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4 comments

Pearl Harbor and the Last 1942 Packard

Posted December 13, 2010 12:01 AM by dstrohl

While recently browsing the Making of Modern Michigan online photo database, I came across this picture of the last 1942 Packard built before the company switched over its factories to the production of war materiel.

Packard introduced its 1942 cars on August 25, 1941, and shut down its automobile production lines at the Detroit East Grand Boulevard plant just a couple months after Pearl Harbor, on February 9, 1942. As indicated by the sign held above the Clipper in the photo, Packard re-tooled to produce 1,350hp 4,000-cu.in. marine V-12 engines destined for PT boats as well as Rolls Royce Merlin aircraft engines for P-40s and P-51s. According to Dammann and Wren in their Crestline book on Packard, toward the end of the war the company was even researching and developing gas turbine engines.

If nothing else, this photo makes one realize just how much of an impact Pearl Harbor had on the country and just how quickly things started to change afterward.

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Guru
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#1

Re: Pearl Harbor and the Last 1942 Packard

12/13/2010 10:25 AM

In case you can't read the sign . . .

"Here's the last Packard

'Til we win the War

It's all out on Engines

To even the score!"

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Guru
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#2

Re: Pearl Harbor and the Last 1942 Packard

12/15/2010 7:25 PM

With no production of civilian vehicles during the war, what did all the car dealers do?

Join the army?

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Anonymous Poster
#3
In reply to #2

Re: Pearl Harbor and the Last 1942 Packard

12/24/2010 7:15 AM

They went to work in the service department sand blasting spark plugs since you couldn't get any new ones. Haven't seen any vehicles with fuel rationing stickers on the windshields yet. Now I'm revealing my age darn it ! Anybody who owned a junkyard in those days could afford cigars and owned a Cadillac. Remember going there many times for almost any auto parts because new just wasn't available. The GM factory where I lived was making Wildcats and Avengers. I can remember sitting in school in the classroom watching the Wildcats with folded wings crossing US Route 1 to the airport across the highway from GM and running the engines up for take off. The teacher had one heck of a time trying to keep the boys from looking out the window at the planes taking off. Some of those pilots were probably former car salesmen.

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Guru
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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Pearl Harbor and the Last 1942 Packard

12/24/2010 1:12 PM

I am very curious where the GM plant was located... both aircraft being Grumman products. I have to admit that you have me beat by a few years. I was one of the first baby boomers (1946). I confess that I am a closet WWII historian though.

In my home town, there was a marine air training base. When they pulled out, they left a couple of SNJs? which were non flyable. I am not sure about the SNJ designator, but the army designator was the T-6 Texan. All the control surfaces still worked, so as a 10 year old, we would ride bikes out to this remote corner of the airport, climb in the cockpit, and shoot down all sorts of Japs and Nazis. Those were the days.

Bill

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