Last week, «Louis» told you the story of the creation of the beautiful 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk as a segue into part two of his series on his Designs for Packard.
As previously recounted, as a boy, «Louis» mourned the loss of the Packard Motor Car Company and over the course of several years made drawings of his ideas for a Packard revival. His first attempt was in 1960. The introduction of the 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk led to «Louis'» second idea for a Packard revival. Because the car would be based on the sporty Gran Turismo Hawk, «Louis» would call his new Packard "Caribbean".
At the age of 15, «Louis» understood more about the complexity of introducing a car than he did when he drew his first Packard idea in 1960. Being a keen follower of the fortunes - and misfortunes - of Studebaker after all Packard production ceased at the end of the 1958 model year, «Louis», despite his youth, understood that any Packard revival would have to be done on a very, very limited budget - just as Brooks Stevens had done to create the Gran Turismo Hawk. «Louis» saw in Stevens' design, the possibility of a low budget re-launch of Packard.
As we saw in the first post about «Louis'» designs for Packard, «Louis» tried to sell his 1960 design to Studebaker-Packard. In 1962, he made no such attempt, but he worked out the design in far greater detail than he had in his very youthful 1960 idea. The surprising thing is that some of his ideas for this would-be Packard went into production on the 1963 and then on the 1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawks. Thus young «Louis» and Stevens' design team were thinking alike even though «Louis» this time had made no attempt to contact the Studebaker-Packard Corporation.
A much earlier example of «Louis» anticipating something that Packard put into production was in 1955. He envisioned that the "Reynolds Wrap" side trim of that went half way down the sides of the '55 Packards would be extended the length of the car for 1956 - and that is exactly what happened.
Certain long-time Packard design cues would be added to the Gran Turismo Hawk body:
• The traditional Packard grille as interpreted by Packard stylist Richard Teague on the '55 Packard Request show car, crowned by the Cormorant hood ornament.
• The "sweep spear" side trim.
• Cloisonné hexagon emblem in the wheel covers.
• The Packard crest would be on the "C" pillar of the roof.
The "sweep spear", as used on this 1951 Packard Patrician 400 Touring Sedan, would re-appear on «Louis'» new Packard Caribbean.
The wheel covers would have been adorned with Packard's hexagon emblem done in beautiful cloisonné.
Two more modern Packard design cues would be used:
• The famous "cathedral" taillights of the '55-'56 Packards would be adapted to the much narrower Hawk fender.
• Designer Richard Teague's "circle-V" emblem with the Packard crest would appear on the trunk lid.
At the front of the car, «Louis» would have re-shaped the small grilles to the side of the large center grille to accommodate the turn signals/parking lights. The idea «Louis» had for this was actually used on the '63 Gran Turismo Hawk, another example of «Louis» anticipating a design element that actually went into production.
Returning to the rear deck lid of the car, «Louis» once again anticipated something that went into production on the '64 Hawk. He would have eliminated the rear grille used on the '62 and '63 Hawks and smoothed to deck lid out to accept the "Packard Caribbean" scripts and the "Circle-V"/Packard crest emblems.
«Louis» would have smoothed out the rear deck lid as Studebaker actually did on the '64 Hawk (above), eliminating the grille used on the '62-'63 Hawks (below), to accommodate the "Packard Caribbean" scripts used on the '56 Packard Caribbeans.
You can see how easily the scripts and badges on the '56 Caribbean could be applied to «Louis'» new Gran Turismo Hawk-based Packard.
In yet another example of how «Louis» anticipated what later went into production, «Louis'» Gran Turismo Hawk-based Packard would have had a two-tone roof available, a chrome sweep extending over the roof to divide the colors. This became an option on the '64 GT Hawks. «Louis» would have used the Packard crest on the "C"-pillar where the Hawks used a stylized Hawk emblem.
Wanting to blend traditional Packard luxury with the sportiness of the Gran Turismo Hawk body, «Louis» worked out color schemes for his Packard idea. The exterior colors tended toward the darker side of the spectrum, but would be enlivened by being metallic. As one example, he would have offered the dark metallic "Norwegian Forest Green" of 1956 for the forward part of the roof, the rest of the car being a metallic black, or vice-versa.
For the interiors, «Louis» would have adapted the pattern used on the leather of the '56 Caribbeans to the Hawk seat frames.
«Louis» felt that his new Packard couldn't just use the regular production Studebaker V8 engines. He had two ideas of what might be done. Knowing Studebaker had no money to tool for a new engine and knowing that the bore centers on the existing Studebaker V8 would not allow it to be expanded beyond its then-current 289 cubic inches, «Louis» proposed using the supercharged 289 that had been used on the '57 "Packardbakers", the badge-engineered Studebaker Presidents that had been sold in place of the still-born real '57 Packards. This engine produced a respectable 275 horsepower. But, being a true Packard aficionado, what «Louis» really would have liked to see was a new Packard Twelve.
He didn't know much about engineering but he knew that the Packard Twelve of the 1930s used a 60º angle engine block for smoothness. He also knew that the optimal angle for V8 engines was a 90º angle. «Louis» wondered if there was some way an acceptably smooth running V12 could be made from an extended 90º engine block.
What he didn't know at the time, was that under James Nance, Packard was exploring that very idea for a super luxury Packard to be introduced ideally for the '57 model year, but more realistically for the '58 model year. «Louis» knew the engine bay of the Hawk body could accept an engine the length of a V12 because Studebaker six cylinder engines had fit into that body shell when it was first introduced in 1953. What «Louis» at age 15 didn't know is how it would be made to work.
Packard's V12 plan called for a long version of the 320 cubic inch V8 block used in the 1955 Clippers. The first eight cylinders would be bored, then the line would move and the final four would be bored. Packard engineers had worked out a way of making the piston throws of such an angle that the firing of the 90º engine block would approximate the smoothness of the ideal 60º angle block for a V12. Alas, as Nance was unable to secure the financing to launch the all-new '57 Packards and the decision was made to shutter Packard's Detroit facilities and move all production to the Studebaker plant in South Bend, Indiana, the V12 project never even saw a prototype engine built.
Among the many unfortunate results of the closure of Packard on 26 June, 1956 is that no one had the foresight to move the tooling for the Packard V8 to Studebaker's engine plant in South Bend. Everyone knew that at 289 cubic inches, the Studebaker V8 was at the end of its development cycle. It was a good, sturdy engine, but it was introduced in 1951 and when it was developed, Studebaker engineers did not foresee the cubic inch and horsepower race of the late '50s and into the late '60s, so they did not design the engine with bore centers spaced widely enough apart to retool the engine beyond 289 cubic inches. With the introduction of the Studebaker Avanti in 1963, Andy Granatelli built a few "R-3" Avanti engines machined out to 302 cubic inches, but the cylinder walls were so thin on the "R-3" engines, any more boring would have put the cylinders right into the water jackets. Had Studebaker-Packard management had the foresight to move the tooling for the Packard V8 (which was four years newer than the tooling for the Studebaker V8) to South Bend, Studebaker would have had an engine that would have been competitive right until the end. Packard had planned on expanding the engine from 374 cubic inches to 440 cubic inches for 1957. The precedent for putting a Packard V8 in a Studebaker body had been set in 1956 when the 352 cubic inch version of the Packard engine was fitted into the Studebaker Golden Hawk.
«Louis» isn't the only one who thought of using the 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk as the basis for a new Packard. He stumbled upon this rendering of a GT Hawk trimmed out with '55 Packard Patrician "Reynolds Wrap" and "cathedral" taillights:
Unfortunately, «Louis» hasn't found any information about this drawing, so he can't relate to you the story of its creation. However, he holds out hope that his friend "PacDoc" (whose '56 Patrician is shown in some of the images above) can persuade famous Packard parts supplier Fred Kanter who is behind the "7-8-9" (below) to find a '64 Gran Turismo Hawk and build it out as «Louis'» 1962 Packard concept; a '64 rather than a '62 as the newer one has several of the design elements «Louis» wanted to use for his design. A Packard 374 cubic inch V8 could be stuffed in it - we know it would fit because the exterior dimensions are the same as the 352 used in the '56 Golden Hawk. In that light GT Hawk body, that car would go like the proverbial bat out of hell... Subtle as a sledgehammer hint... Well, if «Louis» could dream about such a Packard in 1962, he can dream about one now. If only he had the means to build it himself...
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