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.