I stumbled upon this 1958 export-model Packard-badged Studebaker pickup truck recently while researching another piece, and figured it was too good not to share.
The story goes that in 1958, a group of Packard dealers in Argentina wanted to start selling trucks, but were licensed by the government to only import Packard vehicles. Unfortunately for them, Packard had not made a pickup truck since 1923. However, these dealers were not going to be deterred so easily.
At this time, Packard was owned by Studebaker, and Studebaker manufactured a perfectly serviceable pickup truck, albeit one that could not be imported into Argentina for no other reason than the name on the hood. So the dealers convinced Studebaker-Packard to slap the Packard name on the Studebaker Transtar truck for export purposes.
Making it somewhat worthy of the Packard name, these trucks appear to have been very well equipped, at least by the standards of the day. The Packard trucks were all 3/4-ton (750 kg) models with a NAPCO four-wheel-drive system. The only engine offered was the “Packard Star” 170 hp 259 ci Studebaker V8, the top Studebaker truck engine in 1958. The sole transmission was a four-speed manual with a two-speed transfer case. The only option appears to have been the front winch.
While the above ad proclaims that they were “Totally constructed in the country,” in actuality these would have been CKD kits assembled using imported parts. In any case, sales were slow, and production numbers were correspondingly small – some sources claim 28 units, others say 60. Sales (and production) likely leaked into the 1959 calendar year, giving these trucks the honor of being the last Packard branded vehicles to be produced.
The 1958 Packard Pickup truck has attained somewhat of a mythical status among Studebaker circles. For decades, the only records of these trucks’ existence have been the three factory photos and one period advertisement included in the post above: No other evidence of these truck’s existence has turned up, and none are known to have survived.
At least until very recently, that is. In April 2021, Diego Munoz of Argentina posted several tantalizing photos of a 1958 Packard truck he recently discovered to the Studebaker Drivers Club forums, offering definitive proof of these truck’s existence, and that at least one example still survives.
Unfortunately, the photos he posted are of the front only. But from what we can see, there appear to be minor detail differences between the factory photos and the actual truck in terms of the badging on the front.
Another one of the anomalies from the last days of Packard…
WOW! That’s a genuine discovery!
I’d guess that the factory photos were done with styling-department tricks like cardboard letters, while the Argentine factory used real metal.
I came across this once somewhere before. It’s not surprising, given the odd demands of many South American countries with their various import restrictions.
Perfect. It snows where I live, so this would be a handy truck. I’d drive it.
Amazing! I wonder if Los Cedros SA was behind these. They started assembling the Transtar in 1960 and later the 7E7 and 7E9 branded as Studebaker, with many fiberglass parts to increase the local content. But in the past they were Packard distributors.
At the same time they were manufacturing the Heinkel microcar, quite a contrast. In 1963 they merged with Isard Argentina and their portfolio of Glas cars in an attempt to manufacture Datsuns under licence but everything fizzled off by 1965.
I wonder if some manufacturers used this trick to get round agreements with local importers and distributors. Why else would Australia and New Zealand have the Humber 80 and 90, and not a Hillman Minx?
The Humber 10, NZ only sidevalve model was on the market in the late 30s it began with Todd motors the local assembler to give Humber dealers a small entry level car to sell TheHillman Minx was only on sale at Hillman agents as all Rootes vehicles had separate outlets
Later in the 50s when Rootes Minx went OHV the Humber version was relabled Humber 80 the differences were minor it got like the previous 10s a flying lady hood ornament and Singer Gazelle hubcaps all the Humber trim was chrome plated brass locally produced it enjoyed quite a lot of racing success including winning the inaugural saloon car championship win in 1960 that car still exists in race trim the driver Harold Heasley is no longer with us, yes the Audax cars handle well.
The later Superminx was badged Humber 90 with Im told unique trim that is very hard to get though I have some in my spares, No estates in Humber 90 though, Estates like mine were imported from the UK builtup and while there were plenty of Humber 80 estates (I had a 60 model) no Humber 90s
When quotas were introduced post WW2 Todds did well as the same CKD kit could be either car and their quota almost doubled though that wasnt the original reason for those Humber cars.
Australia did not have these cars they are NZ only.