Ask the Man Who Owns One

I came across a series of intriguing short silent films showing the Packard Motor Car Company logging timber (film 1), milling wood (film 2), and crafting car bodies (film 3). Yes, they used to make car bodies from wood at one time, and it is fascinating to get a glimpse of how that was done. Some nifty jigs were employed, and, for a thrill, wait until you see how they get the shaper spinning:

I found the jigs quite inventive, and noted that they were using some sort of slot mortiser for the mortises on those frames. Love the line about “features which make for beauty, comfort, safety and visibility”. Packard, once THE luxury automobile brand, made some management blunders after WWII which diluted the brand, then they merged with Studebaker (which happened to be close to insolvency), and they croaked in 1958. At least they had the dignity to die here in the US instead of being outsourced.

4 Replies to “Ask the Man Who Owns One”

  1. Ralph – search on Youtube for “Packard Builds a Body” and you should find them

    Thanks for the ocmment and glad you enjoyed the video.


  2. Hi Chris,
    The Morgan Motor Company still builds cars of wood and metal in the UK. They're pretty much handmade with only a few hundred produced each year. There's a waiting list and a hefty price tag for them. I guess you would have to ask the man who can afford them. There are a couple here in Nova Scotia complete with leather belts to secure the bonnet (hood)!

    John Burrows

  3. Yes, I well remember the Troubleshooter episode with Sir John Harvey-Jones, from 1990, where he visited the Morgan factory. Seems they are still managing to survive, despite Havey-Jones dire prognostications for the company.

    Appreciate the comment!


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