Packard During Second World War

This era was the time of the second world war, and Packard motor car company changed to 100% war production. During the war, the company manufactured aeroplane engines and licensed the Merlin Engine from Roll-Royce which they named the V-1650 for this purpose. The Merlin engine is a liquid-cooled V-12 piston aero engine with 27 litres capacity that was manufactured by Rolls Royce. At first, it was called the PV-12, but the name was soon changed to Merlin after the company tradition of using a bird of prey names for its piston aero engines. This was after the British had requested the help of the US in manufacturing more Merlin engines in order to rejuvenate its Air Force which was severely decimated due to the Luftwaffe bombings. The Government asked both Chrysler and Ford more companies to help do this, but they declined, but Packard accepted the offer to produce the over 50,000 engines that were needed. These engines powered the P51 Mustang, War Hawk, Mosquito, Hurricane and Lancaster aircraft. The demand during wartime was incredibly high and drove the production to an incredibly high level in what became known later as the Packard 10-month miracle in which the building of the Engine Assembly facility from scratch to production and delivery was done in ten months. The contract was the largest that Packard ever reviewed and its workforce increased by almost 1000% within this period.

At this time, the President of Packard was Georg Christopher who has helped in the development of Packard 120 series. Thus, he was already familiar with the low cost and high-volume operation model used by Packard to produce merlin engines during the war. But this model invariably affected the exclusivity and image of Packard. The assemblies and machines that were used to create the Packard 180 series were never used again, and there are speculations that the tools were sent to Russia.

Apart from aeroplane engines, Packard also produced engines for marine vehicles. It produced the 1500-hp, 1400-hp, and 1350-hp V-12 marine engines which powered American patrol torpedo boats. It took three of these engines to power these boats which were very fast and small, making them very effective when it comes to manoeuvring. The marine engines were also used by some British patrol boats. The wartime production by Packard was so large that it was number 18 on the list of United States corporations with the highest value of wartime production contracts. This valuation included the substantial wartime production contracts obtained by Packard electric which produced parts and wirings for military vehicles. To recognise the company contributions to the war, Packard Automotive was awarded the Army-Navy E Flag star award for manufacturing excellence. Only 4% of companies in war efforts got this award and pins were also given to the employees responsible for the production.