“Now I’m the Man Who Owns One” – The Changing Nature of Packard

2009.021.414In an effort to stave off the bankruptcy that had doomed- or was soon to doom- other luxury car makers such as Cord, Duesenberg, Pierce Arrow and Auburn, Packard President Alvan Macauley introduced the Packard 120 in 1935. This car, a far cry from the company’s previous commitment to luxury, was designed to appeal to the masses and appeal to them it did. 10,000 orders were placed, each with a down payment, before the first 120 rolled off of the assembly line.

The company’s slogan, “ask the man who owns one”, once a statement connected to elegance and stature, shifted to being a more inclusive message. Even Santa Claus helped to promote the company in a 1939 holiday parade in Hartford, Connecticut, a banner affixed to his Packard Eight stating “Now I’m the Man Who Owns One- Ask Me”, an important variation on the classic slogan. The average Hartford resident may not have been able to afford such a posh model but a Packard was still within their reach.

Santa Claus in a Packard, Hartford, CT. 1939.

Santa Claus in a Packard, Hartford, CT. 1939.

The company would advertise “senior” and “junior” line models to their respective demographics for a few years thereafter but with Macauley’s departure and Max Gilman’s installation as company president, the lines blurred and the previous luxury automobiles built by hand were moved onto the assembly line with the “junior” line models. It would be only a matter of time before the company would be overtaken in terms of prestige.

– Robert Kett, Wayne State University Graduate Student

2 thoughts on ““Now I’m the Man Who Owns One” – The Changing Nature of Packard

  1. my family operated a packard dealership from 1948 to 1958. i’m specifically looking for a promotional give a way t shirt in the 1951 -1956 time era. the t shirt meant for kids, stated “my father owns or drives a packard “. i’m guessing that the company that made the t shirts catered to the automotive industry. i’m looking for the names of firms that supplied auto manufacturers, perhaps in their sales booklet would be a representation of the t shirt. no doubt it had a car on one side and the slogan on the other. do you know of any organizations that covered the history of suppliers to dealers, or books written on the subject? this i’m guessing would be similar to the promo toy banks and key fobs, streamers etc. has anyone taken on such historical research? thanking you in advance for you time ron halicki halicki’s garage. later a studebaker dealer 1957-1966. halicki motors inc. dunkirk new york.

    though not related to the above, but since i’m here on the site. i am looking for photographs of the event that introduced the new studebaker avanti to dealers. late 1962 early 1963? these were done at airports and were know as fly ins. the avanti cars came in planes known as flying boxcars. i am seeking photos of the portion that was usually held inside of a hangar.
    it was all quite impressive.flags, car racks, cigars, champagne. to include astronaut looking attendants.. thanks again for any help.

    and good luck with your project.

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