Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Production of the Last Packard Automobile in 1956

This week marks the anniversary of the production of the last Packard automobile in Detroit, Michigan in 1956. The Packard was, at one time, the hallmark of luxury production cars. The company used the slogan, “Ask a man who owns one,” for many years. Since this is the passing of an icon, it seems only right to go and watch the last machine to roll off the production line.  Take your top ten list so you don’t stumble inadvertently into a situation that could cause a tear in the time continuum. So pack your bag and let’s go.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Production of the Last Packard Automobile in 1956.

10 If you go, do not mention the name Cadillac while in the factory. If you do, at best you may not be heard over the noise. At worst, the production crew who have just been told that Cadillac is the reason for shutting the plant will hear you. (Time to try and make them believe you didn’t say Cadillac, Latinus. How about golf? “You know my caddy lacks enough skill to be helpful.” It doesn’t look like it’s working. Hit the fire drill button.)

9 If you go, do not tell Tiny the WWF champ that he missed a spot while polishing the car. If you do, at best, he is thinking of the lunch hour and will ignore you. At worst, Tiny, who just finished being admonished for careless work, will take your comment to heart. (One thing you should know, Lauren, is that Tiny does not take criticism well. In fact, his foreman has been on long term medical leave since he told Tiny to be more careful. Yeah, he’s coming this way. Tine to try out those Nike’s)

8 If you go, do not blow the words to “See You Later Alligator” by Bill Haley and the Comets. If you do, at best the other workers will be singing so loud they won’t notice. At worst, you will be discovered not knowing the words to the number one song. (Not really a big deal, Law, but you can’t make any more mistakes. Better hope you can handle “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis. That one is next.)

7 If you go, do not talk about having a McDonalds Big Mac for lunch. If you do, at best, no one will know what you are talking about. At worst, you will draw attention to the fact that you are not from around here. (The first McDonalds opened in Michigan in 1957, Leal. It opened in Lansing, which is eighty miles north. Don’t worry, the workers just think you are weird, not dangerous.)

6 If you go, do not ask if the car comes equipped with a stereo radio. If you do, at best, no one will understand you. At worst, you will be talking to an engineer who will catch the concept and wonder where you came from. (Stereo radios were not installed in cars until 1969. I think that engineer is in love with you, Leandros.)

5 If you go, do not ask for a color wheel to help decide the color of the last vehicle. If you do, at best you will be ignored. At worst, you will sound like you are mocking the final selection. (You see, Leeroy, it has been decided that the last Packard made would be a black Packard Patrician four door. I think those guys with wrenches want to see you. Yeah, I would ignore them too.)

4 If you go, do not scoff at the price tag of $4190 for the loaded Packard Patrician. If you do, at best everyone will think you are rich. At worst, the production crew will think you are saying the car is too cheap. ( You have to remember, Legolas that $4190 in 1956 would be worth $39, 495 today. So the car was far from cheap but not as expensive as some. The production crew would like to see you outside. No, I’m not going with you.)

3 If you go, do not forget some of the plots of the shows that were popular on TV. If you do, at best, the crew will think your memory is shot. At worst they’ll think you are nuts. (so let’s hope you remember I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, Jack Benny, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Res Skelton, and You Bey Your Life cause these guys just watched a few last night. No Leighton? That’s too bad.)

2 If you go, Do not tell the workers what is in store for the company. If you do, at best they won’t believe you. At worst they will take out the bad news on you. (The company merged with Studebaker, who was in bigger financial trouble. By 1958 although an attempt was made to produce Packards in South Bend Indiana the brand was totally discontinued. Aren’t you glad you didn’t tell them this, Lemuel.)

1 If you go, do not even think about sitting in the last Packard. If you do, at best no one will be able to find the keys. At worst, you will sit with a spot of grease on your pants. (The shop steward is demanding that you pay for the car Leodegan. I think your Visa card will not be accepted. He doesn’t look like someone who you want to argue with right now. Hit the way back button.)

67 comments

  1. Feels like it’s best not to speak when time traveling.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That would seem to be the most prudent course of action.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yallowitz rule. “Don’t say anything.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Or, to dress it up a bit, discretion is the better part of valor.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Nice clothes.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I think that may be a good rule. We’ll call it the Yallowitz rule of time travel. 😁

      Like

      1. I’ll take it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess asking about Sirius XM radio is out of the question too? Great list, John!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That would blow the minds for sure. Thanks, Jill.

      Like

    2. No way I’ll drive a car without Sirius, so I’d really be in trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe you can hum your favorites. At least there would be no inturruptions.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So, is the wayback button on a remote on a chain around my neck or perhaps in my pocket? I don’t think I should get too far from that thing.

    It’s amazing to think about how many brands of cars used to be made in this country. That thing was a beautiful beast.

    I would have liked to have been there (on the other side of the line from Tiny).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For you we have built a special way back button. On one end is a Corona bottle opener and the other end has the button. Yes, you can wear it on a chain. The Packard was the top end luxury car until the 12 cylinder Cadillac was introduced in the 1930s. One thing that killled Packard was GM’s ability to use the same chassis and frames for different car models. Packard had only one frame so it they wanted to introduce a model it required many tool changes. Was very inefficient. Thanks, Dan

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Phew. I guess if I get stuck with Tiny I could offer to buy him a beer. He’s not a mean drunk, is he?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No. He does like to sit on people though.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I’d be OK, I can quote Red Skelton as he was our family’s favourite TV show. We didn’t even own a car until 1960 but we did have a farm truck. I can sing all the words to Blue Suede shoes too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are set for sure, Darlene. Thanks you. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The car looks like it was built like a tank.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It used to be called the “bathtub” or “pregnant elephant” by competition. 😁

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Isn’t that funny! Kinda like the Edsel: seemed like a good idea at the time?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Can I ask Tiny for a crying towel? Such a grand vehicle – what a loss!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He will give you his T-shirt. I woulld pass on getting it next to your face though. Those stains look particularly nasty. Thanks, GP.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. errrr… I think I’ll pass.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good decision

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t get passed what a beautiful car it is compared to what they make now. My grandfather had a car like that he cleaned and shined till it glowed in the dark.

    You always bring a memory up for me John, wrapped in your wry humor. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Memories are an excellent way to live forever. Thanks, Susannah.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How beautifully put.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Gwen M. Plano · · Reply

    As only a car aficionado could itemize! Well done, John. Now I know a bit about Packards. BTW, I feel really proud of myself if I correctly distinguish a RAV from an Outback or CRV. It’s definitely downhill after that. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know the difference. Thanks, Gwen. 😊

      Like

  9. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mark.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. And there’s one top thing to do, John: buy one and keep it in pristine condition. That would be a good investment, considering what Oldtimers go for.
    Enjoy the week,
    Pit

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of these would be a treasure. Thanks, Pit.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    Another good list, John 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Denise.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. John, thanks for this look back at Packard history and humor. My husband is what I refer to as a “KarNutt.” It was my joy to read your blog post to him this morning over coffee. We laughed, chuckled, and giggled our way through your list. Our last vintage car purchase was a 1964 Studebaker Commodore. We’ve had it a couple of years. It was our good fortune the car was a one owner, and he had been meticulous in its upkeep. Nice trip down memory lane!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a great find, Sherrey. I hoe you enjoy it. Do you have others?

      Like

  13. $4,190 bucks huh? I’ll take a six pack . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I owned one at one time. I had plans to rebuild it, but my then show car ate most of the money. (It was a Cadillac.) After i got married they both got sold.

    Like

  15. Cars had so much personality back then…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ll bet it was made from metal, too. My mother’s last car was an Oldmobile, and that thing was built like a tank. It got to the point that I always had to open the door for her, because it was too heavy for her to do it herself. Those cars were built to last. Better not tell the guys on the line about fiberglass.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heavy metal. Those swinging door could be lethal.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. In other words, silence is golden. Man, that sticker price is an eye-opener!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is. Thanks, Jan

      Like

  18. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out another great top ten list from John Howell’s Fiction Favorites blog. This one is the TOP TEN THINGS NOT TO DO AT THE PRODUCTION OF THE LAST PACKARD AUTOMOBILE IN 1956

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Don

      Like

  19. Terrific, John. I wonder where that last Packard is today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope in a museum somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I definitely hope so. Hubby loves the show, Chasing Classic Cars hosted by Wayne Carini. Actually, I have seen the show and it is good. No fluff. He remembers an episode of the Packard. A movie star bought the car, then it went missing for a while. It was found and restored, and is in a collection or a museum somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love the classics. I grew up with many of the collectors items. Being a Detroit kid I was always interested in cars.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lucky you! Detroit- you got both cars and music growing up. I remember some of your nightclub music stories (still jealous). Maybe you have some cool car stories?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I do. Woodward avenue. Drag racing. My 1949 Ford Club Coupe souped up. Man what a life.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes, what a life!! I knew you had a story in there.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I lived American Graffiti only from 1956 to 1959. Then I went off to college and had to grow up.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I loved that movie! At least you didn’t have to grow up till college.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Well, it took a little longer than that but I stopped building racing machines anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. LOL, John. Isn’t inflation a great thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is amazing what happens to money over time.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. It’s evident that you put a lot of research into these, and I really appreciate it. I learn a lot here.

    As a side note in reference to #8: “Alligator” was a term used primarily in the ’30s, ’40s, and into the early ’50s by bands (Jazz & Swing) to denote their followers. An alligator was a person who followed the music and knew all about the music and the players (who played sax, who was on drums, “What about the new trumpet player?”) They would go to clubs every night and sit for hours listening to the music, compare notes, etc. I think in later times they were supplemented by groupies, Dead Heads, and the like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent information. I did not know that. Thanks for the addition, Andrew. 😁

      Like

Put your favorite fiction or non-fiction in writing. I would love to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: