The Failed Packard 12 Luxury Sedan & More Packard Motor Car Company History

Greg Zyla
A Reader Writes: Greg, what happened to that Packard Twelve prototype from the new Packard Motor Car Company that was supposed to put a car into production in 2006? I loved the beautiful Packard cars from back in the 1940s and 1950s, and I remember hearing about it long ago, and it looked nice. It’s now 2021, so what happened? John M., Spokane, WA.
The Author Responds: John, happy to help. The effort to build an American based V12 “Packard Twelve” occurred not that long ago. The information is still on the internet, and the man behind the effort is Roy Gullickson, then of Phoenix, AZ, and now living in Barons, Alberta, Canada.
Gullickson previously worked as a mechanical engineer in charge of development at White Motor Corporation, which is now Volvo Trucks. He left White a respected, prosperous individual and in 1995 purchased all the rights to the Packard car company for $50,000.
By 1998, he built a fine looking V12 powered luxury sedan prototype and incorporated the new Packard Motor Car Company name with hopes investors would come forward. Gullickson hired good people, including designers Arunas Oslapus and Don Johnson to design the all-aluminum body and all-aluminum chassis with modern style cues leaning to a 1941 Packard Clipper. Former Packard engineer Lawrence Johnson led an engineering team that built the 119-inch wheelbase beauty, with special high-strength aluminum keeping the overall weight down.
As for power, an aluminum Falconer Racing Engines 525ci V12 with up to 573-horsepower motivated the 3,750lb. lightweight (thanks to all the aluminum) from zero to 60 in about 4.5-second. Gullickson has said in several magazine articles it could run the quarter-mile in 12.5-seconds at over 120mph. The engine utilized General Motors computer management systems and came hooked to a Corvette style GM 4L80E four-speed automatic. It also featured all-wheel drive thanks to a Borg-Warner transfer case with a 65 rear to 35 front torque share. The leather interior is also most noteworthy featuring hand-finished leather and real walnut trim.
According to the February 2000 edition of Forbes magazine, Gullickson’s plan included raising $30-million within three years so he could start producing as many as 2,000 Packards a year by 2010 at a cost of $160,000 ($250,123 in 2021 dollars).
When financial backers failed to materialize, Gullickson abandoned the project and announced May 10 of 2007 that Packard Motor Car Company was for sale. Assets included the Packard car name trademark, the Packard V-12 running prototype, all engineering data, photo files, spare parts and tooling.
Gullickson was hoping to sell his interest at an asking price of $1.5 million. He even tried to sell the company, or seek investors, on eBay in 2000 through noted classic car auction affiliate Kruse International. The auction drew five bidders, the highest a $275,000 late hour offer, which was well below his reserve price.
Gullickson told Forbes that he had orders for 70 cars, but in the end he was never able to raise enough money to start production. “We knew we didn’t have the capital to go into production,” Gullickson later said, but as part of the original business plan, his team had long considered bringing in outside investors or selling the brand outright. By 2007, Gullickson and his wife were at an age when most folks consider retirement.
“We are interested in selling the company by way of selling all of the issued shares of the company, now held by my wife’s and my holding company, Packard Holdings Inc. Purchase of those shares would give the buyer 100% control of the com-pany, and ownership of all of the assets, consisting of the Packard name trademark for automobiles and parts, the prototype Packard automobile, a certain amount of toolage, and all of the engineering drawings and calculations, suppliers names and contact information, and spare parts. The company is debt-free and has no legal encumbrances,” he told Forbes.
“We wish to sell because we are both well into retirement age,” he continued. “We have always planned on bringing outside capital into the project, or selling to a capable buyer. There is an excellent basis for making a very attractive business case. We are receiving strong interest in the company, but are not committed at this time.”
According to the most recent info I could dig up about the whereabouts of the one and only Packard Twelve, an excellent article on Hagerty Insurance website written by Ronnie Schreiber in December of 2020 indicates that in 2014, Gullickson and his wife sold the prototype Packard Twelve at the RM Auction held in conjunction with the Concours of America at St. John’s in Plymouth, MI. The car sold for $143,000, which was less than 10 cents on every dollar it took to build. (The 2021 equivalent dollar value is $162,606.)
Schreiber said if you have dreams of owning a car company, rights to the Packard Motor Car Company are still for sale. And according to Gullickson, you had better move fast.
“We have had serious inquiries and we are currently working on one which we expect to close early next year,” he told Hagerty. That “early next year” is now…adding a few months for extra measure.
The Packard brand was active from 1899 through 1958, and sold more cars than Cadillac and Lincoln during 20 of its 21 model years from 1925 through 1949. I’m still hoping one day a Packard will come back to life and I’d love to see Gullickson’s Packard Twelve in person.
Thanks again Hagerty and Forbes for helping in the research for this expanded update on the famous Packard Twelve.
And thank you Mr. Gullickson for your love of Packard.
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