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Packard Motor Car Company

On October 7, 2007 I decided to visit the largest abandoned building in the city of Detroit - the Packard Motor Car Company. Packard was, prior to World War II, one of the premier luxury car manufacturers in the world. During the war they produced aircraft engines under license from Rolls Royce. Like many of the remaining American auto makers in the 1950's, Packard struggled to survive, while Ford and General Motors engaged in an aggressive price war. The acquisition of Studebaker with its larger dealer network in 1954 failed to save the company, and in 1956 a court order closed the Packard plant for good. The Packard name survived two more model years on modified Studebaker offerings with a Packard nameplate, then vanished from the automotive marketplace altogether.

Update - 12/14/2007 - I received an email today from the owner of Chemical Processing, Inc., who informed me that the Packard complex is not entirely vacant. Chemical Processing, Inc. has occupied a portion of the old 120 plant on Concord Street since 1958.  They have actually been there  longer than Packard was!

Before looking at the photos I took in 2007, here is how the Packard facility looked in 1956. This is a view of the offices along East Grand Boulevard:


©Packard Motor Car Information. Used with permission.

This postcard, postmarked 1912, shows a similar view:

 
Souvenir Postcard Company

Here is the same building in 2007:


Photo by John Penrice.

 

The once grand entrance is now boarded up and scarred with graffiti and broken glass:


Photo by John Penrice.

 

Here is the same doorway - from the inside:


Photo by John Penrice.

 

The main lobby requires some imagination to picture how it looked in Packard's glory days:

 
Photo by John Penrice.

 

This view on Concord Street gives an idea of how big the complex actually is. (3.5 million square feet!)


Photo by John Penrice.

 

This view is from behind the office section on East Grand Boulevard:

 
Photo by John Penrice.

 

Like what you've seen so far? Here's the best part: the Packard factory/corporate headquarters - all 3,500,000 square feet of it - can be yours for just $13,000,000!

 
Photo by John Penrice.

 

For more information on Packard visit the Packard Motor Car Information website at www.PackardInfo.com.

 

And, finally,  here is an aerial view of the site, courtesy of Google Earth: