Packard® Motor Car
Providing for the Future
Welcome to the Marker Dedication Program Page
On Wednesday, August 17, 2005, a ceremony was held at the Packard Proving Grounds Historic Site to dedicate a State of Michigan Historical Marker containing the following text: "The Packard Motor Car Company began building a proving ground on this site in 1926. Packard, like its competitors, had previously tested cars on city streets. Architect Albert Kahn designed the principal buildings. By 1929 the complex included the Gate Lodge, warehouses, laboratories, a high-speed test track, and twelve miles of roads simulating the worst conditions of the day. During World War II (1941-1945) Packard built aircraft and marine engines while leasing the grounds to Chrysler for tank testing. Packard ceased production in 1958, and the Ford Motor Company purchased the site in 1961. In 2000 Ford and the Packard Motor Car Foundation began working to preserve the design complex portion of the site."
The backside of the marker contains this additional text: "In 1899 brothers James Ward and William Doud Packard founded the Ohio Automobile Company in Warren, Ohio. In 1902 Detroiter Henry Joy and several other local investors purchased the company, moved it to Detroit and renamed it the Packard Motor Car Company. During the 1920s and 1930s, Packard set the standard for luxury and design. Under the direction of chief engineer Jesse G. Vincent, Packard, known as “America’s Master Motor Builder,” also made advances in aviation technology. Vincent contributed to the development of the Liberty aircraft engine during World War I and predicted the growth of commercial aviation. He considered a proving ground to be essential to high quality."
Over 100 people attended the ceremony including local business people, civic leaders, senators, representatives, and officials from Ford. A few pictures show the day's activities:
Left Photo: Foundation President, John MacArthur speaks while retired Packard tool and die maker, Fred Schulwitz and retired Packard test driver, Carl Altz look on. Right Photo: Packards return to the Proving Grounds once again for the ceremony.
Left Photo: Packard Motor Car Foundation President, John MacArthur speaking at the dedication ceremonies. Right Photo: State Senator Alan Sanborn delivering an impromptu congratulatory speech.
Left Photo: Packards from the last year of Detroit production, with the Lodge building in the background. Right Photo: A 1954 Packard Caribbean convertible. (We thank Larry Lajdziak for donating his services as photographer for the event.)
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