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Packard5687
08-21-2018, 11:01 AM
The last of the Studebaker-built Packard cars was assembled on 19 August 1958:
https://56packardman.com/2018/08/21/gear-head-tuesday-the-bitter-end-of-packard

mike cenit
08-21-2018, 11:30 AM
It didn't have to be, that picture of the red Hard Top in 56packardmans story shows you what they could have continued to make in Detroit while making the middle priced Clipper in South Bend as it was, they would have had a complete line of the old restyled line Packard coming out of Detroit and the start of the Studebaker shared body with the Clipper line. They could have closed Connor and built the Packard line in East Grand Blvd.

Warren Webb
08-21-2018, 12:28 PM
With the sales volume they had at that time they could have built everything in Detroit (both Connor Ave & East Grand) & closed South Bend. Even the foundry that Packard had was newer.

mike cenit
08-21-2018, 12:35 PM
WW, connor was a mess, if they did your "Detroit Plan" they should have brought the senior stuff back to East Grand , and really stepped the line up, the 400 and up, they had the 4 door, the Hard Top, the convertable, and the 4 door Hard Top in the works, 20,000 or 25,000 high end cars would have worked for them, then they could have had a joint body at connoe and figured out how to be in the truck business somewhere

Hallabutt
08-21-2018, 03:07 PM
Ah dreams of what could have been! In the real world Packard was dead, as were all the independents. Any course of action that Packard or Studebaker would have taken was nothing more then a temporary staying action, forestalling the inevitable. The GM and Ford competition and economy's of scale, had for all intense and purpose, destroyed independents last remaining markets. AMC's Rambler made a valiant effort at establishing the compact car as an option. Studebaker followed the lead, forestalling the inevitable. Once the Big Three focused on that market, that too would disappear. For the luxury marques it was even worse. Cadillac had become so dominant that there was little market share remaining, and certainly none for Packard.

mike cenit
08-21-2018, 03:36 PM
Hallabutt, in the end you a likely correct, it's really how they battled to keep their head above water, Packard may, repeat may have has a chance going up scale like say Rolls Royce, a smaller Mercedes Benz, Studebaker unless they figured out how to become the Big 4 had little chance to make it, with South Bend, LA, and NJ all running flat out, who knows

stephenj
08-21-2018, 05:12 PM
What did Studebaker or Packard make in NJ?

Packard5687
08-21-2018, 07:58 PM
It didn't have to be, that picture of the red Hard Top in 56packardmans story shows you what they could have continued to make in Detroit while making the middle priced Clipper in South Bend as it was, they would have had a complete line of the old restyled line Packard coming out of Detroit and the start of the Studebaker shared body with the Clipper line. They could have closed Connor and built the Packard line in East Grand Blvd.

Amen, Michael! Another thing: I've never understood why they didn't negotiate to be able to continue to build engines and transmissions at Utica. Everyone knew that, even as great an engine as it was, the Studebaker 289 V-8 was at its practical capacity limit while the new Packard V-8 had lots of room to grow. The unbuilt '57 Packards would have had a 440 cubic inch V-8.

Packard5687
08-21-2018, 08:02 PM
What did Studebaker or Packard make in NJ?

I am not aware of Packard ever building anything in NJ - but I vaguely recall that Studebaker did final assembly in New Jersey for a time on some cars that were essentially kits with the bodies having been built in South Bend. I'll do some digging and see if my memory is correct. It seems to me this operation, if it existed at all, was short-lived.

mike cenit
08-21-2018, 08:05 PM
Studebaker built a new plant in the 50's in New Brunswick, that they never opened

Packard5687
08-21-2018, 08:10 PM
Studebaker built a new plant in the 50's in New Brunswick, that they never opened

Thank you, Michael!

mike cenit
08-21-2018, 08:20 PM
Again Packard 5687 it was a Studebaker assembly plant, same concept as LA, or Ford and/or GM plants all over the country. Studebaker built it before the merger but the plant I guess could have been used for a joint body program. Point is they had the ground work in place Studebaker with LA and NJ assembly plants, the home plant in South Bend, with all the facilities needed to feed all assembly needs. Packard had East Grand Blvd, Connor and Utica, all they needed to support a upscale brand. Facility wise they were geared up to become one of the Big 4, Nash was still only in Wisconsin, Hudson in Detroit and Kasier in Willow Run, and Willys in Toledo none of them had the facilities S-P had to grow the business. If 1955 would have been a real good year for S-P who knows what the future would have been. I believe instead of looking to a merger with American Motors they should have look to Willys, it was a good match and perhaps a road back to government business.

Packard5687
08-21-2018, 08:43 PM
Michael - I appreciate the insight into that New Jersey plant. As you saw in my guarded reply to the person posing the question, I had it in my head that Studebaker had a plant in New Jersey but I wasn't pulling up the details out of the memory bank. I'm not confident that I ever knew anything more than a plant had been built there.

mike cenit
08-21-2018, 09:22 PM
5687: small note, seems like 100 years ago, but when I was going to school at FDU in NJ I interned at the S-P zone office on Rt 9W in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and got to read lots of the old files, including old Packard stuff about Connor, Utica etc. That New Brunswick plant was a result of the big sales year in 1950, I'm not sure but I think they hoped to get it up and running for the 100 year mark. There were bunch of problems, especially material shortages due to the Korean war, sales getting soft and defense contracts going away. In retrospec Studebaker always had good sales in PA, NJ and NY they should have rolled the dice and opened it to service the area.

stephenj
08-21-2018, 09:46 PM
I didn't know that they had a plant in NJ that was never in operation but did know that there was an operating plant in Hamilton Ontario from 1947 until 1966.

mike cenit
08-21-2018, 10:07 PM
Actually they did make some Jet Engine parts there, no cars, then sold it to a company that made copper wire. It was a good sided plant about 1M sq ft. a few years ago there was a fire there, it may be gone

Packard5687
08-22-2018, 01:06 AM
Michael - re the NJ Studebaker plant - for 1950 Studebaker built more than 300,000 (320,000?) cars for the model year. They never hit that number before or after. It's sad how they collapsed after the so-badly botched roll-out of the '53s.

8E45E
08-22-2018, 06:47 AM
Studebaker built a new plant in the 50's in New Brunswick, that they never opened

Did Studebaker actually build anything on the property other than erect a huge sign?

I thought they acquired it as raw land, and when the realization came a number of years later where it wasn't necessary, they sold it as raw land.

Craig

mike cenit
08-22-2018, 07:04 AM
5687, there are so many reasons for them going out of business, I'm a cost accountant, and on the accounting side you can blame management for allowing the cash flow to go negitive, or poor exacution of the "bell curve", people like blame the fenders on the 53 roll out not lining up with the body on the coupe and so on. In the end everything has a life, even corporations. If you go back to what was the Fortune 500 in 1935 and review the list of companies there is likely not 10 or 15 percent of the companies on it still around. No Packard, no NY Central, no Railway Express, no Westinghouse, no TWA and so on, all gone. Studebaker planned and did many things right, the NJ plant is a good example, it was a positive step to grow the business and establish market share in the rich and densely populated Northeast, chances are a Southern plant was planned. Maybe if they got into the early Lark years a strong healthy company things might have been different, but by 1959 they were tired and worn out, even if they learned to live with the Big 3 and became the Big 4 they had yet to face the Asians.....I guess like many fine company's their time was done, you can look around and see it all over...did anyone ever think growing up that there would be no Woolworth? Anyway it's fum to think what was, and what could have been and so on....remember if there was still Studebaker there be no SDC.

mike cenit
08-22-2018, 07:10 AM
Craig; as I posted above the plant was completed, and was 1M sf ft plus,finished sometime around 1951 or 1952, a small part was used to source Jet Engine parts and after they lost the defense contract was sold to a copper wire manufacture, I don't remember their name, and there was a fire there a few years ago and I think it was demoed.

8E45E
08-22-2018, 07:36 AM
Thanks.

I do remember something about that New Brunswick acquisition in Turning Wheels, but after reading it, how unfortunate it was, despite all the postwar optimism and growth projections in the minds of the management of the time, it never got used in the end. Therefore, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to what ended up being a step backwards in Studebaker's progress in the automotive sector.

Craig

mike cenit
08-22-2018, 07:51 AM
It certainly could have been a piece of the start of the end, the land and building the plant certainly cost them a bunch of money, don't forget they owned the Piquette plant in Detroit also, I'm not sure what they did with it, Chrysler used it as a parts plant into the 70's, they may have rented to Chrysler, the company owned lots of property.

8E45E
08-22-2018, 08:01 AM
It certainly could have been a piece of the start of the end, the land and building the plant certainly cost them a bunch of money, don't forget they owned the Piquette plant in Detroit also, I'm not sure what they did with it, Chrysler used it as a parts plant into the 70's, they may have rented to Chrysler, the company owned lots of property.

I think the Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit, which was an acquisition from the EMF days was divested just before WW2, but RQ knows more about that one.

Again, a bad move as perhaps Studebaker should have kept it, being right in the heart of US automotive production, and close to all their suppliers.

Craig

studegary
08-22-2018, 07:41 PM
5687, there are so many reasons for them going out of business, I'm a cost accountant, and on the accounting side you can blame management for allowing the cash flow to go negitive, or poor exacution of the "bell curve", people like blame the fenders on the 53 roll out not lining up with the body on the coupe and so on. In the end everything has a life, even corporations. If you go back to what was the Fortune 500 in 1935 and review the list of companies there is likely not 10 or 15 percent of the companies on it still around. No Packard, no NY Central, no Railway Express, no Westinghouse, no TWA and so on, all gone. Studebaker planned and did many things right, the NJ plant is a good example, it was a positive step to grow the business and establish market share in the rich and densely populated Northeast, chances are a Southern plant was planned. Maybe if they got into the early Lark years a strong healthy company things might have been different, but by 1959 they were tired and worn out, even if they learned to live with the Big 3 and became the Big 4 they had yet to face the Asians.....I guess like many fine company's their time was done, you can look around and see it all over...did anyone ever think growing up that there would be no Woolworth? Anyway it's fum to think what was, and what could have been and so on....remember if there was still Studebaker there be no SDC.

I do not understand the reasoning of your last statement. There was an SDC years before Studebaker stopped production in South Bend, let alone Hamilton. SDC was founded in 1962. Look at all of the one brand and one model car clubs that exist where the brand/model is still produced - Corvette, Mustang, etc.

StudeNewby
08-22-2018, 07:47 PM
I think it's safe to say that if Studebaker had survived, the SDC would look vastly different than it does today. Bigger, smaller, that is open to conjecture.

Georger
08-23-2018, 08:13 AM
Studebaker built a new plant in the 50's in New Brunswick, that they never opened
Pic of New Brunswick Plant:
74992
George Rohrbach

mike cenit
08-23-2018, 06:28 PM
Gary if Studebaker's were still made today the people whom bought them would be loyal to the brand as cusomer's, the members of the SDC today have a common bond so to speak to keep Studebaker's on the road, exchange info, maintain friendships etc. Clubs involving Mustang's, Corvette even Jeep Wranglers have kind of a bond relating to(in a broad sense) activities.

Dwight FitzSimons
08-24-2018, 08:19 AM
Studebaker apparently was too loyal to the South Bend plant, which was antiquated and inefficient. Studebaker's top management made some decisions emotionally rather than rationally. A newer, more efficient, and better located plant on one level elsewhere would've helped Studebaker get their per-unit manufacturing cost down.

Just for the record, Westinghouse is still in business.
-Dwight

mike cenit
08-24-2018, 09:25 AM
Good point Dwight, as I said above I interned at a Studebaker zone office in NJ when in school, they had a lot of studies in regards to multi and single level plants. They had a ton of field experience on the subject from Packard with their move from East Grand Blvd to Connor. One of there lenders It may have been Chase Bank was beating them up about the old multi story plants. The bank believed they could not make money in their (old) multi story plants. One of the interesting point is they had some studies that stated the main issue with multi story plants vs the newer single story plants is "transportation", for example with the right conveyers they could paint a body as cheap on the 5th floor of a plant as they could on the first floor.

It certainly would have been better for them with newer plants, remember they had Chipawa, a million plus sq ft facility and after jet engines left never really used it all, they made trucks there, and station wagons, and even had a Lowey design studio there, but it was never fully used. Of all the files I read I never found why they didn't use it, they certainly got it cheap from the government after the war. They also had and could have retained modern plants after the war in Chicago and Ft Wayne, but they didn't.

In my view it was likely the management/labor relationship that caused the company to make some real mistakes, and in a business that burns money a few mistakes can compound to where it goes down and can't come back. BTW Westinghouse is now a division of Toshibi.

stephenj
08-24-2018, 11:24 AM
I don't see what all these plants you mention have to do with the end of Packard. All of them were gone before Packard bought Studebaker. Piquette in the 30's , Chicago & Ft. Wayne were owned by the Government, New Brunswick was never opened and sold in 1951 Vernon ceased its production (assembly) of +_ 65 cars a day in 1954.

studegary
08-24-2018, 12:26 PM
I don't see what all these plants you mention have to do with the end of Packard. All of them were gone before Packard bought Studebaker. Piquette in the 30's , Chicago & Ft. Wayne were owned by the Government, New Brunswick was never opened and sold in 1951 Vernon ceased its production (assembly) of +_ 65 cars a day in 1954.

1956 model year cars were assembled in Vernon (LA), so it had to be at least calendar 1955 before "Vernon ceased its production." This would be after the Studebaker and Packard merger (Oct. 1954).

mike cenit
08-24-2018, 02:23 PM
The point being if Studebaker had used that structure to grow their business after the war (if they could), they would have brought a more solid company into the merger with Packard. With two healthy companies combining it's reasonable to assume investment would have been able to be made in future Packard's (and Studebaker's) instead of bleeding money to keep them a float. The WW 2 plants were really a missed opportunity, Chicago and Ft Wayne, they could have been bought cheap, like Henry J did, )or even Tucker) in Willow Run for a fraction of building new plants, LA was there and had the structure to become a solid west coast plant, NJ was completed and used for Jet Engine parts never cars, and Piquette stopped working for Studebaker in the early thirty's, you may be right that they sold in in the thirty's, it may have been later, but it was worked into the 70's by Chrysler.