1956 PackardThe 1956 Packard Predictor was a show car developed in the 1950s by Mr. Richard Teague, Packard’s top designer, along with Mr. Bill Schmidt, Chief Designer of Packard. The 1956 Packard Predictor was Packard’s final show car which offered many great features for future company products. The show car was typified by crispness, sharply defined forms, and smooth flowing lines that the public thoroughly enjoyed. The Packard Predictor was built by Ghia of Turin, which after its completion, arrived back to New York City in December 1955.

The 1956 Packard Predictor show car was very advanced for its time that featured a wraparound windshield for ultimate visibility, quad headlights that were hidden behind clam shell doors, and fenders that were level with its hood and rear deck designs. The shape of Packard grille was preserved with a narrow vertical central nose appearance. The Packard Predictor styling model also offered satin finished aluminum moldings that began at the base of the grille and flowed smoothly around the body design. The Predictor was 222 inches long by four and a half feet low in size.

The styling offered many intuitive engineered features. For instance, when you open the Predictor’s doors, sliding roof panels from over the doors were automatic and silently rolled back for easy entrance and exit. The roof panels could also be opened for ventilation while the doors remained closed. Another feature included swiveling front seats that added to the ease of entering or exiting the vehicle. A hooded Packard Balboa-type design rear window was fully retractable providing maximum ventilation for its passengers. The Predictor show car also offered a electronic push button ultra-matic transmission that was very unique at the time during the 1950’s. A control unit for operation of roof panels, radio antennas, and courtesy lights was conveniently located in the rooftop for both the driver and passenger to access.

1956 Packard 1956 Packard

In 1954, Packard and Studebaker merged its two companies together to continue generating automobiles for the American market. However, an unexpected flow of cash was a problem for Packard, and unfortunately its days came to an end. The rare photograph below features the talented Mr. Richard Teague seated in the front roll on the left side is one of the very rare and scarce photographs that was taken showing the Studebaker-Packard Corporation Styling team during the late 1950’s. After the relationship ended with Packard and Studebaker, the Packard Predictor show car went to the city of South Bend, becoming a small part of a complicated deeding arrangement of S-P property, building, and contents for back taxes.

Today, the Packard Predictor show car still exists and the model was included within the Studebaker collection that was donated to South Bend. For more information on the Packard Predictor styling model, please contact the Studebaker National Museum on Chapin Street in South Bend Indiana at (574) 235-9714.

Story courtesy of www.motorcities.org

A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for donating the story to the MotorCities Story of the Week program. Photographs courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection (NAHC) of the Detroit Public Library (Bibliography: Godshall Jeff, Norbye Jan, Robson Graham. Prototype Cars That Never Were. Consumer Guide, February 1981. Holls Dave, Lamm Michael. A Century of Automotive Style 100 Years Of American Car Design. Lamm- Morada Publishing Co. Inc 1996-1997) For further information please visit http://www.detroitpubliclibrary.org/ or email nahc@detroitpubliclibrary.org. Please do not use any photographs without the permission of MotorCities. For further information contact Robert Tate at btate@motorcities.org

~ Sunday Slacker Magazine