Tag Archives: Packard
Cooperstown, New York is best known today as the location of the Baseball Hall of Fame but it had yet to be built when our photo was taken there in the early 1930′s. The town’s location on the south shore of Otsego Lake probably explains the two handsome wooden motorboats sharing the showroom with the pair of 1931 Chryslers and a Packard of similar vintage.
The presence of the bicycle is a little harder to figure out unless the owner of this business saw the need to cater to all the transportation needs of the citizens of his tiny village. He apparently also sold Plymouths, but we have so far been unable to identify the dealership. We hope one of our readers might know it. You’ll find more photos of garages and dealerships from many different eras on The Old Motor. Photo courtesy of the New-York Historical Society.
The hard times of the Great Depression gave rise to a surprising number of innovative automobile designs penned by original thinkers, not the least of which was William Bushnell “Bill” Stout. By applying his thorough knowledge of aircraft construction techniques to his Scarabs, he created a series of vehicles that broke entirely new ground and were years ahead of their time.
Evidence of Stout’s vision became apparent very early in his life. It’s said that he carved one of the first airplane models out of wood at the age of 18 in 1898 and is credited with inventing the rubber band-powered model airplane. He first entered the automotive field with the Imp cycle car in 1913 which, although a successful design, reached the market at the end cycle car craze in the U.S.
After working for years in the aircraft industry that included a successful collaboration with Ford, a stint as chief engineer for Packard’s aircraft division and such significant achievements as the designing the first monoplane with an entirely internally braced wing, Stout re-entered the field of automobile design the early 1930′s. Completed in 1932, Scarab Number One was the result.
It’s design echoed his background in aircraft. An aluminum tube space frame kept weight to a minimum without sacrificing strength. Four wheel independent suspension was provided by high mounted aircraft-style coil spring “oleos” that are much like today’s ubiquitous MacPherson struts, one at each wheel with A-arms pivoted at the chassis center line in front and swing axles at the rear. Although no longer than contemporary conventional cars, it’s interior space was much greater, predating the modern minivan by fifty years.
Stout decried the use of the term “streamlined” when applied to his car stating that “a land vehicle cannot be streamlined.” Rather, he said that aerodynamic principles were applied to the shape of Scarab solely to provide stability in crosswinds. By all accounts, it worked.
Unveiled in 1935, the Scarab II, seen above, was a further development of Stout’s forward thinking design. Although records are sketchy, sources say that nine were built between 1936 and 1939 with an eye toward eventual production. Stout made six coast-to-coast trips in his Scarab II in 1935 to promote the car during his tenure as president of the Society of Automotive Engineers and eventually racked up 89,000 miles it.
There would be a Stout Scarab III produced in fiberglass in 1945 by Owens-Corning plastics engineers R. Games Slayter and Walter Krause in conjunction with Stout. Boasting such innovations as a hand laid fiberglass floor/chassis and the world’s first wrap around windshield done in safety glass, it would serve as the Stout family car until 1951. Previous posts covering the Stout can be found here on The Old Motor, including one showing some rare film footage. You can also see some other aerodynamic experimentals from the same era here.
There may have been some snow on the sidewalk in front of the Consolidated Motor Company Limited showroom on this gloomy winter’s day, but things were much brighter inside. A banner in the window announced that the new 1936 Packards were on display. The February 18th date of this photo was very much in keeping with Packard’s disregard for the annual model change that had become the custom with virtually every other manufacturer. Starting in 1923, Packard used it’s own “Series” designation to denote new models rather than introducing them each calendar year.
The 1935 Packard 120 Club Sedan parked at the curb marks first year of that lower priced line. Many credit this modern looking successor to the Light Eight line and the later 115 with saving the company’s bacon during the Great Depression when demand for their more luxurious cars declined. It’s style contrasts with the classic proportions of the 1933 or 1934 coupe directly in front of it. Packard’s rich history has made it a favorite subject for us here at The Old Motor, where you’ll find almost sixty pages of posts devoted to the brand. Our photo by Stuart Thomson is courtesy of the City of Vancouver.