By: Robert E. Turnquist . Published in 1965, acceptable condition. (torn cover - see the image, dedication to previous owner, book itself is in a good condition)
Today with automobiles rolling off Detroit production lines every few seconds, it is hard to believe that not so long ago there were automobiles built to exacting standards, automobiles not produced with planned obsolescence and yearly model changes in mind. These cars were expensive, but they were built to last; no owner would think of having one for less than five years, and he could be confident that at the end of that time it would still be running as smoothly as ever. Today these cars are known as Classics. Yet they are not Classics merely because of sound engineering and solid construction; their coachwork was beautiful in its functional simplicity, and their design was not tailored to meet the whims of a novelty-seeking public. Consequently, even though the majority of these marques have passed from the American scene, the cars themselves have endured and become collectors' items. The king of these marques, both during its production and today, is Packard.
On November 6, 1899, the first Packard was produced. Right from the beginning Packard was aimed at the luxury market, and those purchasing a Packard could be sure that cost had not been a limiting factor in producing the best car possible. Packards soon became a status symbol par excellence, and were owned and driven by such diverse figures as Babe Ruth, Henry Luce, and Tom Mix. Packard automobiles came in a variety of styles, from sporty two-seaters to elegant seven-passenger limousines, each having distinctive coachwork from one of a number of custom body builders. As improvements were developed, Packard made them part of the existing series without waiting to incorporate them into a new model. Owners of earlier models could have improvements put into their cars without charge. Honest craftsmanship and aesthetics (the radiator grill and the enamelled medallions with the Packard crest inspire the same awe among Packard aficionados that an original Picasso does among art collectors) are, however, only part of the Packard story.
Packard helped to make the American automotive industry the undisputed world leader. Packard was the first to trust an architect to design a factory made of reinforced concrete. A Packard dealer was the first to put gasoline pumps on the curb and attendants in uniform, and Packard was largely responsible for automotive advancement, both in design and construction. Unfortunately, the Depression brought a steep decline in the sales of luxury cars and forced those companies that dealt in this field either to price themselves out of business or to produce cars of moderate price. This marked the end of the greatest era in America's automotive history. Gone were the Pierce-Arrow and the Duesenberg; eventually the Packard, after an abortive effort at re-styling, also left the automotive scene.
Robert Turnquist, himself a collector of vintage Packards, has traced the birth, development, and demise of the Packard Company, touching as he goes all those aspects of American life which were entwined with the Packard story. Mr. Turnquist writes of his subject with ease and knowledge, and has even included tips and hints for the restoration of Classic Packards. The text is supplemented with numerous photographs, charts, and specification tables. This book is a must not only for Packard collectors, but for anyone interested in our automotive past and in the fine cars that are no longer with us.
About The Author
Robert E. Turnquist owns Hibernia Auto Restorations, Inc. in Hibernia, New Jersey for the last 20 years. He also owns Classic Cars, Inc. which he started in 1948. This firm manufactures 1925 to 1942 Packard parts. He has been collecting and restoring Classic Packards for 39 years and his library on the Packard Motor Car Company is probably the most extensive in existence.
Robert E. Turnquist is a Charter and Life Member of the Classic Car Club of America. He served for eighteen years as a Director and twelve as President or Vice-President. He has been a member of the CCCA CARavan Commit-for thirty years. He is also a Life Member of the AACA and a member of the Executive Committee of the Morris Museum of Humanities, Arts & Sciences in New Jersey.
In addition to these duties and a demanding job, Mr. Turnquist travels throughout the United States lecturing to automobile enthusiasts on automotive history and restoration. He also contributes to numerous national publications. He and his wife, Sunny, live in Morristown, New Jersey.