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A 1904 Packard from The Henry Ford Museum Collection

James Ward Packard built his first car in Warren, Ohio in 1899. By 1903 a group of Detroit investors had purchased the company and moved the operation to a new factory in Detroit. At the same time engineer Charles Schmidt redesigned the new 1904 Packard after taking a trip to Europe that year to learn of the European automaker’s methods. He observed the more advanced and refined cars there and put into practice much of what he learned in the new car. His efforts resulted in the new Model L touring car, the first four-cylinder Packard and also the first with the tombstone-shaped and vertical style radiator that went on to become a Packard trademark.

The photos shown here courtesy of the The Henry Ford Museum showcase a rare surviving 1904 Packard Model L from their collection. More can be learned about this car in an interesting accounting of it at the bottom of this post in an article from the December 2, 1903 issue of The Automobile. Further information and photos from the Rod Blood Collection can also be found in an earlier post here on The Old Motor. 




8 responses to “A 1904 Packard from The Henry Ford Museum Collection

  1. Does anyone know about the trademark radiator script? Almost everyone who owns a first or second series has it on their radiators but I can’t find it in scores of contemporary snapshots! Is this something after the fact or was it a sanctioned accessory at the time?

  2. Donald

    It is my understanding that the Packard script was supplied on cars sold overseas. Apparently those in other countries needed help in identifying Packards that Yanks didn’t.

    The Packard script predates the auto and electrical businesses. It was used for Warren Packard’s hardware and lumber business. It is used on a marker at the family burial plot in Warren, Ohio, but not on James Ward’s monument.


    John Harley

  3. There is something strange about these scripts. If you check period photos you will hardly ever observe a script. If you look at the cars that survived, they very often have a script. If the suggestion would be valid, that the scripts were added to cars delivered abroad, did all these cars come from elsewhere then? This seems unlikely, of course. Besides: the style of the script on the radiator of this Packard is not 1904, but at least 1908: the style of 1904 you can see on the small plaque on the side of the body. This was also the style they used in there period adverts.

  4. The Packard script was first used on the Packard Block, an office building that James Ward Packard built in 1895 on courthouse square in Warren, Ohio.

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