George Mason, who ran Nash and merged it with Hudson, originally wanted to hook up with Packard. Some sources say that Mason wanted to merge even more of the independent automakers in order to create a critical mass of a viable competitor to the Big Three. Packard president James Nance was interested until it was clear that he wouldn’t be running the new show. Mason went on to create American Motors out of Nash and Hudson and Nance eventually had no choice but for Packard to merge with Studebaker. The difference between Nash and Studebaker was that Nash was in much better financial shape. The Studebaker-Packard merger ended up combining their weaknesses instead of their strengths. Within two years, by 1956, the sprawling Packard plant on Detroit’s east side would produce its last car. Though the Packard brand continued for a short while, it was slapped on badge engineered Studebakers made in South Bend and most Packard aficionados consider the 1956 models to be the last true Packards. The final Detroit built Packard rolled off the line 56 years ago today. Here is a Caribbean convertible, a Patrician sedan and a couple of Clippers, the lower priced nameplate that many insist started Packard’s decline in the late 1930s. The photos were taken at the 2012 Cars R Stars show at the Packard Proving Grounds.
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