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.
James J. Nance's efforts to supplement the Patrician with more luxury Packards paid off in 1953—a testimonial to his determination. Advertising assumed a decided up-market look, and the results were agreeable. Calendar ’53 saw 81,000 cars, up by a third and the best since 1950. Sofari sogoody, as Churchill once said. But what next?