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  • cruiser
    replied
    BP ,
    A very good reply and in some ways I agree with you . Nance inherited a Company
    that had a corporate culture that was not dynamic and failed to move with the times.
    But he did have a window of opportunity to turn things around . He made some bad
    decisions , got some suspect advice and also had bad luck . I compare the 1955 Packard
    introduction to the 1962 Avanti introduction where things done in haste oft go awry .

    I don't compare the Nance performance to Egbert because he had cash and Egbert
    didn't . Egbert was of course suffering his health problems which downed him mid flight.
    I realise that the benefit of hindsight can 'colour' our views and as always , it is easier to
    reflect on the past compared to trying to predict the future . Just ask GM and Chrysler !

    But don't get me wrong , I love the 1955/56 Packards ( heck , I even love the 57/58's)
    and when they went together WELL , they were a great car . But the process of bringing
    them to the market was SO heavily flawed . Nance unfortunately must shoulder the blame.

    I agree we could go on for hours ,so lets just be happy that the whole Corporation didn't
    just fall over and die in 1956 and we got 10 more years of production which included
    some of the most interesting cars ever put to market .

    CRUISER

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  • BobPalma
    replied
    Originally posted by cruiser View Post
    So as an organiser and salesman, Nance was a failure; no wonder he didn't want to talk. CRUISER .
    I'll strongly disagree, based on the benefit of history and my father's recollection of the matter. My Dad is an excellent marketing man and, of course, was a franchised Packard dealer during all of Nance' tenure. He always spoke well of the man, even though production delays kept him from getting any new 1955 Packards, any at all(!), until February 3, 1955.

    That said, so much of what Nance faced is exactly what Sherwood Egbert faced almost a decade later. No sane person would blame Egbert for Studebaker's production and sales demise after 1962; heaven knows, he was doing all he could to bring the Avanti to market and pump excitement into the whole line, not to mention the dealers.

    We could go on for hours about the various factors that all but sealed Nance's and Egbert's respective fates, but I believe each man gave it their best shot. Yes, each man made mistakes that we have the luxury of evaluating in hindsight. However, that they weren't successful reflects not so much on either man, but on situations they inherited that no mortal could have been expected to ameliorate.

    In my never-so-humble opinion, of course. <GGG> BP

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  • warrlaw1
    replied
    Thanks, cruiser. My 55 fish mouth appreciates the support

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  • cruiser
    replied
    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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  • Bob Andrews
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • comatus
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • showbizkid
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • 2R2
    replied
    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,

    Leave a comment:


  • Johnnywiffer
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • TX Rebel
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • warrlaw1
    replied
    LOL. One can only bail so fast. No one was gallant enough to go down with the ship...

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  • george o
    replied
    Bail out studebaker!!!

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  • warrlaw1
    replied
    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.

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  • BobPalma
    replied
    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

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  • 8E45E
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:

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