had that cool cursive-style logo I wish they had retained longer. In the 1927 ad, I love that exotic locale more than than the car. The ’32 performance track ad was unusual and very effective.

    The differences between the ’40 and ’41 are extensive. The ’41 has a strong Lincoln look but is distinctively Packard. The ’48 looks like it was the trend-setter Hudson, Mercury AND Lincoln soon followed.

    The ’53 Caribbean convertible was every bit the exotic competitor to GM’s 1953 Eldorado and Buick Skylark limited edition beauties. The all-new ’55 & ’56 models were beautiful too. After that I (shhhh) kind of like the 1958 Packard- Bakers, and of course all the Golden Hawks. Studebaker had the 2 + 2 ‘pony car’ concept years before the Mustang. Packard had a great run from 1899 to 1956, despite its unfortunate ending.


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