During the cold days and nights at the end of October last year, certain events took place at Utica, Michigan which are of vital importance to the automobile world in general and the American motorist n particular. These results have not received the publicity and acclaim which they deserve, for they are momentous and highly significant. No automobile manufacturer in the world can disregard what took place at Utica between the 22nd and 31st of October, 1954, when an American-built domestic sedan with a 1955 engine, and incorporating an unconventional (for the U.S. manufacturer) suspension system, was driven a distance equivalent to the circumference of the earth at an average speed of 104.7 mph.
The average motorist looks upon the figure of 100 mph as fantastic and it is doubtful whether it is possible to find many persons capable of visualizing the maintenance of this velocity for nearly 25,000 miles. Those who cannot appreciate the significance of this feat may well doubt its value, but value it certainly has. If a car is capable of traveling this great distance at such a high speed, and without any serious mechanical attention, it can be logically assumed that it is capable of traveling twice that distance at half the speed. The fact that the car covered this distance at the claimed speed cannot be refuted, for although the test took place in secret, it was carefully observed by an impartial group representing an internationally-recognized automotive organization. These observers can, if called upon, verify the quoted figures.
We can assume that the owner of one of these cars has before him 75,000 miles of carefree motoring, provided that he averages 30 mph, over this distance. It must be admitted that to the motorist this is quite a degree of reliability, not to be expected from every car manufactured today. This claim to reliability can be statistically proved. There is no need for the manufacturers of this car to rely on fancy advertising cliches to extol the virtues of their wares, the figures speak for themselves.
The significance of this high performance and reliability is not confined to the United States, for the achievement is comparable to those accomplished by the European manufacturers and measurable according to internationally recognized standards. The last time a manufacturer went out to establish long distance production car records, the record for 10,000 miles was raised to 100.65 mph. Now an American firm has taken the limit for 25,000 miles to nearly 105 mph. This rather eclipses the European effort, but, not for long, for the European manufacturer believes in testing his wares by collecting records and challenging others to do better, unbiasedly informing the potential purchaser of the results.
The only regrettable fact about the October test conducted by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation, with one of their new 1955 Packards wit the new "Torsion-Level" suspension, and observed by the American Automobile Association, is that it is not given official international recognition - then neither was the case of the European sports coupe which was driven 10,000 miles at 101 mph.
The reason why these figures do not qualify for the
international, or national, record book is because the tests were carried out on an unrecognized circuit, that is, a circuit recognized by neither the AAA or the Federation International de l'Automobile, as it does not comply with their record-breaking requirements. Although the European car ran on a recognized track, it did not abide by the rules, as it was halted for the replacement of a vital part of the car - the 10,000 miles at 101 mph is as unofficial as the 25,000 miles at 105 mph. The makers of the sports coupe that covered the 10,000 miles at over 100 mph considered, and rightly so, that the achievement was worthy of world-wide publicity; the American achievement is worthy of greater praise and attention.
There can be no doubt that the new Packard is a "world" beater, as it has already proved itself. But to what extent? The list of records which were bettered by the V-8 engined car may surprise those that still doubt the full capabilities of the American vehicle, and induce the European constructor to make another attempt on the 10,000 mile record and also tackle the 25,000 mile target. The 1955 Packard bettered the following:
Making a grand total of 147 individual records! The AAA-checked times showed that the car exceeded the National records by as much as 36 mph, the World Unlimited records for all distances from 10,000 to 25,000, as well as bettering all the daily records from three to seven days. Truly a serious of achievements that rightly deserve to be voiced abroad, for they are achievements that can be appreciated by those who are uninfluenced by advertising boasts that are glowingly phrased, but fail to stand up to detailed evaluation.
The Studebaker-Packard Corporation can be considered the most promising concern in an industry that is becoming bogged-down by its own line of sales talk, actually beginning to believe that the customer wants what he or she is being forced to buy. The Studebaker-Packard Corporation does not follow the line of their competitors, but an interestingly individual policy that shows initiative, a practical appreciation of future trends, and, above all, courage.
It is sincerely hoped that this company, which has not relied upon the comic-strip dream car to gain mass attention, has started a trend which will make its competitors publish facts and figures, with logical conclusions, when describing their wares. Far too long has the slick copywriter been telling the motorist what is good for him, couching his glamorous sounding sentences in terms of horsepower, "Y" blocks, power accessories, etc., but, rarely emphasizing the vital facts about reliability, good all-round performance, fine roadability, positive steering and economical running costs.