1921 Packard Roadster Model 116, 2-passenger, 2-door
Owner: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $3,165.00 ($40,219.00 in 2018 dollars)
Number made: 6,374
Engine, etc.: Single six, L-head, 241.5 cid, 52 hp, 116 in. wheelbase
The Packard Motor Company, the leading luxury automobile manufacturer of the world, produced world renowned vehicles from 1899 to 1956. It was the only company in the U. S. whose work could be compared with that of England’s Rolls Royce organization.
The Packard story began with Warren Packard who moved to Warren, Conn. in the 1850’s and became involved in a number of businesses including hardware, lumber, hotels, and iron mill work.
His sons, William Doud Packard and James Ward Packard, established the Packard Electric Company in 1890 and the town of Warren entered the “age of electricity”. Due to the success of the Packard Co., Warren became the first city in the U. S. to light its streets with incandescent bulbs. James is credited with originating the advertising slogan “Ask the man who drives one”.
The company was founded in Ohio in 1899 as the Ohio Automobile Company and then purchased and moved to Detroit in 1902 and renamed Packard Motor Car Company. Henry Bourne Joy, from one of Detroit’s oldest and wealthiest families, bought a Packard. Impressed by its reliability he enlisted a group of investors and bought the company. Henry Joy became general manager and later chairman of the board.
From the very beginning, Packard featured innovations including the modern steering wheel and, years later, the first production 12-cylinder engine and air conditioning in a passenger car. A special 12-cylinder model set a speed record in 1919 and inspired Enzo Ferrari to make his own 12-cylinder cars.
The L-head Single Six was introduced in 1920. The engine provided ample performance in view of the Single Six’s relatively light weight. With its 116 in. wheelbase, it was surprisingly nimble. It was produced by Packard for only two years and was not an outstanding market success.
Packard gained prominence in World War I in developing the Liberty, the finest airplane engine produced up to that time. Placed in a racer, the car broke all track records as Sheepshead Bay in 1917 and powered hundreds of aircraft prior to the Armistice.
Sources: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805 -1942. Beverly Rae Kimes, et al. 3rd ed. Krause Publications, 1996.
http://uniquecarsandparts.com/lost_marques_packard.htm (Packard history)
See also, “1921 Single Six Fact Book”: http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/article/view.article.php?435