Monday Musings 51

“We are nothing but raindrops on a windshield.”

OK, who made that remark? Jerry Seinfeld to Michael Richards in an episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, a series which I believe has now been discontinued.

People who take themselves very seriously have lost perspective on the world, I believe.

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Could anyone have imagined in 1975 that on this day in 1995 Chrysler Corporation would open a car dealership in…wait for it…Hanoi, Vietnam? Obviously, many Americans, especially many veterans who served in the Vietnam War, were opposed to Chrysler’s action. Chrysler Vice-President for International Operations Tom Gale said, “By starting business here we feel we’re helping the healing process. We have consulted with veterans groups and the U.S. government. Some feel it’s time to move on. Many of the veterans groups support American investment in Vietnam as an outlet to increase access to the country.”

Chrysler had intended to eventually build factories in Vietnam, but the Vietnamese government refused to give up rice pasture land for the construction of new production facilities and so I don’t think such plants were ever built. The Wikipedia article about Chrysler factories, both open and closed, does not list any Vietnamese plants.

Since abandoning rigid adherence to a centrally-planned (socialist/communist) economy in the mid-1980s and moving to a market-based economy, Vietnam’s economic growth has been impressive although the country remains far from wealthy. (Did you know that Vietnam is the 15th most populous country in the world with a population just shy of 100 million?) Could anyone in 1975 have imagined that Vietnam would have a market-based economy with a fully functioning stock exchange and that its largest export market would be the United States? History is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.

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From this post:

 

From The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company by James A. Ward:

 

“The news of Packard’s demise was announced on July 13 [1958, emphasis mine], but nobody at S-P [Studebaker-Packard] took responsibility for it. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal ran retrospective pieces, emphasizing Packard’s past, and explained its death by saying that S-P’s ‘destiny is tied to smaller cars.’ The Times pointed out that with Packard’s demise, only 16 remained of the 2,700 nameplates that had appeared since 1893. Business Week headlined its story ‘Ask The Man Who Owned One’ and compared the fall of Nash, Hudson, Packard, Willys, Crosley, and Frazer to the disappearance of automobile companies in the depression.”

 

Of course, the 1957 and 1958 model Packards were really just badge-engineered Studebakers. Still, this was the day after which the glorious Packard name would no longer have a place in the automobile industry. From a Pinterest account a picture of a 1956 Packard Caribbean hardtop:

 

See the source image

 

Maybe one of these days…

 

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4 thoughts on “Monday Musings 51

  1. This may force me to move my book on Packard up in my reading list. As I recall the reasons Packard disappeared are complex and many. Among them…
    the polarizing bathtub design, resources focused on developing the auto transmission which delayed development of a V8, declining build quality
    product dilution with lower priced lines

    All contributed to Packard losing credibility as a luxury marque, especially compared to V8 powered Caddies, Lincolns and Imperials (as was mentioned in comments on a previous post).

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    1. I have an (unhealthy) obsession with defunct American makes although the intensity has waned a bit in recent months.

      Ironically, the last year of real Packards—1956—may be the best of the bunch. The make’s demise is an unfortunate piece of history.

      Like

  2. Beautiful Packard. It would be on my list of 100 for sure. You may have noticed I’ve been quiet here lately. Two passings and two Celebrations of Life have put me on the road and in hotels for the first time since the Pandemic took hold (passings not related). In any case, I was pleased to see how the hotels and restaurants have been handling their reopenings here in the upper midwest.

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