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Thread: Packard plant in the news, but not in a good way

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    President Member BobWaitz's Avatar
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    Packard plant in the news, but not in a good way


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    That is bad news but here is an article to refresh folks memories on how far the site had come and the future plans for the site. Lots of photos but still a long way to go.

    https://www.detroitnews.com/story/ne...ion/110956012/

    Bob
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    President Member tsenecal's Avatar
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    Thanks Bob, I enjoyed the photos. Its a shame that it was left to the scrappers , and the elements, for so many years. It's also a shame that the construction site was left unsecured to the point that a trespasser was killed there. It was a large part of Detroits history, and it's nice to see that something is being done to save it.

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    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    OPPS:

    Fatal hide-and-seek accident not at Packard plant

    George Hunter, The Detroit NewsPublished 1:12 p.m. ET Jan. 14, 2019 | Updated 1:18 p.m. ET Jan. 14, 2019




    The former Grand Trunk Warehouse & Cold Storage facility, built in the late 1920s. (Photo: Google maps)

    Detroit — A 21-year-old man died Saturday, likely after falling down an elevator shaft while playing in an abandoned building — but the facility where the accident occurred was not part of the Packard plant complex as originally reported by police.

    Detroit police sent out an alert Saturday about the incident, in which the man fell to his death while he and a group of friends played hide-and-seek inside the building on St. Aubin near East Ferry. In the alert, police said the building was an extension of the 45-building Packard plant.

    But the abandoned building where the accident took place is nearly two miles west of the Packard complex. Yvette van der Velde, spokeswoman for Arte Express, the development firm that bought the plant in 2013, said the building where Saturday's accident occurred is not part of the Packard complex.
    "We own the property, but it's not part of the Packard plant," she said.

    Detroit police Officer Dan Donakowski, who sent out Saturday's alert about the fatal accident, said he was originally told by department officials that the accident had happened at the Packard plant.

    "That’s how it came out in the notifications," Donakowski said. "That's why we tell people those (alerts) are sent out as preliminary information. We can only go by the information we have at the time."
    Detroit police Sgt. Nicole Kirkood added: "After further investigation, it was determined that the accident didn't happen at the Packard plant, but in a vacant building in the 1900 block of Ferry Street."
    The site of the fatal accident is the former Grand Trunk Warehouse & Cold Storage facility, built in the late 1920s. The building, which stored food for Beatrice Foods Co., was next to the Grand Trunk Western Railroad tracks.

    The facility closed in 2002, and is a favorite haunt for trespassers. Photos of the building are posted on several websites dedicated to "urban explorers."
    Police say a group of friends was playing on the building's ninth floor sometime between midnight and 1:30 a.m. Saturday. When the victim ran away to hide, he likely fell through the elevator shaft.
    His friends looked for him in vain before leaving the building. When they returned the next morning to resume the search, they found his body amid piles of debris inside an elevator shaft on the first floor, police said. The friends then dialed 911.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 01-14-2019 at 07:14 PM.

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Yes, "OOPS"!!!

    He also could have been crushed by a DUMP TRUCK: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...d-plant-window

    Craig

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    President Member WinM1895's Avatar
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    The former Packard plant, located on East Grand Blvd., just south of the Edsel Ford Freeway, is the largest industrial ruin in the world. 95% of it is there today.

    When the Lima Peru developer bought it, he hired a 24 hour security service to keep out the scrappers and to stop people from using it as a trash dump.

    Most of the trash has been hauled away, including the 1961/66 Ford dump truck that was pushed out of the 4th floor of one of the buildings, 1942 Plymouth sedan, several class C motorhomes and dozens of boats.

    Some of the graffiti has been painted out and a canvas replica of the clock and Packard name that was on a bridge that spanned East Grand was installed.

    Google Earth the 35 acre site to see what it looks like.

    There are also before and after pics on the net. The plant opened in 1903 and was expanded multiple times.

    This was the first reinforced concrete building in the US, designed by architect Albert Kahn who then built assembly line buildings for damn near everyone else, including FoMoCo's Highland Park and The Rouge plants.

    btw: 1961/66 Ford trucks look pretty much the same, the only real difference is the grille.
    Last edited by WinM1895; 01-14-2019 at 08:56 PM.

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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    As an aside, the reason there are "dozens of boats" dumped at the facility (and there are) is because they are fiberglass boats. They were stolen with trailers and motors intact and stripped of the salable salvage parts; the metal trailers and the motors.

    The stripped fiberglass hulks have no value, so they are dumped on that property. That's why they don't have any trailers under them or motors on (or in) them. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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    President Member WinM1895's Avatar
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    Bob, how about writing an article about the Packard plant.

    You could add what remains of the Hudson plant, the ruins of the Lozier plant, several Fisher body plants, the Lincoln model L plant, and the first Hudson plant that was formerly the Aerocar plant.

    Rickenbacker plant is still there and it looks to be in very good shape from what I can see on Google Earth.

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetolbob View Post
    That is bad news but here is an article to refresh folks memories on how far the site had come and the future plans for the site. Lots of photos but still a long way to go.
    Two steps back? https://www.freep.com/story/news/loc...GgOhr8RXCV7nZc

    Craig

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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    OMG! 'Just got word (and the photo below) from a friend in Detroit that the famous overhead bridge collapsed today (January 23, 2019). Hope his photo comes through. UGH. BP

    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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    President Member 62champ's Avatar
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    President Member WinM1895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobPalma View Post
    OMG! 'Just got word (and the photo below) from a friend in Detroit that the famous overhead bridge collapsed today (January 23, 2019). Hope his photo comes through. UGH. BP

    WOW, that's a sad sorry sight to see. The bridge was added in 1934 when the plant was enlarged for the upcoming 120.

    In 1937, Fortune Magazine had an article about Packard and the plant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WinM1895 View Post
    WOW, that's a sad sorry sight to see. The bridge was added in 1934 when the plant was enlarged for the upcoming 120.

    In 1937, Fortune Magazine had an article about Packard and the plant.
    "Only" 85 years setting out a bad climate with little to no care for most of that time. Reminds me of the Tappan Zee bridge that is being taken down now. I believe that it was first opened in December 1955.
    Last edited by studegary; 01-23-2019 at 10:04 PM. Reason: corrected date
    Gary L.
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    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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    President Member WinM1895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    "Only" 85 years setting out a bad climate with little to no care for most of that time. Reminds me of the Tappan Zee bridge that is being taken down now. I believe that it was first opened in December 1955.
    The last car assembled at East Grand was a 1954 Clipper.

    There's a photo on the net that shows it heading down the line, behind it employees are removing the rails of the assembly line.

    Packard had lost their body maker, so they ended up having to making their own. It was a FIASCO from day one!

    Packard built a new V8 engine plant in Utica MI (where the test track was), they also moved all the parts there.

    East Grand became a ghost town. It was sold after Packard "folded the tent."

    A friend of mine (StudeRich knows him too) was the parts manager of the Packard Distributor in Kansas City MO

    He told me that the during the first 6 months of the 1955 model run, the Warranty costs were $500,000.00 (!) and this was just in the Kansas City district.

    Twin Ulcer-Matic was the major problem, but faulty Torsion Bar suspension, V8 engine problems and fixing the horrid body problems accounted for most of the rest.

    When Packard folded, the distributor closed. Bob Moss, the parts manager headed west to Los Angeles, where he worked at Frost and French as their parts manager until they closed.
    Last edited by WinM1895; 01-23-2019 at 10:40 PM.

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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WinM1895 View Post
    The last car assembled at East Grand was a 1954 Clipper.

    There's a photo on the net that shows it heading down the line, behind it employees are removing the rails of the assembly line.

    Packard had lost their body maker, so they ended up having to making their own. It was a FIASCO from day one!

    Packard built a new V8 engine plant in Utica MI (where the test track was), they also moved all the parts there.

    East Grand became a ghost town. It was sold after Packard "folded the tent."

    A friend of mine (StudeRich knows him too) was the parts manager of the Packard Distributor in Kansas City MO

    He told me that the during the first 6 months of the 1955 model run, the Warranty costs were $500,000.00 (!) and this was just in the Kansas City district.

    Twin Ulcer-Matic was the major problem, but faulty Torsion Bar suspension, V8 engine problems and fixing the horrid body problems accounted for most of the rest.

    When Packard folded, the distributor closed. Bob Moss, the parts manager headed west to Los Angeles, where he worked at Frost and French as their parts manager until they closed.
    Bill, I've never heard of any particular Torsion-Level suspension problems during the warranty period.

    True, the V8 had oil pump problems due to the associated vacuum chamber (bad design)...and I'd not take issue with anything else in your post, but I don't believe the Torsion-Level suspension presented any unusual or abnormally-high warranty issues.

    "Never say never," of course, but I've followed those cars carefully all my life, and own a 1956 Clipper Super hardtop with Torsion-Level suspension. I've never heard peep about warranty issues. They were susceptible to poor maintenance because they had many grease fittings aft of the front of the car that were overlooked or ignored by "regular" gas stations, but those would not have shown up until years later, when irregular or non-existent lubrication reared its ugly head. BP
    Last edited by BobPalma; 01-24-2019 at 05:09 PM. Reason: added "during the warranty period"
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
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    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Patrick, thanks for posting the photos in #11. I see that the large photo I copied, and which appeared in my post when I posted it, somehow did not make it to the forum topic.

    I'm going to have to check out Imgur, per others' positive reports. I seem to be able to copy and post items already in my computer's files, but not from sources such as my friend's photo sent with his report of the bridge failure, or items copied from The Old Motor.

    Thanks again. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Thanks for the additional news posting, Bob. Interesting.

    I'm beginning to understand the old adage that nothing lasts forever.

    Twenty-four (24) of the new Packard bodies that crossed that bridge during 1953 and 1954 model year production were assembled into new Packards and Clippers destined for, and subsequently sold new by, Palma Motors in Paris IL, my father and his brother Milton's dealership. BP
    Last edited by BobPalma; 01-24-2019 at 03:36 PM.
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    Bob, when Bill (WinM1895) and myself worked at Frost and French we sure did see an awful large amount of Packard Torsion-Level repairs going on with all the switches and sensors failing. But of course in the 1970's, these were way beyond Warranty cases.

    We also had a lot of Ultramatic push button switch failures as well, we used up a good deal of South Bend's Packard Electrical Parts supply on those L.A. Area Packards.

    Unlike myself, Bill has owned several of these late Packards.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StudeRich View Post
    Bob, when Bill (WinM1895) and myself worked at Frost and French we sure did see an awful large amount of Packard Torsion-Level repairs going on with all the switches and sensors failing. But of course in the 1970's, these were way beyond Warranty cases.

    We also had a lot of Ultramatic push button switch failures as well, we used up a good deal of South Bend's Packard Electrical Parts supply on those L.A. Area Packards.

    Unlike myself, Bill has owned several of these late Packards.
    You make a good point, Rich, and I agree. I should have emphasized during the warranty period (or shortly thereafter) in terms of Torsion-Level issues, since Bill was talking about warranty claims.

    I have changed my post accordingly because, as you say, after the cars were way, way out of warranty, Torsion-Level control issues (not the bars themselves or basic suspension elements) indeed reared their ugly heads.

    (Of course, what was the Warranty back then; 90 days or 3,000 miles?) BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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    President Member WinM1895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobPalma View Post
    Bill, I've never heard of any particular Torsion-Level suspension problems during the warranty period.

    True, the V8 had oil pump problems due to the associated vacuum chamber (bad design)...and I'd not take issue with anything else in your post, but I don't believe the Torsion-Level suspension presented any unusual or abnormally-high warranty issues.

    "Never say never," of course, but I've followed those cars carefully all my life, and own a 1956 Clipper Super hardtop with Torsion-Level suspension. I've never heard peep about warranty issues. They were susceptible to poor maintenance because they had many grease fittings aft of the front of the car that were overlooked or ignored by "regular" gas stations, but those would not have shown up until years later, when irregular or non-existent lubrication reared its ugly head. BP
    The electric motor that operated the system went bonkers, the cars would then go down the road with a front or rear rake.

    AFAIK, the 1956's weren't affected by this problem.

    I'm a sucker for punishment, owning over the years 3 '55 Clipper Deluxe sedans all with stick and over, '55 Panama H/T & Clipper Super sedan, 5 '55 Patricians, '55 400 H/T, '56 400 H/T, '56 Caribbean H/T

    I've also owned 3 '47 Custom Super sedans, '39 Super 8 sedan (1703), 1950 Custom Super sedan (used in the VW commercial "where are they now?"), 2 '51 400's, one a Derham with a divider window (formerly Mrs. Earle C. Anthony's), 1952 Convertible, '54 Pacific.

    I've also owned over a dozen Studebaker's, 3 Packabakers, plus many other makes of "old rolling piles of misery."

    Warranty back then was 90 days or 4,000 miles...whichever occurred first.

    btw: While your family was selling Packards, my family was selling Oldsmobiles here in LA LA Land.
    Last edited by WinM1895; 01-24-2019 at 09:14 PM.

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    President Member Stude Shoo-wop!'s Avatar
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    The downward spiral of the Packard plant is a giant leap from grace. It's like seeing a colonel who served in the Civil War fall into dementia, with observers helpless as his fine estate crumbles and mildews around him. His decanter is chipped, his silverware tarnished, his wallpaper peeling in great sheets, and his mind inundated with the sharpest grief. Woe betide the Packard household!
    Jake Kaywell: Shoo-wops and doo-wops galore to the background of some fine Studes. I'm eager and ready to go!

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    President Member WinM1895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stude Shoo-wop! View Post
    The downward spiral of the Packard plant is a giant leap from grace. It's like seeing a colonel who served in the Civil War fall into dementia, with observers helpless as his fine estate crumbles and mildews around him. His decanter is chipped, his silverware tarnished, his wallpaper peeling in great sheets, and his mind inundated with the sharpest grief. Woe betide the Packard household!
    There one nice thing about it, you can go to Detroit and see where your 1903/54 Packard was assembled.

    If you have a Studebaker, you're almost out of luck. Vernon is gone, Hamilton is gone, Detroit is gone, torched by an arsonist while being rehabbed, and sadly...most of South Bend is gone.

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