Packard was founded by James Ward Packard, his brother William Doud Packard and their partner, George Lewis Weiss, in 1899. A year later, they were building new cars under the banner of the Ohio Automobile Company to build Packards. All Packards were powered by a single-cylinder engine until 1903, and it was responsible for some impressive innovations, including the modern steering wheel and - years later - the first production 12-cylinder engine and air-conditioning in a road car.
The company's golden years were between the 1930s and '50s, when it was one of the USA's premier car manufacturers. In a desperate bid maintain its place in the elite, Packard bought ailing carmaker Studebaker in 1954, but the debt-ridden company proved a fatal financial burden. Despite an exciting new range of cars launched in 1956, sales continued to slide, and Packard closed in 1958. And when the Studebaker Avanti was launched in 1962, Packard was dropped from the corporate nameplate.