1921 Packard Touring, Model 116, 5-passenger
Owner: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $3,640.00 – $4940.00 ($46,255 – $62,774 in 2018 dollars)
Number made: 1,310 total Packard production for 1921
Engine, etc.: 6 cylinder; 241.5 cu. in. 52 hp; 116” 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.
The first Packard Motor Car was built in Warren in 1899 in the Packard Electric Company subsidiary plant, the New York and Ohio Company. Manufacture of a successful motor car brought about the formation of the Ohio Automobile Company in 1899 which was renamed Packard Motor Car Company and moved to Detroit in 1902.
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. Alvan Macauley became president of Packard Motor Car Company in 1916 when Henry Joy retired. Macauley remained in that position until 1938.
Packard’s flagship vehicle during the 1910s and 1920s was the Twin Six (12-cylinders) and it was a very popular vehicle for those who could afford it. A special 12-cylinder model set a speed record in 1919 and inspired Enzo Ferrari to make his own 12-cylinder cars.
To stimulate sales, generate additional revenue, and increase production, Packard created a scaled-down version, at a lower price, called the L-head Single Six. It 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.
Though this was an opportunity for more of the public to own a Packard, Macauley and the board of directors were shocked to find that the Single Six had not met sales expectations. In the post-war era, the economy had entered a depression, resulting in slow sales throughout the industry. Packard was unable to sell half of the Single Six models it produced though they continued to take up space in dealers’ inventory. 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.
See also: “1921 Single Six Fact Book”: http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/article/view.article.php?435