There are many Packard symbols that we are all familiar with, but many
of us do not know how these symbols originated
The information below was gathered from Packard historical records, Packard
World and the Story of a Living Legend and find it interesting.
- The Packard Family's coat of arms was adopted by the Packard Motor
Car Company in 1928 after the death of James W. Packard, builder of
the first Packard in 1899. He was also first president of the Packard
Motor Car Co.
- On the Sixth Series Packard in 1929, a decorative emblem of the Packard
coat of arms was placed on the radiator shell. The Packard Motor Car
Co. did this to honour the memory of its founder.
- The Packard Pelican hood ornament was first used in 1932 on the ninth
series cars. There were many different variations of this design from
1932 until it was last used in 1957. This hood ornament evolved from
the pelican on the Packard coat of arms.
- In 1939, Packard Motor Car Co. called the pelican hood ornament on
the seventeenth series a Cormorant for the first time. Many owners sent
letters to Packard in 1939 and during the years after, disapproving
of the name Cormorant. In 1951, Packard changed the name of the hood
ornament back to Pelican because of all these letters from loyal Packard
- The most popular version of the origination of the famous slogan,
"Ask the man who owns one", is that James Ward Packard, who
was president and general manager of Packard Motor Co. received a letter
from a man interested in buying an automobile. He wanted more information
about the dependability of a Packard. There was no printed sales literature
and Packard was too busy to write about those details. He told his secretary
to tell the man to "Ask the man who owns one". This was the
birth of perhaps the most famous slogan ever to originate in America.
Since it was first published in an ad in Motor Age on October 31, 1901,
it has been used in many more advertisements for Packard automobiles.
- The Red Hexagon is one of the automobile industry's earliest marks
of quality. This design was first used on Model L Packards in 1904.
In those early days, the hexagon was black on the hubcaps of Packards
There are several interesting stories about the Red Hexagon. Years ago,
owners of the first Packards were in the habit of sending their Packards
back to the factory to be overhauled. When Packards were overhauled
at the factory, the hexagon-shaped hubcaps were painted red. This was
to signify the "final OK" after rigid factory inspections.
For some reason, the idea caught on the many buyers of new Packards
requested red hexagons on their cars, also. This is why the red hexagon
is on Packard Hubcaps today.
Another story goes:-
- The origin of the Packard hub cap hexagon had its beginnings when
the famous indentation was provided as a tool aperture for hub grease
cap removal. This maintenance practice was frequent in an era when grease
broke down quickly because of its high animal fat content At some time
in Packard history, a harried mechanic probably inadvertently packed
the same bearings twice. So that he would not make the same error the
next time, he identified his completed work with a dab of red paint
in the indent. The effect was dramatic, and soon owners did the same
or demanded it on their new cars. The red hexagon was formally adopted
by Packard in 1913.
- Another distinctive design feature was the famous hood spear that
suggested forward motion. It came into being on the 7th series 1930 and only on the 745 long wheelbase cars.
Expensive dies and extra handling added measurably to the cost, but
hood spears were a design feature of all senior cars until 1939. Later
the spear evolved into a bolt-on stainless steel stamping or die casting
that was either plated or painted with red centres in most series. The
last 1947 Clippers used silver paint, and thereafter it was seen as
a Packard styling motif on fender and door protector mouldings. The
famous spear was absent on the 1955 and 1956 cars, but was revived feebly
for the very last Studebaker-built cars in 1957 and 1958.