Largest Abandoned Factory in the World: The Packard Factory, Detroit

Packard was a premier nameplate in the United States, mentioned in the same breath as Duesenberg, Cadillac, Pierce-Arrow, and Lincoln. The crown jewel for Packard was the Packard Factory, a 3.5 million square-foot complex sprawling across 35 acres.

In the years following World War II, the Packard Motor Car Company struggled to keep pace with the larger automakers that had purchased smaller companies to form “the Big Three.”

Those not part of the Big Three had to merge to stay competitive: Kaiser and Willys formed Kaiser-Willys, Nash and Hudson formed American Motors, and Packard joined forces with Studebaker. The experiment was short-lived, however, and Packard ceased to exist by the middle of the twentieth century.

Packard factory entrance
Packard factory entrance


During the 1950’s Packard endured an economic roller coaster, from being a premier auto manufacturer outselling Cadillac, to closing its doors within a decade.

(click to enlarge)

Packard plant building a car 1930s
Inside the Packard Plant, building a car circa 1930s. (courtesy Joan Hector. Her grandfather, Oscar Piche, is pictured at top left)
Packard factory entrance circa 1940s
Packard factory entrance circa 1940s
Packard factory entrance circa 2009
Packard factory entrance circa 2009

  Entrance to the Packard factory: then and today

By 1957 Packards were no longer assembled at the Detroit plant. For the next two years a handful of Studebaker models continued to wear the Packard badge, but by the turn of the decade Studebaker began to pull the Packard nameplate from its models. In the early 1960s, Studebaker dropped the Packard name altogether.

Studebaker would also meet its demise several years later, believed to have survived longer due to the lower-price/higher-volume sales model.

Upon liquidation, the remaining pre-war Packard designs and tooling were sold to parties around the world. For decades Packard clones would continue to be built in Russia under the ZIL and ZIM nameplates, catering to the Communist elite. Post-war Packard designs in the Soviet Union lasted well into the 1970s.

Packard advertisement circa 1956
Packard advertisement circa 1956

The Packard name would survive. General Motors’ electrics division – later known as Delphi – was originally Packard Electric when the auto manufacturer purchased it in 1932.

The company was later renamed Delphi Packard Electric Systems, and coincidentally would be the only profitable division within parent company Delphi during the late 2000’s.


The Factory

Designed by Albert Kahn and opened in 1903, the factory was world-class in its day. The Packard factory occupied 3.5 million square feet of interior space across 47 buildings. It employed over 40,000 skilled workers on a campus that spanned 35 acres.

The facility was the most modern plant of its time, and the first to use reinforced concrete in industrial construction.

(Click for larger version)

Vintage aerial view of Packard Factory
Vintage aerial view of Packard Factory

 Packard Factory*

After Packard

The plant was closed in 1956, leaving the factory vacant. The city lacked options; finding another tenant for the 3.5 million square-feet of space would be a difficult task.

[ Below: lobby vandalism over time. 2001 (top), 2010 (middle), 2014 (bottom) ]

Packard factory lobby circa 2001
Packard factory lobby circa 2001

Administrators considered parceling the factory into multiple lots, but a lack of interest stalled the proposal.

One tenant other than Packard has occupied the factory long-term: Chemical Processing Company moved into a small part of the factory in 1958.

Packard factory lobby circa 2010
Packard factory lobby circa 2010

How small?  Chemical Processing’s operations required 57,000 square feet – less than 1% of the factory complex.

Chemical Processing would move operations in 2007, and ironically occupied the factory longer than Packard itself.

packard plant entry detroit 2014
Packard factory lobby circa 2014 courtesy Tabula Rasa

The owner of the business admitted part of the reason for his move in 2007 was due to vandals and break-ins around the factory.

Not realizing a business is still in operation, scavengers would often break-in to scavenge scrap materials; vandals damage buildings and accelerate the plant’s deterioration.

Packard factory panoramic shot circa 2010
Packard factory panoramic shot circa 2010


The Future

Several investor groups have proposed ideas for the plant, but to date none have been able to come to the table with money and get approval from the city to execute plans.

For decades the city offered the land for sale, however there were no suitors.

The most recent ownership group hadn’t paid property taxes since 1987.

Packard Factory then & now

As of mid-2011, the Packard Factory stands as the largest abandoned industrial complex in the world.

The façade from the main entrance (pictured below) sold at auction in 2008 for $161,000

Packard factory façade
Packard factory façade

Packard Factory entry door  *

Packard factory
Not a Packard, but an appropriate resting place nonetheless.


Packard factory aerial view 2011
Packard factory aerial view 2011 (courtesy Google)

Explore on map: click here



Packard Factory
Not a Packard, but they got the era correct.



Packard Winter Wonderland
Packard Winter Wonderland


Packard Factory
Also not a Packard. Also not the correct era. Who knows why.


Packard factory hallway
Packard factory hallway


Below: Packard “Crushathon” in late 70’s decimated remaining Packard population.

Fire Breaks out:


Below: In better times.

Packard factory circa 1910s
Packard factory circa 1910s


Aerial view of the Packard factory, circa 2011
Aerial view of the Packard factory, circa 2011

Video Tours:



  1. Very interesting post with some real nice pictures. I do find something really intriguing about how hubs of commercial activity can just be left to rot, great background info provided too. Nice one!

  2. one would think it would be in the gov’ and private interest to recycle some of that old concrete. the whole old factory structure and i’m sure many more structures would have provided a great base for the monstrous parking lots across the freeway

  3. Packard, like many other car companies died when they did not sell enough cars to be profitable. It is all down hill from that point. This factor could be “condoned”, out to several tenants to be again a productive property. First the tenants would need to be protected from vandals. The city will strive to get taxes and alike and not protect the property owners in a decaying social environment. Build new and have the wrecking ball remove the old is the rule now days. Salvage value could restore this property to a parking lot type thing with the right minds set to do it. It can be done, why not? To many restrictions?

    • Why would anyone need to park there if you have no reason to be in the area? What is there nearby to walk to once you’ve parked?

  4. sad to see such a great plant in such a state I was a production engineer the body plant of a truck plant in scotland which was closed and flattened I work in a bank now ha ha. All manufacturing is going to only one place china

  5. Mike,

    Thanks for the input. I’m curious – none of what you say appears to conflict with anything in the article. What conflicts did you see? Again, thanks for your input and feel free to share more information here about Packard and Studebaker.

    • Sorry to take so long to get back to you. Its extremely difficult to sum up what went wrong at Packard but the following statement gives a somewhat inaccurate  impression.  Unfortunately forPackard, Studebaker was of lower prestige and quality. The effects of the merger quickly manifested themselves on Packard cars: poor build quality, less-innovative design, and horrendous planning. Studebaker’s influence had Packard building the wrong car at the wrong time. The 1950’s were not kind to Packard; they went from being one of the premier car builders – outselling Cadillac up until 1950 – to complete bankruptcy.  Packard was very much aware that Studebaker was a car of a lesser name. The point of purchasing Studebaker was to enter the lower medium price field without diluting the Packard name. It was all part of a larger plan to combine Packard, Studebaker, Nash and Hudson together into a corporation that would displace Chrysler from its number three position in the big three. The plan was hatched by James Nance (new president of Packard) and George Mason (president of Nash) Both Packard and Nash were in very strong cash positions. At this point Packard stock was the second most widely held automotive stock after General Motors.  Unfortunately halfway through the process Mason had a heart attack. His successor, Romney was totally in the dark about the plan and was not interested when informed about it. So Packard continued on with Studebaker and Nash with Hudson. Packard still planned to consolidate production and maximize interchangeability to lower costs and increase efficiency. To this end Packard built a new engine plant, new assembly plant (computer punch card controlled) and also took on government contracts for jet engines and navel engines. Packards quality problems were primarily in the early 55 models due to the move to the Connor ave. plant. They were mostly resolved by midyear except for a problem with the rear axles supplied by Dana, cars were recalled and replacement axles furnished, unfortunately the replacement axles were no better and also had to be replaced. As to innovation, Packard was more innovative in this period than at almost any other time in their history. The 55s featured a new V8 engine, the largest, most powerful in the industry, a new transmission, a revolutionary new self leveling suspension system that had everyone else playing catch-up (air suspension wouldn’t appear for a couple of years and was a dismal failure) safety side marker lights. 1956 saw a pushbutton electronic transmission, reversible upholstery, a bigger engine, aluminum case transmission and offered seat belts and a thicker padded dash and a positive traction rear axle that was within the price range of most car buyers. Packard engines and transmissions appeared in Studebakers, Nashs and Hudsons.  The primary problem was the massive capital outlays that Packard was making, 54 million for Studebaker,  the costs of building a brand new engine plant and new assembly plant (Conner ave) ,the total revamp of the cars for 1955, and a totally new car planned for the 57 model year which would have utilized a common platform for Studebaker Packard cars (cost estimates 57million)  and the cancellation of jet engine contracts (the B 47 was replaced by the B52) Packard was forced to shop for loans which they seldom had to do because of their strong cash position in the past They were quite surprised to find that there were few  people willing to loan to a car company that wasn’t one of the big three. The one source that they had counted on had already committed huge amounts of cash to a risky project, apparently some movie producer wanted to build an amusement park out in the orange groves of southern California. Studebaker Packard fell victim to corporate raiding through a loan, management agreement with Curtis Wright Corporation.  Curtis Wright sold off all of the Packard assets of any value and Studebaker Packard was left to carry on in South Bend. When Studebaker automobiles went under in the 64-66 period it didn’t go bankrupt, they simply closed the automotive division of the corporation but continued on in various incarnations, Studebaker Worthington makers of stationary commercial compressors, Schafer appliances and STP (Studebaker total performance) ultimately various parts were sold or absorbed but they didn’t just go bankrupt.   Several pictures of the interior of the Packard factory are of the Connor ave. plant interior, not the Grand boulevard plant. Again production of automobiles ceased at the Grand blvd. facility in 1954. There were a number of tenants in the Packard property on Grand Blvd. that I am aware of occupying the property for a number of years; a wholesale grocery, a number of small businesses as well as the welfare office located for a time in the administrative building. A Packard’s grave is also its birthplace The car in the picture in not a Packard, I think it’s a Chrysler product.   I certainly enjoyed seeing your article and pictures, I realize that it is no small thing to write a history or even a synopsis of a complex situation like Studebaker Packard in the postwar era. There are a lot of personal opinions and versions of history. I have talked to some of the original participants (James Nance, Richard Teague etc.) and even their versions contradict each other so I doubt we will ever actually know exactly what happened. If I can get to them up in the attic I will see if I can send you pictures (if you’re interested) of the Packard plant in 1974 and 86 at the Packard national meets (I think the years are correct) I also have an article that I wrote for someone (I forgot who and I don’t remember if it was published) called “Packard, what if” if you’re interested I’ll see if I can find it too.   Thanks again  Mike


  6. I own a 1949 Studebaker Champion Starlight Coupe. It has the standard 170 cubic inch inline 6, with a 3 speed on the column, with overdrive. (A Studebaker innovation) My great great uncle bought it new in 1949. He gave it to my grandfather in the 80s, and it sat in his garage for years, until I finally convinced him to get it repainted and get the exterior cleaned up. The wheels were cleaned up, he put some white walls on, the dent in the rear fender was fixed, and it was repainted the original dark blue color. About a year later he passed away and left this triumph of American craftsmanship to me…. Im 16 years old. But I grew up in a muscle car museum, and while it doesnt have cowl induction, a 4 barrel carburator, an 8 track, or a 426 Hemi, this car is of better build quality than anything ive ever seen. Studebaker started as a wagon company in 1852, they entered the auto industry in 1902 with electric cars, and started making gasoline cars in 1904. The gas mileage of my Champion blows anything of the time out of the water, with an incredible combined mileage of 23 mpg! Studebaker was also the first company to use foam in their seats, and from someone who has ridden in about any Rolls Royce, Bentley, Mercedes, BMW, Cadillac that you can name, that Studebaker is the most comfortable car ive ever been in. Rose colored glasses in the trash. They also revolutionized the overdrive system, the automatic transmission and the independent suspension system. (As shown in one of their Tv commercials, driving across a rough desert at funny speed. Now, some people thought that Studebakers were not good cars because of a greedy, cutthroats company called E-M-F who tried to put them out of business so they could take it for themself. They decided to build cars and have Studebaker put their name on it so Studebaker could have some of the profit. But emf purposely made horrendously unreliable cars for Studebaker to put their name on. The folks at emf figured that they could make the Studebaker name mud so no one would buy them, then emf could take all their money and business. But the Studebaker people were smart and started selling the emf cars as emf’s instead of Studebakers. So emf’s plan backfired on them and led to their own destruction. But Studebaker went on to make dozens of great models including the Lark, Hawk, Land Cruiser, and the famous Avanti, to name a few. My Champion is all original all the way to the 6 volt system. Even has the original wiring. Not a single thing has been replaced on this car. Original engine would idle all day if I let it, and purrs down the road like a Persian cat in a rich mans lap. 3 speed manual transmission shifts smoother than any manual transmission ive ever felt, which is a lot, because of the muscle car museum. All mechanical components of the car are 63 years old and never seen any kind of problem. It also has an in cabin hood release, a retractable antenna, and a vent on the side that lets cool air in at your feet. Good on a hot night in Alabama. These were all unheard of features at the time. The wrap around rear glass was the secondary big trademark of Studebaker, (the first being the bullet nose, which came a year after mine) and it is amazing to see. And it completely eliminates the blind spot.

    All of that to say that Studebaker and shoddy craftsmanship don’t belong in the same sentence. They, much like Chrysler, (with Diamler) got screwed by another company and got a mark on their name. Studebaker and Packard are both true American heroes, but their quality and innovation are forgotten by so many. It is nice to see car guys like y’all who remember these kings of the road, and I encourage you to keep on Packin/Bakin! And who knows what the future will hold, if Datsun can return from the dead, so can Studebaker and Packard.

    God bless

    • Got any pictures of your ’49 Starlight Coupe? My Mom and Dad bought one new. It was our family car when I was a kid. It was yellow with a bunch of extra chrome (don’t doubt my dad borrowed some of the chrome as it made it’s way home in his lunch pail). My Dad, Grandpa’s and uncles worked there for years. Thanks, Rick

  7. I have allways been a fan of Packard since I was 7 years old and helping my dad restore a 1934 Packard 8. Wonderfull pics and sad that the PMCC of today made an super ugly prototype and is now trying to sell not only the car but the company for 1.5 mil.Shamefull..I love old Packards even some of the 50’s packards

  8. This is one interesting article. The great “what if” is if Mason and Nance had been able to complete the merger process that stopped when Mason died. I read in some of these postings that it came to the point where Packard had to opportunity to merge with American Motors or merge with Studebaker and chose to go with Studebaker. Who knows how things would have gone if Packard had chosen to merge into AMC. They would have been able to be the Cadillac of the company with Hudson and Nash covering the other two areas like Mercury and Ford did for Ford Motor Company. Maybe then Studebaker would have joined them seeing that they would have been alone in the business and having to compete with four automotive giants.

  9. Its a shame that some part of this proud piece of history couldnt be saved as a museum to the Packard line of automobiles.

  10. Times may well change and the plant can get a new life. There is a train station in Manchester England closed since the 1960’s (and since only ever used as a film set for post apopolyptic movies & tv shows and such like). Anyway there is talk/plans to re open it as there are major rail expansion plans afoot and all the other suitable stations are full to capacity. So detroit you never know,,,,

  11. Impressive buildings – and equally impressive story about this automobile factory. Interesting reading – both for a Dane (with an old Volvo!) far from the spot – and for many others, when you read all the interesting comments above.

  12. I am not sure who made this statement or where it came from, I am not the source, please check replys. Studebaker is the only car company in existance that discontinued its auto operations while still making a profit. It was the Board of Directors who bailed. The auto division was profitable, but after production stopped in the US and engines were being sourced from GM, there was no attempt to keep design and engineering going. They simply used up spare parts and stopped when those ran out. I myself owned a late ’66 which had 64/65 side molding added when it went out the door. When they ran out of trunk lids in ’66 that was stopping point. The Canadian operation was a good one, and could have continued indefinitley if not for the board. After ceasing auto production, the 1967 Annual report showed a huge profit by the company, 200 or 300 million I believe from all the different divisions. It was by then known as Studebaker-Worthington. The board had wanted to exit autos in 1961 when they hired the new President Sherwood Egbert, but he attemped to reverse course, he was fighting upstream and he became ill with Cancer. He did manage to restyle the Hawk line, the Lark line and introduce the ever alive Avanti, before he was replaced with an old Packard man Byers Burlingame, who almost immediatley shut the South Bend plant down, ending auto, truck, military, postal vehicles in on fell swoop.

  13. Fascinating and revealing article, with some fine illustrations…and amazing commentary that followed. I photographed the interior of the plant in 1999 (for a book I was doing called Abandoned America) and found it haunting. If I’d had the time, I would have spent days inside. I am now planning to use a photo I took of a urinal inside the plant for a photo book I’m doing on bathrooms. This article gave me some great information to include in my caption. THANKS.

  14. There are several Throphy properties in Detroit sitting around vacant even as the city tries to make a comeback. There is a large eyesore right next to Henry Ford Hospital, the Michigan Train Station, the Highland Park Industrial Plant, etc. Can you find out who owns these parcels and how do they profit from letting them sit around like this? Its hard to comprehend.

    • Most abandoned commercial properties around Detroit are now owned by the city; major municipalities usually have legislature written allowing cities the right to seize properties within city limits that have severe outstanding tax bills.

      Since the city owns the properties, they are not collecting taxes on them. There are plans in place for structured demolition and industrial rejuvenation around the city, but it will only happen as funds become available. Detroit is sort-of undergoing a rebirth right now, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these plans start to unfold over the next 5-10 years.

      One can only hope they are successful and this once-great city can rise again.

    • I wouldn’t say the properties are not for sale. If you approached Detroit with their asking price I’m sure they’d be happy to sell it to you.

      I did try and follow the ownership path but it’s hazy. It appears to be owned by the city of Detroit since the early 1990s at least, if not longer (they seized the factory from the previous owners who were not paying taxes). From what I can tell there is a Detroit businessman named Dominic Cristini who was the property manager when it was owned by the city in the 1990s; as recent as the early 2000’s Dominic was trying to save the plant. It does not appear he owns it, but at one point managed it and according to what I can find he was spearheading the group trying to save the plant.

      You also had a businessman in Phoenix named Roy Gullickson who owned the Packard name (he purchased it for $50k in 1994). Roy has tried to bring the nameplate back but did not appear to originally intend to involve the plant. A Chicago Sun-Times article in 2000 indicates Cristini was reaching out to Gullickson about involving the plant in the Packard redux. Cristini also indicated he was lining up private investors to purchase the plant, but it’s been almost 10 years and the city apparently still owns it. Another article in September of 2000 said Gullickson was teaming up with Kruse International auctions and eBay Motors to sell the Packard name online, but they were unsuccessful.

      Roy released a Packard prototype with a V12 in 2003 that was displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours, but that is where the Packard rebirth would end when there was apparently not enough interest and no additional financing. That prototype was sold at auction in 2009 and Roy tried once again to sell the Packard naming rights and all associated equipment for $1.5M. From what I can tell he was unsuccessful, and is still the owner. An article in 2010 states he now lives in Canada.

      Regarding the plant: the city wants to demolish it but a combination of tight purse strings and numerous Packard aficionados have banded together to try and save it. Until a big enough investor comes along to “solve” the issue once and for all, this might end in a stalemate for some time longer.

    • They go up for auction pretty often, and then the buyers fail to pay up, so they revert back to the county (Wayne County). It’s happened three times in 2013 alone.

      You can’t buy something like this without having a credible plan for demolition and/or development. The sale price of the parcels is probably less than you’d think (It’s changed hands for $2 and $6 million that I know about.)

  15. The state of MI or the Federal Govt should use this property as a prison.

    It is big enough to be able to house hundreds of thousands of inmates and not only will it employ thousands and thousands of people, the trains could be used to transport inmates from out of state to house those who are in over crowed prisons.

    This could be something that would revitalize Detroit.

  16. My husband restores classic cars and collect bricks from significant old buildings. I wish I knew someone close to Detroit that would ship some bricks to me. We have quite a few from places before they were torn down. I research and get black and white photos with history written up with each set of bricks.

  17. Packards were certainly well made and beautiful cars. I saw a 1935 dual cowl phaeton in a museum in Lancaster PA that was really impressive for its quality and design.
    It seems incredible that this plant was made in 1903. Its hard to believe that there was that much of a demand for cars at that time.
    Does anyone know what happened to the original owners?

    Last, I never heard the v12 motor, or the PT boat motor, but the straight 8 motor had a very nice and powerful sound to it.


    • James Ward Packard (the original owner) died of natural causes and quite wealthy at age 65, young but not surprisingly so for the time.

    • Oh, PS., automobiles were revolutionizing society, responsible for some of the most dramatic changes to ever affect society. Of *course* there was incredible demand!

  18. Another great article and pictures. To me, it is a misfortune of Studebaker and Packard; they were both really good cars at the time.

  19. Wondering who I can speak to about getting permission to use one of the photos? My husband loves it and I wanted to get it printed and framed for him.

    • @Ashley – Really, the state of copyright in this online era is like this. If you want to reproduce a picture from the internet, you don’t really need permission unless you plan to sell it or mass-produce and distribute it.

  20. I wish someone would buy The PACKARD PLANT & have the PACKARD CARS COME BACK.
    The PACKARD CARS are BEAUTIFUL and it WOULD BE NICE and GREAT to see them AGAIN.
    It would be VERY SAD to see The PACKARD PLANT BUILDING to be gone.

  21. My father was a body engineer in the final years , or nearly so, at Packard. He came to Michigan to work for Chrysler and jumped to Packard after hearing there were opportunities there. His office was at the proving grounds. I have faint memories of the test track when I was just three or so.

    Many would like what I am about to say, but my own perspective is that Packard like many of the competitors with GMC and Ford, in particular were seen as unwanted interlopers. Only Ford and GM had the financial power to “kill off” the competition. A friend of Billy Durant said that during a conversation with him in 1938 that he had some regrets starting GM for fear that it had used its financial power against competitors. I think this is more than likely.

    My father died at age 32 believing his illness was due to exposure to carbon tet while doing his job. I think it may have saddened him to see the demise of this maker of some great automobiles.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your father, Rob. I can’t imagine it is an easy topic for you to discuss. I’d be curious to hear the workers’ perspective of what happened in those final years.

  22. I’m not sure this is the largest abandoned industrial complex in the world. Look up Indiana Army Ammunition Plant in Charlstown Indiana. Over 6,000 acres remain (of an over 12,000 acre facility) with close to a thousand abandoned buildings. I’ve visited it myself and the size and scope is difficult to fathom once you are in there.

  23. The abandoned ’40’s car in the pics is indeed Chrysler in origin. It is in fact a ’42 Plymouth or Dodge. Sad to see it like that considering the 1942 model year ended in the first quarter of ’42 due to the US entry into the holocaust of WW2.

    South Africa

  24. As a former owner of a 1941 Packard Convertible coupe and a current employee of the Albert Kahn Family of Comany’s, this discussion has brought a long tear to my eye. Kahn as it is now referred to, the original designers of the plant, still holds the original drawings to the plant. We have talked to several developers as to what could or could not be done with what is left. Bottom line, large areas are still structurally sound and could be redeveloped. Other areas are beyond redemption and will need to razed. With any large undertaking such as this it wiil take copious amounts of vision and money to make something of the site again. Kahn stands willing, able and ready to assist in any way we can. The recent purchaser from Peruvian has made their final payment and we are waiting to see what their next move is.

    • I’m not an engineer, but have worked as a draughtsman. My AutoCAD mentor had worked for Kahn. I wonder if any drawings are still around from the building of the Packard plant? I do not have 3D background, but I’d love to take a stab at a 3D of the old plant! I wonder if anyone has done any 3D models of the old plant?

      I know my father walked a a new Packard down the assembly line. It was for his uncle a funeral director.

    • Thanks for sharing, Wendy. Mr. Palazuelo won’t be the first person to have tried to purchase and develop the property, but the article did say he paid the escrow – which is farther than anyone before him has gotten in the process. Nothing finalized, of course, but this offers hope we haven’t had in the past. I’ll keep an eye on this, thanks for the update!

  25. Its too bad this monstrous plant will rot away into history but that can’t really be stopped. Detroit is in ruin and has no money to even run basic services, let alone restore or even demolish this huge complex. I am amazed that people actually think Packard can come back and use these buildings. It would take billions to make this a usable structure again, profits could never exceed costs. A dismal end to an amazing story. We can only restore and admire these magnificent automobiles.

  26. I truly appreciate coming across this well informed, researched, and presented article. Excellent photos, history, everything! Thank you.

  27. this is a great story but a sad one to my farther had a packard when i was a kid it was new early 50s and it was a nice car and right hand drive as i live in Australia it is sad to see a great icon as this just go to shit

  28. My grandmother owned a Packard in the 40’s which was a great auto. Oh what a ride and performance it had. The car will never be replaced.

  29. My Father was a Packard Dealer in Grand Island Nebr. I was just a kid, but I loved Packards. My husband and I even owned 2 after we were married. I never knew the end story of Packard. Glad to read this article but left me rather sad. We still have a 1956 Packard Caribian in the family, As a kid, it was exciting when the new models came out! They would put the new model in the show room in the middle of the night and cover it. It would be outed a few days later, and looking back I am amazed now at the number of people who were interested and came to see the unveiling. Pleasant memories.

    • (This is stretching the topic a bit, but I did tour the old site last year.) In my neighbourhood in Toronto, about 10 years ago they were shooting the movie “Hairspray”. They completly did over an entire long city block to look like the 50s. It was really a top-notch Hollywood job, fantastic. And of course included in that were great cars, including a Carribean. I’ve never seen a such a great combination of colours in a 3-tone car. Although my father (who grew up in Detroit) had his own impression of Packard quality, that Caribbean became mine.

  30. garcinia morella

    Largest Abandoned Factory in the World: The Packard Factory, Detroit | Sometimes Interesting

  31. Amazing cars. Amazing (hi)story. Amazing post. And – as always! – Amazing and brilliant photos.
    I wish you a Happy Christmas!

  32. These vandels and thieves should be shot. Their bodies left to rot. Remove the roofs, and grow veggies and Cannabis. Hire guards with orders to shoot. Turn the buildings that are salvagable, into poultry houses.

    • Since anyone who could have legal title to the property has given that up (by not paying taxes on it since 1988 or so) there are no ‘vandals’ or ‘thieves’ to speak of. Or trespassers, for that matter.

      No matter about the legal niceties: it’s clear from your comment that you place a much higher value on property and possessions (even if you don’t own them yourself) than on human lives.

  33. Pffffft. Those buildings didn’t ruin Themselves. There *HAD* to have been legions of thugs in there.

  34. As a packard from England who is doing their family history. THANK YOU FOR THE PHOTOS AND ARTICLE

  35. Carol- the Packard family in more recent times had some interesting marriages. Mildred Gray Cote, who was the daughter of Edward Gray (Henry Ford’s Chief Engineer at Highland Park from 1909 to 1914) marriage John Lafayette Cote. His sister Evangeline Cote Dahlinger is often mentioned as Henry Ford’s mistress. John and Mildred had a daughter Sally Cote Packard- yes, she married Warren Packard III. It only goes ’round and round’ in the Motor City!

  36. When America was America. Not flooded with something for nothing culture. Immigrants that were proud to be Americans and would be utterly insulted to be considered anything other than a English speaking American. The democrats hadn’t fully destroyed the black culture yet, no reality shows, texting, transgender bathrooms, mass shootings, just whole milk, baseball, and the only Mexicans YOU knew we’re in taco commercials, blacks weren’t running around blaming everybody and destroying cities, European immigrants, the backbone of this country are now history, like this factory. It’s all downhill from here on out folks.

    • I suspect it’s like the line in the old-time Pogo cartoon strip……”We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  37. To clarify some errors:

    First, Packard never declared bankruptcy. Also, the article says:

    “By 1957 Packards were no longer assembled at the Detroit plant. For the next two years a handful of Studebaker models continued to wear the Packard badge…”

    It depends on one’s definition of “a handful”. For 1957, 4,809 Packards were built with 2,622 more for 1958, for a total of 7,431, and there were some major differences beyond the badge. Quality control was high; the trim and interiors were very luxurious; and the 275HP supercharged 289 Studebaker engine in Packards made it one of the fastest cars of that model year.

    “In the early 1960s, Studebaker dropped the Packard name altogether.”

    Again, the last Packards were the ’58s,

    “Upon liquidation, the remaining pre-war Packard designs and tooling were sold to buyers around the world. For decades Packard clones would continue to be built in Russia under the ZIL and ZIM nameplates, catering to the Communist elite.”

    No, these older Russian Packard-looking cars are copies of American Packards, and the parts don’t interchange.

    “Post-war Packard designs in the Soviet Union lasted well into the 1970s.”

    Again, they’re quasi-copies with no ties to Packard. Thanks.

  38. I was at a presentation of the Packard Motors Foundation out at the Packard Proving Grounds, or what was left of the proving grounds.

    The banked track is now gone, replaced by a condo project, as well as the “badlands track.”

    I learned some facts at the presentation. Packard gave us the “H” pattern gear shift. Until the Global Explorer set the record for time in flight it was a Packard powered plane that held a record of 84 hours in the air. In 1928, an Indicar driver set a record of 148mph on the track. Packard cars would be tested at the track, 10,000 miles in ten days. Cars would be run in for high end customers before delivery. So many firsts.

    Ironically, PT-109 was probably powered by Packard engines!

    Curtis Wright purchased the property from Packard, but Ford eventually took it over.

    IF the company had not been such a great company the loss would not be so great. What a great legacy.

  39. Wow! This is one of the most intriguing articles I’ve ever read. Well written and well done! I stumbled across this article while researching my family history. I noticed on my great uncle’s draft record that he was employed at Packard Automotive. Prior to this stumbling across this website, I’d not heard of this plant by name. What’s even more bazaar is that while doing a year internship at Detroit Arsenal in Warren , MI I would drive by this plant every so often, when taking this route and I would always have a sadness in my heart, to the point of tears, because of its dilapidation… so I thought. Now that I have found out that my late great uncle worked here for many years, I now understand why I felt a strange emotional connection. I wish that I could find out more about the people that worked for Packard. Great Article!

  40. One of the biggest bits of misinformation in the article concerns the origin of Packard, the company did not start out in Detroit in 1903 as the article implies, it started in 1899 in Warren Ohio which is where the Packard museum is, it was moved to Detroit in 1903.

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