Monday, March 8, 2010

1951 Packard Patrician



"It's more than a car, it's a Packard. Ask the man who owns one."

In Cuba sometimes you need an good eye to spot the real gems in all the jewels. This inconspicuous Packard Patrician catched our attention along the Carretera Central in the province of Ciego de Avila.

"So far ahead . . . with so much behind it!" For long years, Packard had been one of the most luxurious manufacturers in the U.S., but as a one of the small "independents" it was already doomed to disappear sooner or later. In 1951, when the new top-model Patrician was launched, things didn't look too bad: the new Packard was one of the first cars that featured the new, boxy "Ponton" style with integrated front-fenders at one level with the hood and a curved one-piece windscreen. But compared to the flashy Cadillacs, the Packard style was already way too conservative and unspectacular. Not many customers were willing to pay more for the Patrician, than for a shiny Cadillac Sixty-Two, or a Lincoln Cosmopolitan. The attempt to leave the luxury-niche with cheaper models didn't pay off, and undermined the brand-image. Finally, Packard was assimilated into the Studebaker-Packard Corporation in 1954, and the Packard-nameplate disappeared in silence four years later.

Today, Packards are highly sought-for collectibles. We don't know if this Packard will one day see better days as a restored vehicle, but we think that it deserves to be remembered, at least in a picture.

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