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Packard was founded in 1899 by James Ward Packard, a brilliant young engineer who grew up in Warren, Ohio, situated between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

For a time, the now-defunct automaker dominated the luxury market in the United States, outshining even storied Cadillac. Its exceptionally engineered vehicles pioneered a number of what would become standard safety and convenience features. The well-run company managed to weather the lows of the Great Depression when most of its competitors withered, and Packard went on to play a significant role in World War II, building engines for American fighter planes and PT boats. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur even used a Packard Army staff car.

Some standouts in its history are the 1903 Model K Grey Wolf racer, which won fourth place in the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup race and went on to set a land speed record of 77 miles per hour at Ormond Beach, Fla., the 1928 Model 626, known as the Jesse Vincent Speedster, that could reach 130 miles per hour, and the Super Eight model range, considered by many to be the epitome of the company's luxury cars.

Ultimately, competition from the Big Three automakers and a steady decline in overall quality led to the company being absorbed by Studebaker in 1958.

Quick Facts

  • In 2015, a 1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Stationary Coupe by Dietrich sold at RM Sotheby's for $4.18 million
  • A 1934 Packard Twelve 1108 Sport Sedan by Dietrich topped its $3 million Gooding estimate to reach $3.63 million
  • In August 2014, a 1932 Packard 902 Coupe Roadster sold at Auctions America for $187,000

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