The little known Packard Motor Company, previously known for high-quality, luxury automobiles manufactured before World War II, is on the cusp of its revival.
James Ward Packard and his brother William started Packard Electric Company in 1890 to make carbon arc lamps. In 1893, they teamed up with George L. Weiss, an investor in Winton Motor Carriage Company, to form Packard & Weiss.
The first Packard car debuted in 1899, and in 1902, the company became known as Packard Motor Car Company.
Now, the company has opened a new plant in Medina, Ohio several weeks ago and is going to be producing a 1934-style convertible as its flagship product.
In record amounts, handcrafted cars were shipped to Europe, where they matched up well with brands like Rolls Royce and Mercedes Benz. They were priced nearly 2-3 times more than their American counterparts.
But how did the little known brand wind up back in business? It started in 2019 when Scott Andrews, an internet consultant, was on his way to work when a car on sale caught his eye. Unfamiliar with its make, he reached out to his dad, an experienced car mechanic, for insights.
When he asked his father if he had ever heard of a "Packard", the discussion began and Andrews "fell in love with the Packard history," he told Cleveland.com.
“What really impressed me was that most of the innovations made in the automobile were patented and brought to the market by Packard," he said. Now, the Packard revival hinges on Andrews.
Andrews, a watchmaker, learned that J.W. Packard was also a watch collector. He noted the coincidence. He then found out that his alma mater, Cleveland State University’s James J. Nance Business College, was named after the last President of Packard Motor Car Company.
“Pretty cool I graduated from the business college he helped start,” he said. He has since worked with a friend "12 hours a day" to hand-make a copy of the 1934 convertible for display in a local store. They have since moved on to lobbying local officials to open a Packard manufacturing facility in town.
"The iconic Packard will be available with the latest technology in engines, with myriad options to make each vehicle truly unique," the report says.