Project Car Search Engine:

James Ward Packard's First Automobile

Although inventors had tinkered with the idea of the horseless carriage for a century and George Selden had plans to propel a vehicle by a gasoline engine in 1877, it was not until 1900 that mechanics such as Henry Ford, Ransom Olds, and James Ward Packard began to visualize these contraptions as marketable items. -- source:  Treasury of early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 by Floyd Clymer.

Today men such as Ford, Olds, Buick, Studebaker, the Dodge Brothers, Packard, and Tucker would not be able to recognize their vehicles.

James Ward Packard "I'll build my own car!" and he did

In 1898, James Packard, dissatisfied with the car he owned, got into a discussion with Alexander Winton, bicycle and automobile manufacturer in Cleveland, Ohio.  You see, Winton built the car Packard bought and that car kept breaking down on his frequent trips to Warren, Ohio.  Packard had the car hauled in by a team of horses.

Packard gave the automobile he now owned some thought and came up with a number of improvements and was in the process of sharing those ideas with Winton.  Winton did not appreciate Packard's unasked for advice and said, "Mr. Packard, if you are so smart, why don't you make a car yourself!"  Within a year, Packard did just that. 

I apologize for not including the source of the photo of the original Packard car.  I'll correct that oversight as soon as I find out what the source is.

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