Way back in the Ancient Times of Artificial Intelligence (four months ago) I posted my first article with AI-generated cars, a set of imaginary 1975 Packard Patricians. Since then, the technology has progressed rapidly, and my ability to cajole the Midjourney AI to create what I expect has also improved. Among other things, you can now count the number of headlights on one hand.
It’s a weird collaboration, where I’m writing the creative brief in the form of a prompt and the AI does the work. I ask for variations on the best images until I get one that I like. Sometimes I have to abandon a picture because the AI just won’t add the details that I need.
In a nitpicky way I kept reworking cars until they had turn signals that were plausibly visible from the front. So many pictures had cars with tiny side markers and that was it. But I felt that was a key detail to make these cars believable.
Of course, I’m only showing you the images of what I personally imagine a 1975 Packard would be in an alternate universe where Studebaker-Packard had money to stay in business and develop new platforms. That is, I think they’d commit, like their competitors, to the full-on Brougham Luxo-barge.
I also used reference images of early 1970’s luxury cars (for the basic shape) and late 1940’s Packards (for the grille). Sometimes this resulted in something compelling, and sometimes it resulted in an 1977 Olds 98 modified with a generic front clip for an Allstate insurance advertisement.
This one has an interesting rear end, like there was an earlier version with a sloping trunk and the rear “fins” were added to square up the shape.
I like the dedication to sheer bulk here. Sure, the front end is big, but we’re going to bulge these fenders forward to give the impression of maximum wright.
This is probably my favorite. Although it has a bit of a 1960’s feeling, I think it has a believably Packard face. It’s a little less Brougham and a little more refined. Stately. Classy. Add your own adjectives.
The car in this picture also has a 1960’s feel, partly because of the faded “film stock.” I used a Packard Predictor as one of the reference images, which also contributed to the shape of the grille. This car lacks proper side markers, but I had to include it because of that red thing in the background. What is it? Discuss.
A likely candidate. Impressively large, if a bit generic.
Those headlights? I don’t know. Shades of the Continental Mark VI. But otherwise it’s not bad.
I could probably tell someone this is a Mercury and they’d believe me.
This looks more like a warmed-over 1960’s body style from an imaginary Studebaker. I’ll pass.
Maybe in this alternate universe Studebaker was putting new front ends on LTD bodies? I’m no Ford expert, but that’s the impression it gives me.
No. The front-end reminds me of a 1975 Fury. Just… generic.
Let’s finish up with another one that seems to me to have a nice Packard face. The body-width grille still gives me a 1960’s feeling, but I think everything else is quite 1975. Also, what’ the green thing in the background?
Wow! Now we are talking MY language. First off, hate current use of numbers and letters as opposed to aspirational names like Patrician, Ambassador, Fleetwood, and Imperial LEBARON. Would love ❤ to own any one of these OTT excessive monuments to GREAT AMERICAN LAND YACHTS 😀 👍! If memory serves me correctly, I seem to recall a last ditch proposal to use 56 Lincoln body with traditional PACKARD touches for 57 🤔. Saw drawings in some auto magazine. Anyone else remember?
Most of the cars shown in the renderings clearly have model names indicated in their fender badges. The “P75-nn” numbers are just the program’s sequential output numbers, the same way a digital camera will name image files something like “P00015.jpg”.
I realize the numbers were for this post. I was simply stating that I do not like the numbers and letters NOW replacing old school NAMES. 😎
08: The seafoam green car further in the background seems to have a front clip on the rear end, with headlights, a formal rear window, and fender skirts all sharing the same end of the car.
12: I really like the seafoam green background photobomber in this one, looking like a Toyota Avensis, Mitsubishi Galant, and Tatra had a love child.
The second to last one has a strong touch of late 1970s Toyota Crown. Which of course itself had a lot of Detroit styling cues. But that impression explains why I, not one to be overly impressed with or knowledgable about many of the various middle of the road ’70s Detroit barges (a more appropriate word than yacht which implies grace, IMO) think most of these could just as well be versions (perhaps Canadian or Mexican or Australian-market?) of the Mercury Marquis – although the first half of them seem slightly more GM-flavored.
The software is impressive though, none of these seem “fake”, at least not using the Mother test, wherein I am confident I could show any of these pictures to my mother and she would not realize what was wrong with it even if I told her that something in the picture is not real.
P075-7 really is the best, followed by P075-10 if it had swapped in quad headlights.
I actually like P075-08, it’s a little jaunty. If Packard survived by injecting a little Loewy, or harking back to Dutch Darrin.
The red car in the background of P075-08 looks like it escaped from Sesame Street, which is probably just around the corner.
Oh my god. I love this.
I wanna see what a 1966 Packard might look like!!
Interesting to me that none of these are hardtop bodies, as many large luxury cars in ’75 were still pillarless.
FWIW -08 is a hardtop.
Now these look like reasonable options! Paying homage to Lincoln, Mercury and Cadillac!
This Packard series has been interesting. To me, the overarching feature of the brand was the radiator “scallops” extending into the hood (not sure if that continued into the final Studebaker years). And an updated version of that should be key in any updated or even retro version. Yet only a few of these show that styling theme, 07 and 15. It’s subtle but it says “Packard” to me. And 07 says it in other ways too; though not all those ways are appealing to me, not all Packard were either. I’m sure future AI may allow specific features to be retained and get ever closer to thinking like a designer.
It was very difficult to get the grille I wanted, and I was genuinely thrilled when 7 and 15 appeared.
On the other hand, I think a a lot of full size cars in the 70’s have a certain sameness: rectangular grille, quad headlights, jutting fenders. For this post I allowed for the assumption that a conservative Packard management might tend to mimic what is selling well for other brands. (There’s also the opposite approach, like AMC with the Matador coupe).
I want a coupe, way to intensely.
01 looks like a 1975-78 Mercury Marquis body mated to a 1985-87 Cadillac Brougham roof and a Cadillac-ish grille.
06 looks like what we would have gotten had GM used a facelift of the 1976 fuselage styling on the downsized 1977-up platform.
From the side, 08 looks like a four-door 1969-71 Continental Mark III. As for the front, my brain is bothered by the grille; I keep wanting to rotate it 180 degrees. I think that would reduce the effect of “Lincoln-Mercury Division builds a Subaru Tribeca.”
As a devout Packard guy, the only one that I feel represents the marque is #7.
Now about the red monstrosity in #8; it looks like an early Crosley Hotshot on steroids.
-08 is what grabs my attention the most, as the rest are a bit too derivative. -08 Looks like it was trying to be different, in the way I could imagine Packard doing, although there are aspects that are more ’50s and ’60s, as in the two-tone paint job.
It’s not just the red thing in the background of -08; the blue one there is more than a bit odd. And here I thought AI had moved on with these bizarre background car. Actually, they interest me more than the Packards. How do we get to look at them close-up? Probably not possible, by nature of their being random background?
yes the blue one looks vaguely like a 70’s Corvair or rear-engined Renault.
Funny, they all seem to have the Mark IV’s curved A pillars. The second photo looks like an improved ’71 Cadillac.
I’d like to see if AI can make a modern version of Packard’s trademark hood crease from the 20s and 30s (and the arrow-tipped stripe). That caused them a lot of trouble in the bulbous 50s.
I would have liked to have seen it throw on some suicide doors, for something different. Nice work!
The red car is a takeoff of an Avanti, methinks.
So in Bizzaro World, Ford bought Packard and placed the new division below Lincoln and above Mercury? If the Edsel line made it, then in the 1970’s we could have seen Lincoln, Packard, Edsel, Mercury and Ford to compete against GM’s 5 car divisions at the time.
I’m sorry, but none of them look like a Packard. Instead i see Cadillac, Mercury and Dodge designs. Sometimes I see Lincoln designs – but I didn’t see anything that had me recognize as a Packard.
Worse, it raises real questions as to whether there would have been any point in Packard surviving into the sixties and seventies to end up yet another variation on the big, blocky, Brougham-y sedan themes of the time.
Obviously, ML-generated output is by definition GIGO and intrinsically derivative, but if Studebaker-Packard had still been making cars, it’s not unlikely their big offerings would have ended up in this ballpark. The seventies offered a whole bunch of big American sedans along these lines, many of them more or less indistinguishable, and I can’t say one more would have advanced the art of anything.
It does raise a number of other counterfactual questions: How might Packard have approached the personal luxury market? Would Packard have insisted, like Chrysler, that there be no small Packards, or would they have tried to reinvent the One-Twenty as a Seville fighter? AI image mashups can’t answer those questions, but it would be an entertaining creative problem for an automotive designer.
I think the one thing that COULD have happened, would have been if someone went to Europe, looked at what Jaguar was doing, and said “Let’s see if we can do THAT”, remembering that Jaguar sold quite a lot of large saloons as well as the XK120, but it was the XK120 that really made it.
The red background car’s nose reminds me a bit of inter-war Renaults with the “coal scuttle” nose such as the Renault NN or KZ, maybe a similar “radiator behind the front engine” thing going on there, or a rear-engine design with a long hood allowing room for the spare tire, large fuel tank, and ample frunk space.
Did you feed it a ’69 or ’70 Cadillac Fleetwood? I see a lot of that coming through.
Well that’s what competition was all about back then who can build, make and manufacture the best Luxuriously Luxury Land Cruiser,Land Liner and Land Yacht or even would take Packard under its wing. I would have to love to see Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Packard
Motor Company. Why because everyone deserves a chance to try everyone.
Isn’t that what makes life not only awesome, amazing, beautiful, exciting, fascinating and interesting, but magnificent, marvelous, splendrous, wonderfully wondrous as well.
Looks like a Cadillac and Lincoln continental fused together
My Dad was a Packard man from way back days. I had a 37 120 CD, 51 & 52 200. I miss the 37 that I sold in 1977. My picks were #1 and #7. They still lacked a true definitive Packard grill but were a good modernization attempt. Great job! Jim
What can you expect from AI? Not one of these has an iconic Packard grille. And where are the cormorants? For something allegedly intelligent AI sure is.dumb.
Like I said above, “AI” output is GIGO and intrinsically derivative. All it can do is take bits and pieces of existing material and mash it up to create composites of various degrees of plausibility. Since there were no Packard cars in the time period specified, it’s basically just spitting out composites of actual big sedans of the mid-seventies.
It has a real problem with hood ornaments. A lot of cars I rejected had weird, huge blobby things.
I think a couple of these cars got a believable evolution of the Packard grille 7 and 15). I used reference images of 1949s Packards to get that. The problem was, if I used multiple images of the grille the AI would make the car look more appropriate to the 40’s than 70’s.
One truck I’ve learned is to use a successful image (like 7) as a reference for future requests. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Very impressed about the amount of work that has gone into producing these (I’ve tried it and it takes a lot of time). However, they show up the limitations of machine learning. It’s all artificial with no intelligence. It can’t come up with anything new, just variations of what it can find. The Beetle, Mini, Citroen DS, Avanti or the AM Pacer are examples of fresh thinking that no ML can could come up with as it can’t go beyond what is known. These examples are proof that the current panic over this technology is a bit overheated. We have seen them all before! I would have hoped had S-P survived they would have continued with the Raymond Loewy approach of maverick designs.
Some have a ZIL or the Chinese version vibe to them. Though I can’t say which areas.
– 07 looks to be the Packard of the late 70’s or early 80’s. A nose job would be appropriate as part of a face lift cycle.
– 14 reminds me of a Chrysler Newport or New Yorker
– 08 would be the 4 door version of a Facel Vega Vega of Europe
If Packard Studebaker had survived,what would thier muscle car and pony car looked like in the late sixtys early seventys?
Looks like the developers at AMC, Cadillac and Ford all went out got plastered and designed a car. This article makes me wonder what if? What if the big three didn’t crush any new ideas or companies throughout the 40s 50s and 60s.
P75-12 would make a convincing early-mid 70s Studebaker Scottsman, albeit in a fairly high trim compared to the real one.
P75-07, hands down.
I doubt that the politics of the era would have ever let it happen, but let’s say that if Studebaker-Packard were to be bailed out by someone, it may be a German company who appreciated Packard’s prewar engineering integrity, and who S-P dealers were already the distributor for.
I can’t imagine a world where Mercedes and Packard, who had been fighting each other only a decade prior to Packard’s demise would be able to collaborate, but I could see how the Adenauer large Mercedes and subsequent S-class w108’s would be a direction that Packard might be inclined to go, marketing to people who appreciate quality, engineering and longevity.
In this alternate bizarro world, Mercedes struggled with its pre-war image, but could have used the Packard name to engineer and market cars for the US and get a foothold in the US market in 1958 where many luxury buyers would not think to purchase a car made by the enemy. These ‘Packard-Benzes’ would hold a unique place in the US luxury market, beating the ’61 Continental to the market and showing that there really is a place for something very well built.
Obviously Packard of 1956 was not Packard of 1936, and Mercedes was already finding fans with its advanced design, but one does wonder what Daimler-Packard would come up with instead of the Daimler-Chrysler 300/ W210.
I think this would be an interesting thing to put into the what-if machine and see what it comes up with! I am picturing fintails, Adenauers and w108’s with a vertical bar grille motif.
Looks like what would have happened if Studebaker – Packard had of stayed in business into the 70s… and stolen Lee Iacocca away from Ford!
Put quad headlights on P75 07,and by Jove, you`ve got it!
Errrrr,make that 75-10.
Looking at some of these “warmed over 1960s body styles” immediately makes me think of those alt-universe South American Fords… like this Galaxie:
They look like Soviet imitations of American big cars, like the ZIL’s and GAZ Chaikas. Here’s an example of a GAZ-14:
Love all of these renditions. Some look like Lincolns, some look like Mercury’s, others look like something from Parafinna or Ghia.
One question……. why is it you never show a rendering of the rear of the car? You need something to go with these front ends. A coupe or two would be nice, also.