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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Packard Problem Solving

Posted June 02, 2022 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic cars packard

How would you like to have been appointed captain of the Titanic 10 minutes before its fate was sealed by hitting the iceberg? That may seem ridiculous, but it’s not unlike the feeling James Nance, a successful marketing executive, might have had when he was elected Packard Motor Car Company’s President in 1952.

I had the privilege of witnessing Packard’s mid-1950s drama as the young son (ages 7-10) of a Packard dealer. On June 15, 1953, my father Lumir (right, above) and his brother Milton (left, above) acquired the Paris, Illinois, Packard franchise, naming it Palma Motors. The photo was taken a month later, when the Packard zone man loaned them a new Caribbean to serve as the pace car for the horse races at Paris’ Edgar County Fair that week.

Packard had good years following World War II; as late as 1950, it still outsold Cadillac. Most 1950 Packards, however, competed with Buicks and Chryslers, not Cadillacs. Packard had all but ceded the high-price class to Cadillac by confusing customers; the former’s cars had such similar styling that it was difficult to identify high-price Packards as Cadillac alternatives.

That is the situation Nance found himself facing when he arrived at Packard.

Keep reading to discover what happened...

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