“For those who love speed coupled with utility features of general motoring, Packard builds its Speedsters. Perhaps it is the inherent flow of speed joined to the swift grace of smooth design that suggests these interesting body treatments. But Speedsters they all are, from test car to Runabout. For those who thrill to the maximum speed of an open car on an open road.” —Packard Motor Car Company
Performance may be described as “comfortable.” Zero to 60 must take 20 seconds, and we've not pushed her over 70. But at 60, 1950 Eight is just cruising. Gas mileage averages about 15 mpg. But hey, remember, this is 1950, and gas is only 15 cents a gallon. (A fun feature at gas stations: Packard’s “whistling gas tank” stops whistling when you’re nearing full, captivating locals. Nothing like that on an Audi A6.)
In reality, Packard’s crucial mistakes were made years before. After the war, when a company could sell anything on wheels, Packard could have reverted to type, rebuilding its reputation as a luxury automaker. Instead it pursued the lower-priced markets that had saved it in the Depression. Stemming from this marketing mistake was a series of product decisions that flew in the face of Packard’s proud heritage.