Gear Head Tuesday: Packard’s 100th Anniversary – 20 Years On

Gear Head

In 1999 Packard enthusiasts celebrated the Centennial of the founding of the company by James Ward Packard and William Dowd Packard in Warren, Ohio 100 years prior. The Packard brothers made electrical equipment and cables prior to adding the automobiles. Packard Cable later became a part of General Motors. The brothers built their first Packard car in 1899 after buying – and being unhappy with – a Winton. Amazingly, the first Packard still exists and is drivable!


James Ward Packard

1899 Packard

William Packard at the wheel of the first 1900 Packard built. This became his personal car.


“Old #1” being driven circa 1930.

An investor group led by Henry Joy – who had also bought one of the first Packards – was responsible for the company moving from Warren, Ohio to Detroit. Albert Kahn designed the plant, one of the very first reinforced concrete buildings built in the U.S.

The 1999 Centennial in Warren was a splendid affair. Hundreds of Packard vehicles graced the event. Roy Gullickson was attempting to revive the Packard car and brought the running – and nicely finished prototype – of his new Packard Twelve to Warren.

Gullickson's Packard

The 1999 Packard Twelve prototype

Unfortunately for all who would like to see the Packard marque revived, Gullickson had managed to do what many thought to be impossible: build a car uglier than the 1948-1950 “bathtub” Packards. He had also alienated his key clientele by threatening lawsuits against anyone using the Packard name in any way. Alas, Karma seems to have bitten Gullickson and his ersatz Packard never got past the one running prototype. The Gullickson bit of nastiness aside, the Centennial was a grand event. “Packard Truck Dave” participated, too. Here’s his account: 

“My good friend Ted Valpey had his son in law Alfred haul my 1920 Packard truck out to Warren, Ohio in 1999 for the Packard Motor Car Company’s Centennial.

I was approached by Terry Martin who had brought his 1900 Packard car to Warren, however it did not run. Terry asked me asked me if I would consider putting his car in the back of my Packard truck for the parade through Warren of Packard vehicles.

I said “Sure!”

So in a totally usafe manner we backed the Packard up to an embankment, improvised ramps and ‘Viola!’ “

1920 Packard truck w:1900 Packard aboard.png

“Packard Truck Dave’s” 1920 Packard truck with Terry Martin’s 1900 Packard aboard at the Packard Centennial in 1999, Warren, Ohio


Vintage Kodachrome Photos of Gas Stations

kodachrome photos of gas stations-boston

This Sinclair station in Boston had a taxi fleet that operated from the premises.


Henry Payne is a Conservative political cartoonist AND the automobile writer for The Detroit News. Attending the Detroit Auto Show, he came up with this:



Add yours →

  1. Eric Butler 22/01/2019 — 01:03

    Thank you very much for taking us all to our ‘happy places’ in every issue you put-out. Never underestimate the importance (as well as the fun) your contributions are. You’re making people smile (!) as well as think.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. el modelo 1948-1950 realmente era muy feo!!!mal diseñado!!bello el Packard Clipper 1942-1947!!!de donde venia y por desgracia lo destruyeron!!!con semejante Bañera!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. C.S. Marshall 22/01/2019 — 12:24

    Great article! I learned a few things that I didn’t know before. BTW, Studebaker had it’s centennial in 1952.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another bit of history I did not know. Thanks. As Always, it is the pictures that take me back, way back. Hope the New Year is being good to you. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stuart R. Blond 22/01/2019 — 18:52

    Just a short correction – Mr. Gullickson did not bring his “1999 Packard” to Warren. He wanted to do so, but only if the car could be parked front-and-center outside the Packard Music Hall on show day. He was politely informed that parking was “first come, first served.” Since he did not want to park his car at 4:00 am (or what ever time Packard Park was opened up), he made arrangements with the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland to display the car there. They stuck the car in the basement. On Wednesday a bus tour was taken from Warren to Cleveland to visit the museum. Many people took the tour, left the buses, saw the car, toured the museum, and went back to Warren. On show day well over 1,000 Packards were on display; 1,000 stickers were printed up, and they were stuck on the windshields as the cars drove into Packard Park. Once the stickers were gone, the Packards were just waved into the park. Mr. Gullickson could have had his car on the field during the largest Packard show in history — but he didn’t.

    The Packard Club (PAC) made the event in Warren their national convention for 1999, and drew over 1,000 cars. There were other organizations that participated as well – one group headquartered their event in Cleveland, and attracted about 40 cars…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stuart – Thank you very much for this. I had forgotten that important fact from the Centennial. It is consistent with Gullickson’s behavior that he would attempt to dictate the terms for displaying his prototype. The man has a unique talent for alienating the very people he needed to support his effort to re-launch the brand. As ugly as that car is I’m glad he wasn’t able to bring it to market. Its model name should be “Hubris” …

      “They stuck his car in the basement.”

      That served the arrogant b@$t@rd right!


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