AUTO ENTHUSIASTS Show rolls in Packards from across the nation
The show will wrap up today with the W.D. Packard Band concert at 7 p.m.
By KATIE LIBECCO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
WARREN -- A sunny Saturday afternoon attracted more than 70 Packards and hundreds of enthusiasts to the south lawn of the W.D. Packard Music Hall for the "At Your Service" car show.
The 16th annual show was presented by the National Packard Museum.
"We're doing this show to highlight the service aspect of Packards," said show organizer Bob Sturdevant. "A lot of people don't realize Packard built service vehicles."
Packard owners from across the nation came to participate in the show. Owners came from Michigan, West Virginia and Maryland. There were also many local drivers who took their cars out for the sunny day.
Patrick Martin of Palatine, Ill., drove his Packard Baycliff Combination Hearse/Ambulance to the show. Only two of the hearses were ever built.
"I've always thought that Packards were just more beautiful automobiles," Martin said. "I saw a picture of this hearse and thought, 'How could I not get it?'"
The hearse has been shown at four shows this year and is driven to each show.
"I'm a car guy. That's what these were made for -- driving," Martin said.
Most still driveable
A large majority of the Packards participating were driven to the show. Only a handful of the cars were brought to the show in trailers, mostly because they are no longer street-legal.
George Hamlin drove his red 1953 Packard Henney Ambulance from Clarksville, Md. He helped organize the centennial celebration at the National Packard Museum and is a part of the Professional Car Association.
Gale Wursthorn brought her 1955 Packard Clipper Constellation from Cleveland. She also showed it at the annual car show last year.
"My family never had a Packard, but the family across the street had a new one every two years. I thought it was the most elite car I had ever seen," Wursthorn said. "I never planned on buying one, but dreamed of it. My friend found this, and I had to have it."
A car corral of Packards for sale by private owners offers the chance for other drivers to purchase the car of their dreams, as well.
Other restored service cars were on display:
U1911 Packard Model 30 Fireman's Squad Car from Detroit. The squad car is the only one remaining out of six built, and is complete with a brass fire bell and trampoline.
U1938 Packard-A.J. Miller Formal Towncar Art-Carved Hearse from the People's Funeral Home in Marietta. It was found in Mexico where it was used to haul chickens.
U1917 Packard Goodyear Wingfoot Express owned by Goodyear Tire and Rubber of Akron. It featured the first use of pneumatic tires for freight trucking. The vehicle was found frozen in a Minnesota bog and restored by Goodyear. It also appeared in the 1999 centennial show.
U1953 Packard Henney Air Force Ambulance originally used at Tinker Air Base in Oklahoma. The ambulance is a permanent display at the museum and helped inspire coordinators of the Packards "At Your Service" show.
U1947 yellow Packard Clipper taxi cab.
Service cars displayed in the National Packard Museum will be available for public viewing for the next month.
The show will continue today at 11 a.m. with an all-makes cruise-in at the Warren Community Amphitheater. An awards show will be held at 3:30 p.m. Coordinators expect more than 200 cars to participate in the cruise-in.
The show will include the Van-Dells Rock 'n' Roll Review at 1 p.m. and a concert performed by the W.D. Packard Band at 7 p.m. in the W.D. Packard Music Hall Band Shell.