The American Automobile Industry in World War Two
An American Auto Industry Heritage Tribute
By David D Jackson


Overview      The U.S. Auto Industry at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944    The U.S. Auto Industry and the B-29 Bomber   U.S. Auto Industry Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   The Complete listing of All Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   Sherman Tanks of the American Auto Industry   Tank Destroyers of the American Auto Industry    M26 Pershing Tanks of the American Auto Industry

    Automobile Manufacturers:  American Bantam Car Company   Checker   Chrysler   Crosley   Ford   General Motors   Graham-Paige   Hudson
   Nash-Kelvinator   Packard      Studebaker    Willys-Overland

General Motors Divisions
(Undergoing development) Aeroproducts   Brown-Lipe-Chapin   Buick   Cadillac   Chevrolet   Cleveland Diesel   Delco Appliance   Delco Products   Delco Radio   Delco-Remy   Detroit Diesel   Detroit Transmission   Electro-Motive   Fisher Body   Frigidaire   GM Proving Grounds   GM of Canada   Guide Lamp   Harrison Radiator   Hyatt Bearings   Inland   Moraine Products   New Departure   Oldsmobile   Packard Electric   Pontiac   Saginaw Malleable Iron   Saginaw Steering Gear   Southern California Division   Rochester Products   United Motors Service

Truck and Implement Manufacturers:   American LaFrance   Autocar  Diamond T   International Harvester    Mack Truck
   Marmon-Herrington Company   Massey-Harris   Pacific Car and Foundry  Reo Motor Car Company   Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation   White Motor Company

Automotive Tire
Manufacturers:
   B.F. Goodrich    Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
 Updates and Additions  
Links

 

Packard Home Page   1944 Packard Annual Report
The Packard Motor Car Company in World War Two / WWII
 Detroit, MI

  Photos of the Packard Plant on East Grand Boulevard
Below are photos and artists' renditions of the huge Packard Complex in Detroit over the years.  Of all the former great and classic automobile plants, this grand dame of a by gone era still stands as a memory of a past and forgotten age.


An undated photo of the Packard Parking Lot with the classic factory buildings in the background.  Check out the person that parked in the corner and can't leave until one of the two cars blocking him in does.  There is something about this photo that just seems to capture the essence of an earlier age.


An idyllic scene with apparently East Grand Boulevard being a gravel street.  This would be looking west on East Grand Boulevard.  Note wide area between the sidewalk and the street.  Note in my contemporary photo below how the wide areas are still there.  It is the last photo on this page.


This picture shows the construction of the building that is complete in the 1912 painting below.


This circa 1912 watercolor shows the Packard complex looking east.  Note that the city of Detroit to the north east is totally undeveloped at this time.


A circa 1925 water color.  Not how the plant complex has grown down East Grand Boulevard to the west.


Circa 1939.


This building located on the north east corner of the complex was added during WWII for final assembly of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.


The Plant at its apex and also the end.

The Present:
The Packard plant still stands today, dilapidated, defiled, ignored and crumbling with the passing of time, but not yet ready to succumb to the ravages that old age bring.  She refuses to yield, standing in a distressed neighborhood, which is in a distressed city, standing as a symbol of the greatness of a former company, a former industry and its home city.

She may be old, abused and forgotten by for most for what she did, but she remembers.  She remembers the desperate war years when within her 33,000 men and women worked around the clock to save their country from her enemies. 

She proudly produced the marine engine that powered the US Navy's little PT boats, which were made of plywood and virtually defenseless against enemy fire.  Only the power and speed produced by her three Packard built engines kept the PT boats and their brave crews from harms' way as they darted in and out of combat.

She remembers the devastation of American bomber planes by enemy fighters over Europe due to the lack of long range escort fighters to protect them.  In the midst of this she remembers the frantic activity to tool up and produce the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine for the new long range P-51 Mustang fighter, which aviation historians later claimed was a game changer and saved the US Army Air Forces strategic bombing campaign from disaster.  But those historians forget that it was all of the Packard employees working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide the engine that made the P-51 the high performance fighter she was.

But she remembers. Yes, she remembers.


I took this photo from the same place the 100 year old idyllic picture from above was taken from.  The wide space between the sidewalk and road is unchanged.   Due to the fact it costs a lot of money to tear the plant down, which seems to be in short supply in Detroit, there is a chance someone will stand at this location in another 100 years and another person will be able to take this same photo.  Time will also tell when we are all long gone whether she will still be standing and has outlasted the civilization that built her.

This derelict factory is probably the most photographed of the old factories still standing in the United States.  Please visit my "Links" page for more photos of this building.

 

 

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