Re: built in America etc - OT sorta

Mike: I defer to you on most matters - but I can assure you, 100%, no doubt, done deal.....that Packard bought Studebaker. Packard was a much smaller company, but was "gilt edged" with money in the bank despite
falling sales after 1951. They made advances to Studie to gain more outlets and a lower-price line but were rebuffed until 1954 when Studebaker's high overhead caught-up to them and they were nearly broke. "Expert" consulting firms recommended that the buy-out be presented to the public as a merger (like Daimler "merging" with Chrysler), but it was in fact a buy-out, the cost of which and Studebaker losses mortally wounded Packard in short order. (Packard was pretty dumb about it - they took Studebaker at their word that their breakeven point was around 150,000 units and did the audit AFTER the "merger" and found it was 260,000......they sold about 80,000 in '54). A long sad tail well-documented in many books: for the skinny on the business side of it, consult "The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company" by James A. Ward, Stanford University Press, 1995.
Yes, Edsel was originally a stand-alone division when FoMoCo wanted to meet GM headon with Ford-Edsel-Mercury-Lincoln-Continental all as divisions. The handwriting was on the wall for Edsel pretty fast (thanks in part to Robert McNamara who was then head of Ford division, another story of intrigue)......and Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln was constituted with Continental folded-in in '59.
BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE:
Packard was hunting for a new leader starting in 1949 when they kissed Prez George Christopher off (He who was responsible for the restyling of the '41-47 Clipper into the '48 bathtub....and didn't think it needed updating). Packard had 2 primary candidates in mind: James Nance, prez of Hotpoint, and George Romney, who was assistant to prez George Mason of Nash.
Mason was probably the greatest "visionary" of the industry, foreseeing the end of the post WWII sellers market, the rise of compact cars, the need for Nash to "niche market" with the Rambler, Nash-Healey and Metropolitan rather than compete directly with the Big 3. He had been head of Kelvinator (for youngers, Kelvinator made refrigerators and came-up with the idea of shelves in the doors - the Kelvinator Shelvadoor, styled by Raymond Loewy) and was picked by Charles Nash as his successor.....Mason would only accept if Nash would also buy Kelvinator. Hence, Nash-Kelvinator Corp......the reason Nash was one of the leaders in auto air conditioning (introduced by Packard in 1940 but not brought back after the war.....Nash had the first modern heater in the 1930s, the "weather eye" into which air-conditioning was easily added, beating the '54 Pontiac that normally claims to have the first "all under the hood" system).
Mason tried to get his peers at Stude, Packard, Willys, Hudson et al to consider a combined company as a means to survive the buyer's market he saw coming.....but the others thought him daft and vanity got in the way. At one point, Nash tried to buy Packard but was rebuffed by the Packard Board.
Both Romney and Nance were courted to be the new Packard President but Romney wasn't interested and Nance lingered. Packard eventually hired Nance in '53. When Briggs body company (who supplied Hudson and Packard with all their bodies, and Plymouth bodies to Chrysler) was purchased by Chrysler, Hudson didn't have the money to build their own and of necessity fell into the arms of Nash/Mason.
Mason had talks with Nance at Packard and they supposedly had privately agreed that Packard would buy Studebaker, then the two merged companies would merge with each other, i.e. Studebaker-Nash-Hudson-Packard. Shortly after Packard bought Stude, George Mason unexpectedly died. Romney became head of Nash...... he despised Nance and that was the end of those hopes - leaving Packard to squander its money trying to keep Studebaker alive.
EVEN more:
Packard got a new body shell - designed by John Reinhart for the 1951 model year. Assuming it would be years before Packard would need another all-new design, he left Packard and went to Ford where he was the lead designer of the '56 Continental Mark II.
Nance greatly expanded Studebaker-Packard's small styling diviisions: hiring William Schmidt (who had been head of Lincoln styling) as overall director, and Richard Teague as head of Packard Styling (also terminating Raymond Loewy's consulting contract with Studie). Schmid was responsible for the all-new '56 Lincoln design and if you look at the face-lifted '55-56 Packard (still the '51 shell) you'll see many Lincoln-esque features.....indeed the '57 "Packard" was a Studebaker body with even more '56 Lincoln touches.
Anyway......the whole thing came apart and all the cash was gone by June '56. Packard had an all-new car styled and engineered for '57 but didn't have the money to tool it up. Broke and living day-to-day, the Packard factory, proving grounds, engineering, styling, etc., etc. were shut down and sold (Ford bought the proving grounds......using the engine/transmission/axle factory there to house their interior trim division for many years........the grounds were later sold to the US Post Office for a distribution center, but the entrance, garages, "lodge", timing towers etc are a designated historial landmark and are being restored by the Packard Club).
Most of Packard's engineering and styling people were snapped-up by other companies.......a lot of stylists went to Chrysler and a number to Ford. Packard's young chief experimental engineer, John DeLorean, went to GM (every wonder why all those Grand Prix's had Packard grills on them or Firebirds have '53 Studebaker grills and back windows?) James Nance? He was friends with HFII and was hired to head........the new Edsel Division !!!!! And.......surpise surprise.......look at a '58 Edsel and about 50% of it is '57 Packard/Clipper inspired, including the upright grill.. Look at the '58-60 Lincoln/Continental and its very reminiscent of the proposed big '57 Packard.....even the wheelbase is the same.....and the '53 Packard Balboa and '56 Predictor had lowering back glass like Turnpike Cruisers and Continentals There are photos extant of Packard stylists doodling at their tables in '55.....and the doodles look very much like Edsels.....and there's an EXACT rendition of the '60 Edsel front-end in plain view. Well, small world ...... at least we know that the planned '57 Packards wouldn't have sold.
Oh......poor James Nance: he took the rap for the fall of both Packard and Edsel so he didn't have many opportunities left in the auto world.......he moved to Cleveland as head of Central National Bank and started First Union Realty investments: did so well the school of business at Cleveland State is named for him. Robert McNamara left the presidency of Ford to be Secretary of Defense and lead us to glory in Vietnam. George Romney sold a lot of Ramblers.......hired Richard Teague to style some of the best......got into politics and became governor of Michigan. He's supposed to have a son who also dabbles in politics I hear.
Sorry if I left anything out.
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I owned some Studebaker preferred stock bought for me when I was born in 1926. Since the new stock I received after the merger was Studebaker-Packard Corporation stock, I assumed Studebaker bought out Packard. Later it was Studebaker-Worthington Corp., among others, even later.
I am aware of all the fellows you mentioned, but you forgot Iacocca, among the movers and shakers. He and I grew up together in the same neighborhood in Allentown., but he is around five years older. He got me my first job selling hot dogs at his father place, "Yocco's." He also got me in the industry designing cars, after I earned my Engineering degree.

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