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Oh, my, what an antiquated concept...

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  • Oh, my, what an antiquated concept...

    Dick Quinn was tidying up his office the other day and forwarded some materials regarding James Nance, the last President of The Packard Motor Car Company and the first President of The Studebaker-Packard Corporation. Mr. Nance passed away over the weekend of July 21/22, 1984 at his home in Bellaire, Michigan.

    Nance refused to discuss Studebaker-Packard for many years, but finally consented to interviews and reflections later in life. He spoke to The Packard Cormorant magazine for an interview in 1976.

    When factors combined to start Packard's final descent into oblivion in early 1956, Nance was asked if he had considered approaching then-President Dwight Eisenhower about -ahem- "intervening" in the corporation's affairs. This was about the time when former General Motors man Charlie Wilson was appointed to head up Defense Department procurement and steered defense contracts to his former employer, cancelling many that had been Packard's.

    Said Nance, "I knew President Eisenhower and could have approached him, I think, but I never asked him for any favors. I really don't think you ought to ask the government to bail you out."

    It would appear that more than Mr. Nance's earthly remains were interred during his funeral. 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.

  • #2
    Interesting and very true. Asking for favors is one thing, asking for a fair playing field is another. Different times. Not sure allowing an automobile company (or two) to die, putting thousands out of work and negatively affecting the economy was a noble plan either. If only he had made a dinner reservation in D.C. with a famous chef preparing a quality meal (heh, heh) and a had a couple drinks with Ike one night, the outcome may have been much different....at least for a while.

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    • #3
      I believe it was the Eisenhower administration that arranged the marriage of Curtis-Wright and Studebaker-Packard with the agreement C-W would get more government defence contracts.

      Craig

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
        I believe it was the Eisenhower administration that arranged the marriage of Curtis-Wright and Studebaker-Packard with the agreement C-W would get more government defense contracts. Craig
        That's correct, Craig, but it apparently wasn't at the hand of Jim Nance! <GGG> 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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        • #5
          I, for one, admire his position. Ford said NO to the most recent bail-outs and it appears to have been great for the company.
          Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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          • #6
            Bail out studebaker!!!

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            • #7
              LOL. One can only bail so fast. No one was gallant enough to go down with the ship...
              Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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              • #8
                I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Nance here in Houston at the 1984 Packard National Meet, as a member of the meet committee. He addressed the convention & spoke very well on the subject of the current auto industry on which he was still well informed, and on his time at S-P. He died just a couple of weeks later.
                I am currently dealing with a Packard curse he brought with him to F**d- the "tele-touch" transmission shifter on the Edsel I recently bought. It was even more trouble prone on Edsels than it was on Packards. I got a sweet deal on a solid, loaded '56 "400" a few years ago because it had the same problem.
                Barry'd in Studes

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
                  ...It would appear that more than Mr. Nance's earthly remains were interred during his funeral. BP
                  COTTON PICKIN' RIGHT! (Is there an echo in here?)

                  John

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                  • #10
                    Regarding the Nance interview which appeared in the Cormorant, way back in '76 - does anyone have a copy of this? It sounds like it would be interesting to read Mr. Nances memories of his time at Packard and Studebaker-Packerd.

                    Thanks,
                    Eric DeRosa

                    \'49 2R-5 (original Survivor)
                    \'63 R2 Lark (the money-pit-mobile)
                    \'60 Lark Convertible (project in waiting)

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                    • #11
                      I first became acquainted with James Nance through a highly unflattering portrait of him by the automotive author, Ralph Stein. It was many years before I began to find out more about him and to appreciate the way he held the fort positioned at the corner of Rock Circle and Hard Spot Way.

                      Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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                      • #12
                        Yes, it really was a different world.
                        I submit though, that Mr. Egbert was plenty gallant enough to do down with the ship, and to go down looking good too.
                        I believe I've met men cut from that cloth, but they'd learned to keep their heads down and not get involved with the management of large departments and big companies. We've had what you might call a climate change.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by comatus View Post
                          I submit though, that Mr. Egbert was plenty gallant enough to do down with the ship, and to go down looking good too.
                          I believe I've met men cut from that cloth, but they'd learned to keep their heads down and not get involved with the management of large departments and big companies.
                          Mike, you turn my head calling me out like this. But thanks for the flattery.
                          Proud NON-CASO

                          I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor...it is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

                          If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln

                          GOD BLESS AMERICA

                          Ephesians 6:10-17
                          Romans 15:13
                          Deuteronomy 31:6
                          Proverbs 28:1

                          Illegitimi non carborundum

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                          • #14
                            It is often said , "don't speak ill of the dead" . Also , "if you have nothing nice to say,
                            don't say anything at all " . So if I was Mr Nice Guy , that would be the end of this .

                            But Bob Palma quoted " when factors combined to start Packards final descent into
                            oblivion in early 1956 " , well therein lies a tale to be told , largely down to Nance.
                            He came aboard Packard in mid 1952 and was hired as an organiser and salesman.

                            Packard production for 1951 - 100,312 cars
                            1952 - 69,921
                            1953 - 89,730
                            1954 - 30,965
                            1955 - 55,517
                            1956 - 28,799
                            1957 - 4,809
                            1958 - 2,622
                            So it seems that after an initial spurt in production , Nance presided over a nearly
                            60,000 unit drop in sales . At the same time , Studebakers 'sales' were down by
                            over 80,000 units . This of course led to the 'merger' , likened as " two drunks
                            helping each other across the road " . At least he tried to get Packard back up
                            but the totally botched 1955 and 1956 Packards , killed the Corporation for cash .

                            Not helping during this period was the all out war between GM and Ford that saw
                            cars shipped to Dealers even though they had not been ordered . All Independents
                            suffered heavy losses at this time . Then there was good olde Mr Wilson who was
                            ex-GM . In his new role in charge of Defense , guess where most of the money went.
                            Not to Packard or Studebaker , that's for sure . The bail out when it came was too late .

                            So my point is that rather than 1956 , Packard was dead in the water in 1954 , desperately
                            in hope that Studebaker sales would offset Packard losses , which of course they didn't .
                            The only hope was that Packard had enough money to buy Studebaker , introduce their
                            new line for 1955 , a mammoth undertaking as it turned out and Studebakers would sell in
                            1955 , which they did up 50,000 units . Who says that chrome won't sell cars ?

                            So as an organiser and salesman , Nance was a failure , no wonder he didn't want to talk
                            . CRUISER .

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                            • #15
                              Thanks, cruiser. My 55 fish mouth appreciates the support
                              Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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