November 06, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1899 : First Packard is completed

James Ward Packard, an electrical-wire manufacturer from Warren, Ohio, first demonstrated his interest in automobiles when he hired Edward P. Cowles and Henry A. Schryver to work on plans for a possible Packard automobile in 1896. Although a functional engine was completed in 1897, it would take another two years, and James Packard's purchase of a Winton horseless carriage, before his company fully flung itself into the burgeoning automobile industry. In 1898, James Packard purchased an automobile constructed by fellow Ohio manufacturer Alexander Winston, and Packard, a first-time car owner, experienced problems with his purchase from the start. Finally, in June of 1899, after nearly a year of repairing and improving the Winston automobile on his own, Packard decided to launch the Packard Motor Company. On this day, only three months after work on his first automobile began, the first Packard was completed and test-driven through the streets of Warren, Ohio. The Model A featured a one-cylinder engine capable of producing 12hp. Built around the engine was a single-seat buggy with wire wheels, a steering tiller, an automatic spark advance, and a chain drive. Within only two months, the Packard Company sold its fifth Model A prototype to Warren resident George Kirkham for $1,250. By the 1920s, Packard was a major producer of luxury automobiles, and this prosperity would continue well into the late 1950s.

Posted by Quality Weenie at November 6, 2006 07:50 AM | TrackBack