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The Packard plant then and now

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rrbrucea, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. Highlander, Thank you for adding your insight and perspective on the Packard story,
    and for answering my question about the whereabouts of the concrete grill.
  2. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 4,015


    Sad sad indeed, and unfortunately not uncommon in any larger cities anymore..
  3. 1924 Packard Single Eight Custom Victoria parked in front of the plant on East Grand Boulevard. Note the front entrance in the background.

  4. dos zetas
    Joined: May 10, 2009
    Posts: 175

    dos zetas

    Thanks, Highlander, for your comments on Detroit and the photos which, I'm sure, have inspired lots of netsearches about the Jesse Vincent car.
    I worked for Hudson's Department Store for a while...
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,587


  6. An early postcard of the Packard plant -- the street running from foreground to background is East Grand Boulevard.

  7. toucan
    Joined: Feb 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,083

    from sc

    what a shame.
  8. Rare shot of the Packard overpass over East Grand Boulevard under construction, 1939. Looking north up Concord Ave.

  9. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle

    Here is an update on the property. According to an article in Old Cars Weekly the 40 acre site was sold in an online auction to satisfy a tax lein. A woman in Texas was the high bidder at $6 million. She has 6 months to demolish the buildings or the property will be seized by the local government. It will be interesting to see if she follows through on the purchase.
  10. shawnspeed
    Joined: Sep 10, 2009
    Posts: 165

    from Attica Mi

    Frank, you are a little behind...she defaulted and it went to the 2nd highest bidder, for 2 million, they defaulted , and they are now on the third highest bidder at 450 K....and it looks like this one may stick...Shawn
  11. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle

    Thanks Shawn,

    If it does go through more time will be needed for the demolition than 6 months. This is very interesting to me so post any new info you may come across.

    The same article stated some group is trying to put a stop to the demolition of a Ford Motor Company plant that built Model Ts but FoMoCo says their plan is moving forward.
  12. A local news blog, The Motor City Muckraker, is reporting that scrappers have been trying to take down the water tower at the Packard plant. That could be fraught.
  13. Eric H
    Joined: Apr 2, 2006
    Posts: 973

    Eric H

    Even these are becoming rare. 10 years ago every Monte Carlo and Caprice in Mi and southern Ont wound up in Detroit. Most of them received a lift kit right away (weather 68" rims could be afforded or not) and then promptly crashed in to a pole or pedestrian. Six or seven years ago salvage yards like Ryan's on Hubble would receive 50 of these a week. In 07 some nice young men tried to relieve me of my extremely low 94 caprice in Midtown D. Luckily, their Taurus was no match for my big v8 beast.
  14. Along with the Proving Grounds up in Utica, Packard had a small test track adjacent to the plant. It was roughly near Harper and Mt. Elliott where I-94 runs through now.

    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,587


    A little known fact unless you're deep into the Packard thing, all V-12s from the classic era were driven for 250mi before being released to the customer. The driver then initialed a paper tag or sticker with an "AF" number on it, placed usually on the passenger side glove box under/behind the instrument panel. I've saved a few of those AF tags and placed them back on the new boxes in restoration, but I don't have a picture handy. Perhaps that track shown was better than hauling them out to Utica?
  16. Exactly, that's what I've assumed as well. I think Utica was used more for when privacy and isolation were called for. Thanks for the test tag info, very interesting.
  17. Here is another view of the overpass on East Grand Boulevard under construction in April 1939. Shows much of the same area as the current-day drone video above.

  18. carcruse
    Joined: Aug 20, 2007
    Posts: 952


  19. Slightly stylized architectural rendering looking south to north along Concord Avenue...

  20. gatz
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 1,644


  21. HermanKrieger
    Joined: Nov 10, 2017
    Posts: 2


    I worked in the photo department of Packard during 1943 and 1944, when they build the
    engines for the P-41 Mustang, and for PT Boats. It's sad to see what has happened to
    Packard and Detroit.
    "Detroit, then and now",
    warbird1 likes this.
  22. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle

    Thank you Mr. Krieger for your time posting this important and very interesting Detroit information. If I live to be ninety one years old I hope I still have your ability to recollect my Carolina history.
  23. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,181


    I agree thanks Herman for your piece on Detroit. My grandfather Barney Pollard worked in the Packard Experimental Department from 1913 until Armistice day in 1918 when he went into business for himself (trucking and excavating Downtown Detroit). He worked as an engine tester and worked on the race cars they built in the teens at the Packard plant. We talked about his time at Packard and I wrote about it in a biography I wrote on my grandfather a few years ago. I ended up buying one of the racing engines shortly after he died (the #1 Liberty 299 cubic inch SOHC V-12) and a few bits of what was left of the race car.

    In the 80s I did paint projects for GM in the Gemmer gear building across the way from the Packard Plant (on Mt Elliott). Spent some time walking around the Packard Plant and even stored my sister's 1923 Packard in one of the rental spaces there during the 80s. Not surprisingly it was stolen and never recovered.

    I grew up in Detroit and in the 60s I used to take a bus downtown to Hudsons to shop. If kids made a similar trip like that today their parents would be locked up. Sad what has happened to much of Detroit. Hopefully it makes real comeback.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  24. HermanKrieger
    Joined: Nov 10, 2017
    Posts: 2


    At the top of the building at Packard, where the photo dept. was located, there was a
    storage room filled with spare parts of the Liberty engine that was made by Packard
    during the first World War.

    After I left Detroit in 1950, I worked in the lab of a paint company in California. My
    specialty was formulating lacquers and air-drying enamels for automobiles.
  25. sportster-bob
    Joined: Oct 30, 2016
    Posts: 18


    Probably 30+ years ago now, the local Trans Am club used the property for car shows and I was lucky enough to get to drive on that small test track at the old factory. It was drivable but starting to deteriorate even then. Still a cool piece of automotive history.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  26. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 21,957

    from Michigan

    The bridge from the Packard plant fell on east Grand Blvd... :(
  27. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,231

    from Burton, MI

    I heard about this during my lunch today.
  28. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,945


    from another place on the internets:

  29. johnod
    Joined: Aug 18, 2009
    Posts: 778


    That's sad. Kind of a landmark.
    Deuces likes this.

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