- Written by webmin
Today, as I’m sure you’re all aware, marks the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the event that ultimately led the United States into World War II. Coincidentally, while recently browsing the Making of Modern Michigan online photo database, I came across this picture of the last 1942 Packard built before the company switched over its factories to the production of war materiel. The MMM caption for the photo reads
8×10 black and white sepia-toned Packard Co. file photograph of 1942 Packard final assembly line, last car coming off line, front view, American flag and workers in background, four men standing near car, two holding a sign that reads “Here’s the last Packard ’til we win the war, it’s all out on engines to even the score!” Inscribed on photo back: 1942 Packard eight Clipper special, twentieth series, model 2001, 8-cylinder, 125-horsepower, 120-inch wheelbase, 6-person touring sedan (body type #1592), last 1942 production Packard to leave the line, note George Christopher standing at right.
Packard introduced its 1942 cars on August 25, 1941, and shut down its automobile production lines at the Detroit East Grand Boulevard plant just a couple months after Pearl Harbor, on February 9, 1942. As indicated by the sign held above the Clipper in the photo, Packard re-tooled to produce 1,350hp 4,000-cu.in. marine V-12 engines destined for PT boats as well as Rolls Royce Merlin aircraft engines for P-40s and P-51s. According to Dammann and Wren in their Crestline book on Packard, toward the end of the war the company was even researching and developing gas turbine engines.
If nothing else, this photo makes one realize just how much of an impact Pearl Harbor had on the country and just how quickly things started to change afterward.