Cadillac vs Packard

First…I must acknowledge the 126th anniversary of the birth of Babe Ruth. Although I am not a baseball fan or follower in any way, shape or form, any more, growing up as a baseball fanatic in the city of his birth I was a huge fan of his achievements. From, of all places, The Hollywood Reporter, a picture of The Babe:


See the source image


In On The Wing Wednesday I stumbled onto a comparison of Cadillac and Packard sales. (I readily admit that Cadillac vs Packard is a less “sexy” title than Ford vs Ferrari.) Ever since then, I have wanted to make a table showing the sales/production of both makes from after World War II to Packard’s last year as a real car company, 1956. Here it is:


1946 28,144 42,102
1947 59,436 55,477
1948 66,209 98,897
1949 81,545 104,593
1950 110,535 72,138
1951 103,266 76,476
1952 96,850 62,988
1953 103,538 81,341
1954 123,746 27,583
1955 153,334 69,667
1956 140,873 13,432


As the title of the table reads, this is calendar year production and not model year. I used calendar year to put Packard’s decline into sharper focus. Using calendar year also shows a sharp break from when Packard was competitive with Cadillac to when they became less so. Instead of using a compendium book, these figures came from Cadillac at 100: Legacy Of Leadership and Packard: A History Of The Motor Car And The Company.

Note that in the first four post-war years in total, Packard outsold Cadillac by 27.9% AND outsold Cadillac for awhile even after the tail fins were introduced on the latter. The next four years Cadillac outsold Packard by 41.4%. Of course, in those last three years there is no comparison.

Less than a decade before its demise, Packard was competitive, at least based on these sales figures. Whether the seeds for its eventual destruction had already been sown is a matter for Packard “experts” to debate. Despite all I have read and written about Packard, I don’t think I am qualified to give an authoritative opinion on why Packard failed.

Regular readers know I am a fan of both makes. This picture of a 1948 Cadillac was the spark that got me blogging about cars almost every day.



I have written about Cadillac concept cars like the Elmiraj, the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado was part of Ultimate Garage 2.0, and my wonderful wife and I just purchased a 2015 Cadillac ATS.

Sadly, we can’t buy a relatively new Packard. The 1956 Caribbean convertible was also part of Ultimate Garage 2.0 and I have often written about Packard and other defunct American makes, although not so much in recent months.


See the source image


Cadillac vs Packard, too bad that’s not a current battle in the automotive marketplace.






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9 thoughts on “Cadillac vs Packard

  1. Happy Birthday to the Babe. One of my prized possessions is an autograph of Babe Ruth on a baseball program given to me by my father.


  2. Love that 1948 green Cadillac. I must admit that “Eldorado” and “Fleetwood” are much more attractive monikers than XT4 or CT5. At least they have one model with a name still, the Escalade. I see their soon-to-be-released EV has a name, “Lyriq”. Say, what?


  3. With the my move and recent surge in business projects, I’ve fallen behind in my reading. But, this post makes me think I need to put aside the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg history I had started and pick up one of my Packard histories. I am intrigued by wanting to know all the ins and outs of Packard’s eventual demise. Safe to say, no one thing likely caused the end of Packard, but a series of decisions and events that just made it too difficult for an independent to survive.


    1. Glad to read you have survived your move and that business is increasing. The two seminal works on Packard, IMO, are the acclaimed Packard: A History of the Motorcar and the Company (winner of the prestigious Cugnot Prize) and The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company.

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      1. I will have to add those to my wishlist. I’d assume they are fairly rare nowadays, as I’ve not seen either title ever crop up when I look for old books.
        The 2 Packard books I have are ‘Packard’ from the Crestline series by George Dammann, and The Packard Story by Robert Turnquist, which I recently acquired. The Crestline book gives a decent accounting of the year-to-year corporate goings on, though it’s a tough slog to read it. I hope the other book is a little more of an easy read and still informative.


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