Ask The Man Who Owns One

At the recently completed Mecum auction in Monterey, California, auctioneer extraordinaire Jimmy Landis said, “Ask The Man Who Owns One” while making the call when a Packard was on the auction block. Seemingly, very few people understood the reference.

“Ask The Man Who Owns One” was Packard’s ad slogan for decades. On this day in 1956, Studebaker-Packard President Harold Churchill announced that the Packard make would continue for 1957, but as a badge-engineered Studebaker (he didn’t use that phrase) built on the Studebaker President Classic chassis. Of course, that announcement was very late as at that time new model year cars were often first available for sale by September of the previous calendar year. From the Studebaker Drivers Club site, a picture of a 1957 Packard Town Sedan:


See the source image


Packard made history in the 1957 model year as the first (and only?) make to supply all of its cars with supercharged engines. All 4,809 Packards produced in 1957 were equipped with a supercharged Studebaker 289 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 275 HP/333 LB-FT of torque.

In recent months I have not written about Packard and other defunct American makes as much as I had previously. They don’t tug on my heartstrings quite as much as they used to, but I would still like to own a car made by such a make.


Speaking of Monterey automobile auctions…this Hemmings piece summarizes the results of all of the auctions held during the 2021 Monterey Car Week. The piece begins:


“In simple terms, the 2021 Monterey Car Week auctions were pretty big. The take from the five auctions held on the peninsula during Monterey Car Week totaled $321 million with a sell-through rate of 87 percent. At the “catalog” auctions – RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company, and Bonham’s – the overall sell-through rate was 90 percent. The sum total is a big increase from the $245.5M in 2019 (there were no auctions in 2020), but below the 2018 tally of $370M. Perhaps most interesting, though, is the average sale price of $310,295, including a good number of motorcycles and memorabilia at Mecum.”


Speaking of Mecum, the company proclaimed the Monterey auction to be the “most successful daytime auction to date.” It reported a sell-through rate of 80% (Hemmings reported 77%) and total sales exceeding $57 million. The highest price for a car that sold was for this one:



This 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari sold for $3.41 million all in. I don’t like dealing in hypotheticals, but if I could truly afford to buy a car like this, I would probably be tempted to do so. What about you?

Have a great weekend…







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Monday Musings 73

“Ask The Man Who Owns One”

That was Packard’s famous advertising slogan, which was used for decades. I don’t know why this Hagerty article from December showed up in my email last week, but it’s titled, “If you want to buy Packard, ask the man who owns it.” The piece is about Roy Gullickson, who purchased the rights to the Packard name in 1992 and then spent many years trying to revive the brand, but only succeeded in building one prototype. Here is a picture of said prototype:



It’s difficult to show a flattering perspective of this car, in my opinion. From the Hagerty article,


“…[A]s impressive as the Packard Twelve prototype is from an engineering standpoint (certainly up to historic Packard standards) it could not be considered widely attractive. Trying to evoke the 1940s Clipper makes it look a bit dumpy awkward. To be frank, Dick Teague did a much better job evoking the traditional Packard grille in the Predictor than Gullickson’s team did with the Twelve.”


I don’t know if a sale has happened since December, but Gullickson put the “assets” of the company on sale asking $1.5 million. As much as I have lamented the demise of many American automobile makes in this blog, especially the independent ones, I don’t think any of them could be successfully revived. Very few people under the age of 40 have heard of Packard or Studebaker or probably even Oldsmobile, for that matter. The names simply do not resonate, anymore.

What do you think?



Kerbeck Corvette near Atlantic City, New Jersey has been the largest Corvette dealer in the country for years. (No, the picture wasn’t taken at Kerbeck.) Therefore, it came as quite a shock to read that Kerbeck has agreed to sell three of its dealerships, including its Corvette store, to Ciocca Dealerships.

My wonderful wife bought her first Corvette from Kerbeck in 2015. The salesman could not have been more pleasant, nor less pushy. Supposedly, virtually the entire staff of Kerbeck Corvette will stay under the new ownership. I probably will always think of that dealer as Kerbeck Corvette, not that we are ever going to buy a car from them again.

Perhaps in a sign of the times, the last three Corvettes we have purchased were not from dealers in the state in which we were living. I never saw my Z06 in person before I bought it. Welcome to the 21st century, I guess.








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Tuesday Notes

Belated condolences to the family of John McCain. Regardless of one’s political inclinations (or lack thereof), I think McCain’s service to his country should be appreciated.


In this post I mentioned a book called “Ask The Man Who Owns One,” which was a famous ad slogan for Packard. Well, you didn’t think I would discover the book’s existence and not buy it, do you? Remember, I have an unhealthy obsession with defunct American makes.

In this blog I have argued that the famous saying, “If you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door” is often incorrect. Apparently, Henry Joy—longtime Packard president in addition to having a large ownership stake—agreed. Joy once wrote to James Packard (co-founder of the company), “We cannot make a success of this business by hiding our light under a bushel. It seems to me that anybody in this business has to make a demand for his goods by making a constant noise about them. In addition, of course, the goods must have merit, but no matter how meritorious, they will disappear from the ring unless pushed before the public with the greatest possible vigor.”

In the classical economics model, information is free and its transmission is frictionless. In the real world, people won’t buy something, regardless of quality, if they are unaware of its existence. People are also not omniscient, regardless of what those blinded by ideology think.

In honor of Packard a photo of a 1955 Caribbean convertible I took at a local auto show. Sorry, 56packardman that it’s not a 1956 model.

Another Packard picture:

See the source image

From a picture of a 1931 Packard 840.

See the source image

From a photo of a Packard ad with the famous slogan. Note the year.

While Packard was never a high-volume manufacturer, it did produce over 1.6 million vehicles in its history. For a long time, Packard was revered as a standard of luxury and excellence. Hopefully, the latter quality will never go out of style or out of fashion.

For those interested in reading more about Packard, I highly recommend The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company by James A. Ward.


If you’re reading this after clicking on a link from the Studebaker Drivers Club or Packard Info, welcome. Please feel free to bookmark the blog URL,, and return often.